Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Johnson, Maria


Byzantine chant, the music of the Greek Orthodox Churches in America, embeds meanings and functions as a methodological tool which constructs and teaches about the role of women within church communities. This thesis explores how as cultural group identity, belongingness, and gender identity are semiotically iconized, purified, and recursively transmitted through the liturgical music of the church, specifically hymns about women saints and The Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God. This work is a culmination of twelve years of ethnomusicological fieldwork conducted by the author in Midwestern Greek Orthodox churches and monasteries, using participant-observation techniques. The work outlines the basic musicological theory of Byzantine chant, describes how the portrayal of women in liturgical music provides templates for the desired behavior of females within the community, and examines how Byzantine music works as a memory aid, teaching tool, and constructor of social ideas in relationship to the roles of women.




This thesis is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.