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These step symbols themselves, or better "phonic neumes", resemble brush strokes and are colloquially called gántzoi ("hooks") in Modern Greek.Notes as pitch classes or modal keys (usually memorised by modal signatures) are represented in written form only between these neumes (in manuscripts usually written in red ink).A photograph of the original stone at Delphi containing the second of the two Delphic Hymns to Apollo.The music notation is the line of occasional symbols above the main, uninterrupted line of Greek lettering.Byzantine music uses the eight natural, non-tempered scales whose elements were identified by Ēkhoi, "sounds", exclusively, and therefore the absolute pitch of each note may slightly vary each time, depending on the particular Ēkhos used.
With exception of vú and zō they do roughly correspond to Western solmization syllables as re, mi, fa, sol, la, si, do.
The Delphic Hymns, dated to the 2nd century BC, also use this notation, but they are not completely preserved.
Ancient Greek notation appears to have fallen out of use around the time of the Decline of the Roman Empire.
Greek theoretical categories played a key role to understand and transmit Byzantine music, especially the tradition of Damascus had a strong impact on the pre-Islamic Near East comparable to Persian music and its music theoretical transfer in Sanskrit.
Unlike Western notation Byzantine neumes always indicate modal steps in relation to a clef or modal key (modal signatures which had been in use since papyrus fragments dating back to the 6th century).
The so-called "great signs" were once related to cheironomic signs, according to modern interpretations they are understood as embellishments and microtonal attractions (pitch changes smaller than a semitone), both essential in Byzantine chant.