TONES – (Slavonic – hlasy) – the church music of the Eastern Church is based upon eight tones. Each week has its appointed tone. On Saturday evening of the Week of Light (the eve of the Sunday of Saint Thomas), the cycle of tones commences with Tone One; and so, week by week, the sequence continues through the successive tones from one to eight, changing to a new tone every Saturday evening, and returning to Tone One after Tone Eight. The various texts in the tone of the week are to be found in the Octoechos. The special texts for fixed feasts (found in the Menaia) and for the days of the Great Fast and the paschal season (found in the Triodion and Pentecostarion) are set in various tones; and these do not, save by coincidence, correspond with the appointed tone of the week.
TROPARION – A generic term used to designate a stanza of religious poetry. In particular, it is applied to the apolytikion, which is also known as the troparion of the feast or troparion of the day; or to the stanzas of the canon.
KONTAKION (a pole) – originally the kontakion was a long poem designed for singing in church. It seems that the text was rolled up on a pole and hence its name. It consisted of a short preliminary stanza and was followed by some 18 to 24 strophes, each known as an ikos. The preliminary stanza and every ikos concluded with the same refrain. In the course of time, the kontakion was replaced by the canon, and in some liturgical books today all that remains, is the short preliminary stanza (to which the term kontakion is now more particularly attached) followed by the first ikos. These are to be found between Canticles Six and Seven of the canon at Matins. The kontakion, without the ikos, is also read or sung at the Divine Liturgy after the Small Entrance and during the Hours. The most celebrated among the authors of kontakia is Saint Romanos the Melodist, who died in 556.
THEOTOKION – (Slavonic – Bohorodychen’) – a troparion or sticheron in honor of the Theotokos. The last of any series of troparia or stichera usually takes the form of a theotokion.
PROKIMENON – (what is set forth, that is, what is appointed to be read) – verses from the psalter which are sung immediately before the reading from the Holy Scripture.
ALLELUIA – Hebrew for Praise the Lord.