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Coptic music is the music sung and played in the Coptic Orthodox Church (Church of Egypt). It consists mainly of chanted hymns in rhythm with instruments such as cymbals (hand and large size) and the triangle. Coptic music is purely religious.
Coptic chant is a very old tradition, assumed to have links with the ancient liturgies of Jerusalem or Syria, while some of the melodies had been adopted from Ancient Egyptian burial practices and other rituals; however, manuscripts survive only since recent times and little is known for sure about the older tradition. Until these recent liturgical books, the music was transmitted orally. In the modern chant, there is extensive use of melody types, which allow some improvisation by the singers.
The percussion instruments used in the Coptic Church are unusual among Christian liturgies. Since similar instruments appear in ancient Egyptian frescoes and reliefs, some believe that they may represent a survival from a very old tradition.
The most famous modern Coptic cantor is the late Cantor Mikhail Girgis El Batanouny, whose recordings have helped preserve and unify many ancient chants that otherwise would have been lost, however, they were recorded in Greco-Bohairic Pronunciation.
Contemporary personalities contributing to Coptic music
- Mikhail Girgis El Batanouny
- Ilona Borsai
- Adel Kamel
- Ragheb Moftah
- Ernest Newlandsmith
- Margit Toth
- Fouad Assad Attia
- Ibrahim Ayad
- Nabila Erian
- George kyrillos
- "Coptic youth blog" Contains digital music and videos of Coptic liturgies, hymns, songs, and Coptic hymn lessons.
- "Coptic Music," Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia
- Complete collection of Cantor Mikhail Girgis El Batanouny's recordings of Coptic chant from coptichymns.net
- DeaconTube - A video learning website for Coptic Orthodox hymns
- coptichymns.net coptichymns.net - Sharing the Joy of Coptic Hymns Around the World
- copticheritage.org The Official Website of the Heritage of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
- Coptic Music, Hymns, and Rites Articles from coptichymns.net
- Coptic Music Articles
- Coptic Multimedia Archive at Saint TeklaHimanot Church of Egypt Articles
- Coptic Orthodox Liturgical Chant & Hymnody The Ragheb Moftah Collection at the Library of Congress