Jewish liturgical music

Jewish liturgical music,

the music used in the religious services of the Jews.

The Bible and the Talmud record that spontaneous music making was common among the ancient Jews on all important occasions, religious and secular. Hebrew music was both instrumental and vocal. Singing was marked by responsorial, antiphonal, and refrain forms, and singing and dancing were accompanied by instruments. The first instruments mentioned in the Bible are the kinnor, evidently a lyre similar to the kitharakithara
or cithara
, musical instrument of the ancient Greeks. It was a plucked instrument, a larger and stronger form of the lyre, used by professional musicians both for solo playing and for the accompaniment of poetry and song.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and the ugab, possibly a vertical flute. Other instruments, more of ceremonial than of musical value, included the hasosra, a trumpet, and the shofar, a ram's or goat's horn, the least musical of all and the only one still in use.

When the kingdom of Israel was established, music was developed systematically. The part played by music in the Temple was essential and highly developed. New instruments were the nevel, a harp; the halil, possibly a double oboe; the asor, a 10-stringed instrument probably like a psaltery; and the magrepha, an instrument of powerful sound, used to signal the beginning of the service. Various types of cymbals originally used in the Temple were prohibited after its restoration. Ritual music was at first only cantillation, i.e., recitative chanting, of the prose books of the Bible. Later the prayers and biblical poetry were chanted, presumably in a modal system similar to the ragas of Hindu music or the maqamat of Arab music, i.e., melodies with improvisations.

After the destruction of Jerusalem under Roman rule in A.D. 70, much of the chant was preserved among congregations of Middle Eastern Jews and arguably remains intact today, but the instrumental music was lost when the dispersed peoples, as an act of mourning, ceased playing instruments. A system of mnemonic hand signs for traditional chant had been developed in the Temple, and after the Dispersion this became the basis for the development of a system of notation. In the 9th cent., Aaron ben Asher of Tiberias perfected the te'amim, or neginoth, a system of accent signs. His notation superseded all other systems and influenced the development of the earliest Christian neumes, which became a precise system, while the te'amim retained their vague character (see musical notationmusical notation,
symbols used to make a written record of musical sounds.

Two different systems of letters were used to write down the instrumental and the vocal music of ancient Greece. In his five textbooks on music theory Boethius (c.A.D. 470–A.D.
..... Click the link for more information.

With the growth in importance of the synagogue came the rise of the chazan, or cantorcantor
[Lat.,=singer], a singer or chanter, especially one who performs the solo chants of a church service. The office of cantor, at first an honorary one, originated in the Jewish synagogues, in which from early times it was the custom to appoint a lay member to represent the
..... Click the link for more information.
. Among the Sephardic Jews in Arab-dominated Spain Arab music had great influence and was introduced into the synagogue. Later the Ashkenazim (Jewish communities that had their original European base in Germany) accepted some of the melodic forms of German folk song and Italian court song; this adaptation was more or less successfully opposed by traditionalists who reintroduced elements from the song of the Middle Eastern Jews. The post-Renaissance cantors developed a distinct type of coloratura, which was popular in 17th-century Europe.

In the early 19th cent., instruments were introduced into some German synagogues, and other changes resulted from adaptations of Christian music. In the reform movement of the 19th cent., the cantor was eliminated, the organ was employed, and Jewish hymns were written in the vernacular and often set to tunes of Protestant hymns. Reaction against this movement brought a more moderate reform in which the Viennese cantor Salomon Sulzer (1804–90) was an outstanding figure. Sulzer aimed to restore the traditional cantillation, but without improvisation, and to make use of new music composed for the synagogue. He used the organ and included hymns in the vernacular. Sulzer's compositions, together with those of Louis Lewandowski (1821–94), another great reformer and the leading cantor of his day in Berlin, form the basis of much modern synagogue music.

In Eastern Europe, Hasidic influence was beginning in the late 18th cent. Two major Eastern European composers of traditional music were the Russian cantors Eliezer Gerowitch (1844–1914) and David Nowakowsky (1849–1921). In the United States, the reform synagogues make extensive use of hymns, mixed choirs and soloists, and organ compositions. There is a cantor in modern orthodox and conservative services but the organ is used only in some conservative services. Several 20th-century musicians, notably Ernest BlochBloch, Ernest
, 1880–1959, Swiss-American composer. Among his teachers were Jaques-Dalcroze and Ysaÿe. He taught at the Geneva Conservatory, 1911–15, and at the Mannes School, New York, 1917–19; he was director of the Cleveland Institute of Music,
..... Click the link for more information.
 and Gershon Ephros, have composed new works for the reformed and traditional services, respectively.


See A. Z. Idelsohn, Jewish Music in its Historical Development (1967); A. M. Rothmüller, The Music of the Jews (tr. 1954, rev. ed. 1967); A. Sendrey, Music in Ancient Israel (1969); E. Werner, A Voice Still Heard (1976).

Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Binder joined Werner in the Society for the Advancement of Jewish Liturgical Music, which led to the 1948 opening of the Hebrew Union School of Education and Sacred Music.
There were the distinctive rhythms--such as a three-beat pattern, with the first and third beats emphasized; scales and phrases reminiscent of Jewish liturgical music of the era; and common instruments including the violin, cello, trumpet, accordion, bass, flute and the tsimbl, or hammered dulcimer--a percussion/strings hybrid in the shape of a trapezoid.
Born in Argentina into an Eastern European Jewish household, Osvaldo Golijov grew up with classical music, Jewish liturgical music, and the tango music of Argentina, all of which became influences in his compositions.
Judith Berkson, a 32-year-old, Brooklyn-based singer, composer, and cantor, is using the phrase as the working title for a chamber opera about the 19th-century Viennese cantor Salomon Sulzer, who reformed Jewish liturgical music, performed with Liszt, and was a friend of Schubert's.
Fruhauf's case studies will play a significant role in bringing these important composers and their stylistic innovations to readers' attention, and provide a vital point of reference for further scholarship about and performance of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Jewish liturgical music and art music based on Jewish themes.
It presents the history of the cantorate and choir from 1833-2001, and examines the present form and socio-cultural role of Jewish liturgical music in Denmark, which shows adaptive aspects.
His study of Livorno brings together a wide range of sources in order to describe that community as a crossroads for the development and dissemination of Sephardic music and for the modernization of Jewish liturgical music in the eighteenth century.
Were we seeking a spirituality that we could not find in Jewish liturgical music? Were we (or, at least, I) pretending to a connoiseurship that could be only theoretical?
The synagogue is especially known for its exquisite choir, whose renderings of Jewish liturgical music have made Sabbath and holiday services a joy to attend.
"Sing Unto God: Debbie Friedman and the Changing Sound of Jewish Liturgical Music." Contemporary Jewry 35, no.
The authors also cover secular Jewish musicians of modern Europe, Jewish liturgical music in America, secular music in America, and music of the Holocaust.

Full browser ?