The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(archaic form, rospev), an independent system of monody characterized by a specific repertoire of motifs (popevki) and patterns of combining them in melodies.

There are several raspevy in Russian church music. The oldest is the znamennyi raspev, which dates from the 12th century and contains the richest collection of motifs. It is used throughout the liturgical year in the services found in the pevcheskie knigi (liturgical songbooks): the Oktoikh (Octoechos), which contains liturgical songs for eight voices; the Irmologii (Hier-mologion), which contains basic liturgical melodies for hymns found in other liturgical books; the Obikhod, which contains the major znamennye chants; the Prazdniki, a collection of songs for the 12 state and religious holidays; and the Triod’ (Triodion), which contains the liturgical chants for Lent. Other raspevy include (in chronological order of their appearance) the demestvennyi raspev and the putevoi raspev, which developed in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Bulgarian, Greek, and Kievan raspevy, which developed later, were used in Russian church singing from the mid-17th century. The demestvennyi raspev and the putevoi raspev, as well as the Bulgarian, Greek, and Kievan raspevy, are vastly inferior to the zhamennyi raspev in their repertoire of motifs, and their patterns of organization have received little study.

The napev, which, in the broad sense of the term, denotes any melody, should be distinguished from the raspev. Often, the local variants of a particular raspev were referred to as napevy.


Skrebkov, S. Russkaia khorovaia muzyka XVII-nach. XVIII vekov. Moscow, 1969. Pages 11–47.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.