There is one of these melodies in each of the eight tones. For singing kontakia, the rules are a little more complicated. Certain feasts had special melodies written for their kontakia Christmas, Tone 3; Theophany, Tone 4; Ascension, Tone 6; Pascha, Tone 8 and these melodies became so well-known that all kontakia in these four tones are sung to the feast-day melodies, while for the other four tones the troparion melodies are used. Some parishes use these melodies to sing the Our Father, and they are also sung at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and during Holy Week. Melodies are memorable, and like familiar words and phrases they help us become grounded in the liturgical year. They are also used at times to connect different services together. When the MCI began producing music handouts for Vespers in , we often provided two sets of music: the texts set to the special melodies, with a second set of music at the back using the simpler samohlasen melodies. But since parishes will never sing both sets, we moved to having two different leaflets whenever special melodies are appointed.
Podoben or “special” melodies
Idiomela are unique compositions, while avtomela or aftomela —sing. The hymn category idiomelon can only be understood in comparison with avtomelon and prosomoia. Already in the older book Tropologion each melody of a certain hymn was classified by a modal signature of the Byzantine octoechos —the eight mode system as it had developed in Constantinople, Damascus, Jerusalem, and in many other places.
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