The authors deal with the unique genre of Ukrainian folk oral song tradition of the 19th century and beyond – special Christmas carols, textual genesis which is traced to Baroque professional poetry or "song poetry". The author's aim is to find and systematize the genre titles of these carols as a part of spiritual poetry system. Historical genre attributions are gathered both in hand-written and published service-books, song collections (West European, Latin, Polish, Czech, Ukrainian), scholars' works, as well as in contemporary traditional folk terminology. The author's objective is to choose and present a more accurate definition of orally transmitted Ukrainian Christmas carols of Baroque written origin. This result should help to differentiate them from other Ukrainian folk songs clusters, including ancient non-Christian carols.
More than 30 related definitions (with identical, close, or variant meaning) were found in Baroque song collections and scientists' works. The most widespread is the general genre-title song (pisnia)+ adjective: 'pisnia dukhovna' (spiritual), 'pisnia nabozhna / pobozhna' (pious, devotional), 'pisnia blahohoviyna' (reverential), 'pisnia khrystyianska' (Christian), 'pisnia tserkovna' (ecclesiastic, Kirchenlied). Scientific attributions are 'pisnia relihiyna' (religious), also 'paraliturhiyna' (paraliturgical), 'barokova' (Baroque), 'knyzhna' (book) songs.
Other well-known genre-titles of the 17th–18th centuries spiritual songs are (1) 'psalm /psal'm / psal'ma', (2) 'dukhovnyi stich' (spiritual verse) and (3) canticle ('kant'). Three terms of the psalm-group (1), although similar, clearly differ within Slavic traditions, but their orthographic similarity often provokes misunderstanding. The word 'psalm' which is often found in the titles of Polish Baroque spiritual song-collections, is well-known in the East-Slavic territories, and means both the original Biblical verse and, at the same time, its poetic translations, and paraphrases. The East-Slavic variation 'psal'm' (псальм masc. singular; psal'my plural) is a term which exactly matches the Polish pronunciation of 'psalm'. The long history of this terminological variation began from the 1670th in Moscowia and, due to Polish influence, 'psal'm' seems to be the only genre-name of written spiritual songs with different content in Russian songbooks (including Ukrainian Christmas carols, another festive or repentant Baroque songs contained within).
On the other hand, 'psal'ma' (псальмa fem. singular, psal'my plural) distinguishes the separate genre name of Baroque spiritual songs (of strictly defined meaning), adopted in Ukrainian and Byelorussian folk oral tradition since the 19th century. Scholars have established that, firstly, Ukrainian psal'ma is mostly moralizing, repentant, and sometimes mournful, especially if it's performed during the Great Lent period. Secondly, it was mostly sung solo by hurdy-gurdy / kobza player with their own accompaniment (O. Bohdanova). However, few psal'mas, although performed during the Christmas period, tend to keep the particular attribution psal`ma, while Christmas Carols-Cant(icle)s have another meaning and stylistic peculiarities.
'Dukhovnyi stikch' is a spiritual verse of medieval origin and oral transmission, which encompasses a moralizing topic and is considered to be one of the historical sources of Ukrainian psal'ma. Unlike Ukrainian spiritual verses, Russian ones have been notated by neumes (kriuki) system in Russian orthodox znamenny 17th–21st centuries books (since 18th century, mostly by Old-Believers), and don't share many common traits with Baroque psal`mas in Ukrainian staff-notated songbooks and those in folk transmission. That is why both these genre-titles are not proposed to attribute Ukrainian festal Christmas Carols.
Finally, the Ukrainian professional song genre 'кант' (which is usually transcribed by Ukrainian scholars as 'kant') has a long history. This term, being used in Ukrainian professional Baroque poetry of the 1630s, is clearly derived both from Latinisms Cantus, Cantico (chant, song) and the 17th century Polish titles Kantyczky, Kantyky (Polish Baroque canticles books). Later, the term кант meant a special canticle with a three-part texture where two upper voices form so called "third bandeau" (third parallelism), while bass is a harmonically separated functional voice. Scholars (Yu. Medvedyk and others) have emphasized that Ukrainian spiritual canticle of this textural type had been written by staff notation in 1649 manuscript. Although this style of three-part professional chanting seems to have existed since early 17th century, it is interesting that songs of this type were not attributed as 'кант', either in this source or in later Ukrainian song books. The term 'кант' has been used since the 18th century, mostly in Russia to mark secular, encomium (panegyric) songs of the same textural structure.
During the 19th century the popular written Ukrainian Baroque songs were adopted into Ukrainian oral folk music, where their three-part base was conserved and creatively developed in different ethnic loci, being either increased somewhere to 4-parts or reduced to 2-parts texture but always clearly demonstrating its stylistic origin. The three part textural origin of these canticles differs from other Ukrainian oral song clusters, including ancient non-Christian carols. Thus, authors prefer to choose the term 'кант' to attribute adopted Ukrainian folk oral Christmas carols of Baroque written origin.
Keywords: Baroque poetry, spiritual song, 'psal'ma' (folk psalm), church carol, Christmas canticle, three-part texture, polyonymy.