Volume V

An Institute of Jewish Music in Jerusalem

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Author: Reinhard Flender
Published online: 11.11.19
Abstract |

Die monumentale Sammelarbeit A. Z. Idelsohns wurde - zumindest in ihren Anfängen -bestimmt durch zwei historische Gesichtspunkte: zum einen erhoffte er sich, in der Erforschung der mündlichen überlieferung der synagogalen Musik orientalischer Juden Elemente der einstigen Jerusalemer Tempelmusik wiederzufinden, zum anderen, Zusammenhange zwischen den jüdischen und christlichen überlieferungen liturgischer Musik aufzuzeigen. Dabei schnitt Idelsohn ein weites Forschungsgebiet an, bei dessen Bearbeitung noch heute manches aussteht. In diesem Aufsatz soll ein Aspekt aus der Idelsohnschen Forschungsarbeit weiterentwickelt werden, der, obwohl schon in den 20er Jahren formuliert, noch keine genügende Beachtung gefunden hat: der Zusammenhang zwischen tafame emet und hebraisch-orientalischer Psalmodie. Idelsohn selbst sprach noch nicht von 'hebraischer Psalmodie’, sondern wies zunachst im allgemeinen auf "Parallelen zwischen gregorianischen und hebraisch-orientalischen Gesangsweisen" hin. In der Nachfolge Idelsohns pragten dann E. Werner, E. GersonKiwi und A. Herzog den Begriff der hebraischen Psalmodie.

Author: Eliyahu Arieh Schleifer
Published online: 11.11.19
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It would be no exaggeration to say that already in his lifetime Idelsohn was regarded by many as the savant and saviour of Jewish music. In 1932 on the double occasion of his fiftieth birthday and the publication of the tenth volume of the Hebräisch-orientalischer Melodienschatz, his unique status was summarized by Moses C. Weiler and Theodore R. Ross as follows: 

The publication of Professor Idelsohn's 'Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental Melodies' has elicited articles concerning the man and his work from writers the world over. Germany, Holland, Palestine, England, South Africa, America all acclaim him on the attainment of his life ambition. This in their eyes, is his chief merit that he has bestowed upon the Jew a great gift, a music of his own, hitherto undiscovered, unknown. Hence, Professor Idelsohn will enter the Valhalla of the immortals for his work which is a labor of eternity.

Considering the authoritative status which his works still enjoy and the esteem in which he has been so widely held, it is rather astonishing that no thorough attempt was made to establish a full bibliography of his writings until more than fifty years after his death. The first such bibliography was published by Israel J. Katz in 1975-76.

Author: Abraham Zvi Idelsohn
Published online: 11.11.19
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I was born in the fisher-hamlet Phoelixburg, on the Baltic Sea, between Windau and Sackenhausen, Latvia. My father was Schochet and Baal-t'filloh in the district. When I was less than six months old, my parents moved to Libau, where, due to the efforts of Dr. Philip Klein, then Rabbi in Libau (later in New York), my father was appointed overseer of kosher meat in a non-Jewish butchery. In my early childhood my parents lived next to the "Chor-Shul" and my father used to take me over to that cold, unheated house of worship. The chazan was Abraham Mordecai Rabinovitz. His strong tenor-voice used to chill me; he had no sweetness in his voice. I remember the Congregation preferred to hear Zalman Shochet, though very old, or Orkin of the Zamet Synagogue. Little did I realize that Rabinovitz will later become my teacher. The above mentioned cantors had less voice than he, but much sweeter, and their singing was with more Jewish feeling.

Author: Avner Bahat
Published online: 11.11.19
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The hallelôt have not yet been examined as a poetic genre, a fact that hampers the musicologists. A preliminary listing is given, of printed and manuscript texts in a quantity which seems tolerably representative, all together 289 items. The musical analysis is based on 97 hallelôrecorded over the last twelve years.

Compared with the niswad and sirot, the hallelôt take up little space in the Yemenite diwan. There are further differences: the hallelôt, though rhymed, are not written in any quantitative meter; their origins are usually unknown; the language is Hebrew, rarely Aramaic, but never Arabic. It should be noted that they appear already in the oldest known diwan manuscripts.

The content of the hallelôt is for the most part identical with that of the niswad and sirôt. The opening is usually eulogistic - in praise of the God of Israel or the guest of honour. There follow references to biblical figures, biblical events, the mizwôt, and the yearning for redemption in Zion. All these are linked to the opening eulogy, thus creating a sense of one unified blessing.

Author: David Halperin
Published online: 11.11.19
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"The Testament of Job" is one of the Greek-language pseudepigrapha belonging to the same genre as the twelve patriarchal testaments. It has come down to us primarily in three manuscripts (their sigla are given in parentheses): (ME) Messina, San Salvatore 29, fols. 35b-41b; 1307 CE. (Pn) Paris, B.N. gr. 2658, fols. 72a-97a; eleventh century. (Rvat) Rome, Vat. gr. 1238, fols. 340a-349b; thirteenth century.

Author: Hanoch Avenary
Published online: 11.11.19
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The comparison of a great number of variants of a folk melody was undertaken by Bela Bartok at the beginning of the century, and continued by his school. At about the same time, A. Z. Idelsohn made some early steps in the same direction when, in the early twenties, he confronted different local variants of Jewish Sephardi melodies. He confined himself to very few, often no more than a pair of specimens, but, nevertheless, ventured upon the comparison of tunes influenced by different music cultures. Idelsohn did not content himself with the statement that the same tune persisted in widely separated Sephardi communities, but he also pointed to cases of transformation. His line has recently been taken up by several students of Jewish music tradition.


We are now in a better position than was the pioneer of Jewish ethnomusicology two generations ago. A considerable number of tunes with many variant versions has been recorded and put at our disposal. For many Sephardi melodies we can unfold a map of variants reaching from Bagdad to Casablanca, from Salonica to Leghorn, from Amsterdam and London to Bayonne as far as to the Sephardi outposts in the New World. This is what we shall do in the present investigation, developing methods for gathering information from sixty divergent versions of the same song.

Author: Bathja [Batya] Bayer
Published online: 11.11.19
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From the beginning of the twentieth century onwards, efforts were made, in various countries and in various ways, to institutionalize the "fostering and study of Jewish music." Roughly parallel, in time and place, were certain initiatives affecting the cantorial profession: organizations, journals, and endeavours to set up institutions for the training of cantors. Each of these domains, the fostering and study and the cantorial, merits a full-scale enquiry.

Author: Shelomo Morag
Published online: 11.11.19
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A. Z. Idelsohn (1882-1938) is well-known for his pioneering work in the field of Hebrew musicology, primarily for his recording and research of the music of the various Jewish ethnic groups, presented to the scholarly world in his monumental ten-volume Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental Melodies (1914-1932).  Through his work on the liturgy of the aforementioned groups, Idelsohn also became acquainted with their traditional pronunciations, which he described and discussed in several articles and monographs. Idelsohn distinguished nine different groups in the traditional pronunciations, his division being based on phonetic criteria. He also differentiated phonetic features which are to be considered ancient, from others, which resulted from the influence on Hebrew of the vernaculars of the ethnic groups. Taking into consideration the paucity at that time of historical data regarding the pronunciations of Hebrew, Idelsohn's achievements were of significance.

Yemenite Hebrew, as spoken on certain occasions by members of the community and as read in the liturgy, especially aroused the interest of Idelsohn. He notes the beauty and richness of this variety of Hebrew, a variety which he considers to be a "living language." Living in the period which saw the transformation of Hebrew into a spoken language, possessing a normal existence, Idelsohn also deals with the question of which pronunciation of Hebrew should be established as the standard pronunciation of the revived language. According to his view, a unified standard pronunciation should be created only for the literary language; the spoken language, on the other hand, should not be unified: the various ethnic groups should carry over the distinctive features of their traditional liturgical pronunciations into the spoken Hebrew, thus creating dialects which will continue the traditional pronunciations.

Idelsohn's work contributed towards enhancing interest in the traditional pronunciations of Hebrew; his pioneering work has its distinct place in the research history of the Hebrew language.

Author: Ruth Katz
Published online: 11.11.19
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To repeat once more that Idelsohn occupies the position of a great pioneer in the systematic study of Jewish music would constitute a statement about which history has already given its verdict. Indeed, in the perspective of time his honored place remains unchallenged and it is fair to assume that this state of affairs will continue. It is likewise no indulgence to state that Idelsohn's work has hardly an equal in musicological and ethnomusicological studies insofar as magnitude, scope and intent are concerned. Diligence and intelligence, scholarship, and erudition combined with vision and hope to produce a monumental corpus. No apprehensions with regard to detail of one sort or another can destroy the impact of the work of a man committed, as Idelsohn was, to the unveiling of his ancestral musical roots. It is, therefore, out of respect and reverence that the following pages emerge, and the attempted enlarged vistas exploit and enjoy the shoulders of a giant.

Author: Philip Vilas Bohlman
Published online: 11.11.19
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The musicological activities in Israel prior to statehood are often characterized by rather outstanding contributions of single individuals, possessing usually a European musicological and humanistic education; best known of such individuals are, of course, A. Z. Idelsohn and Robert Lachmann, who typify this pioneering approach to the musics of Israel. These two individual efforts included attempts to create in Jerusalem institutional tools for the advancement of Jewish music research: Idelsohn's attempt to establish in 1910 the Makôn le-sirat yisra'el and Lachmahn's attempt, after his immigration to Palestine in 1935, to create at the Hebrew University the "Archive of Oriental Music." Both these endeavours, though short-lived, were significant forerunners of later realizations, after the creation of the State of Israel, which brought to existence in 1964 the Jewish Music Research Centre at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The purpose of this article is to introduce the documentation of yet another attempt to organize pre-statehood musicological endeavours: the "World Centre for Jewish Music in Palestine" (WCJMP). Although this initiative was doomed to disappear a few years after its inception, organizational efforts were most effective and succeeded not only to reach all parts of the world, but also to produce within Palestine many of the fruits of labour generally associated with a musicological organization. Despite the problems of isolation in a still sparsely settled land, inadequate personnel, and the sometimes devastating effects of opposition to its efforts, the World Centre began to thrive soon after its conception in 1936, sponsoring concerts and public presentations, and even publishing a journal, before the Second World War brought an end to the centre's activities by destroying that which was most essential to the centre, its contact with musicians and musicologists throughout the world.

Author: A. Irma Cohon
Published online: 11.11.19
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It is with great pleasure that we present A. Irma Cohon's account of Idelsohn's life, character, and works. For many years the lives of Mrs. Cohon and her husband, Rabbi Samuel Solomon Cohon (18881959), were intimately connected with Idelsohn's life and works. Irma Cohon was born in Portland, Oregon on September 8, 1890. She studied at the University of Cincinnati where she met her future husband, then a rabbinic student at the Hebrew Union College. They were married in 1912 upon their graduation. Rabbi Cohon became one of the most important spokesmen of Reform Judaism in the United States, and a prolific writer on Judaica. He was influential in reestablishing a "favourable attitude towards traditional Jewish observances, the Hebrew language, and the idea Of Jewish peoplehood" in American Reform congregations, and was the "principal draftsman" of the famous "Columbus Platform" adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 1937 (see EP V, 694). 

Rabbi Cohon's interests and convictions were supported by his wife's great interest in traditional Jewish music. Her efforts to educate the Jewish public in the value of its musical heritage began long before her acquaintance with Idelsohn. In 1923 the year of Idelsohn's arrival in the United States, the Council of Jewish Women in New York Published a second edition of her Introduction to Jewish Music in Eight Illustrated Lectures.  Thus Idelsohn could find no better supporters than Rabbi Cohon with his progressive theological ideas and his love of Jewish tradition, and Mrs. Cohon with her love of Jewish music.

Author: Yehudah Ratzaby
Published online: 11.11.19
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Besides the types of Jewish poetry in Yemen - nasid, sirah, zaffeh, haduyo and hallel - there is a further poetic form known as qasid. While the other types have received observation and research, the qasid has not yet been fully investigated. Qasid differs from the other types in content and in language. The poems are folk songs, light, entertaining, and amusing in content. They are written in spoken Arabic so that the simpler people and the women, who did not know Hebrew very well, could understand them. Those who copied the Yemenite diwans did not attach much importance to the qasid and did not assign a separate section to it, so that qasid songs are scattered throughout the manuscript. It seems that what is known of the qasid songs in the diwans is only a remnant of a rich repertoire forgotten with the passage of time. The composers of these songs were mostly gifted folk poets. The subjects are amusing tales from the Jewish lore, such as the Creation, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the story of Joseph and his brothers, the Exodus, Hannah and her seven sons, etc. There are also contemporary stories, like tales of the social life of the Jews and of the Moslems, animal stories, and anecdotes about dishes and other objects: a tale of a cup and a tallith that were stolen and a rose-water spray that was broken. These songs had a triple function: educational; moral; and entertaining. They told people about Jewish legends in an amusing manner; they taught morals through their tendency to reward the good and punish the wicked; and they provided entertainment through their content and music. The qasid were sung at the end of parties, once the serious part of the affair was over and the Rabbis and honoured guests had left. 

The writer of this article is in the process of studying twenty qasid songs which he has collected from Yemenite diwans, making a detailed survey of their contents. The entire text of the qasid 'abda' birabbi di kalaq is published here, with Hebrew translation and apparatus. The musical treatment of the same qasid, performed by Zecharia Ya'acobi, is the subject of U. Sharvit's article in this volume.

Author: Kay Kaufmann Shelemay
Published online: 11.11.19
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The Falashas of Ethiopia have attracted considerable attention because of their Judaic religious practice, yet the relationship of their liturgy to normative Judaism remains underdetermined. This article is a first step in the direction of comparative studies. In any society, a Jewish influence may be manifested in certain aspects of cultural life and religious practice, but all Jewish traditions share basic liturgical forms. By defining forms common to Jewish liturgies and determining their presence or absence within Falasha rituals, we can better relate the Falasha tradition to Jewish liturgical precedents.

Author: Dom Jean Claire
Published online: 11.11.19
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L'attention des musicologues vient d'être attirée sur un procédé de composition trop caractéristique pour n'être pas volontaire, et trop répandu, dans des répertoires très divers, pour ne pas remonter à leur lointaine source commune: il s'agit de l’emplacement du mélisme dans la phrase, depuis la cantillation primitive jusque dans la composition musicale la plus élaborée.

Author:
Published online: 11.11.19
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We hereby appeal to all Jewish musicians and singers in Jerusalem and in Erez Israel, to the Sephardim and also the Ashkenazim, Jews of Yemen and likewise the Jews of Persia and Babylonia, and to all the Jewish musicians and cantors in the entire world, from the Jews of Ashkenaz to the Jews of Poland and from the Jews of Morocco to the Jews of America, Australia and Africa, and call to them: Ye musicians of Israel and its singers, and lovers of your People's music that are dispersed through all the corners of the earth! Who amongst you senses the sanctity of his people's music? Who amongst you believes that his music is the music of his people Israel? Who amongst you agrees that music in Israel did not cease in the diaspora and that unto this day it is the saved remnant preserved to us of the high estate of our people? Who amongst you feels and believes that the people's music is an echo of the people's soul? Who amongst you believes to hear in the singing of the Jews today the echo of the song of Moses the Man of God, the psalms of David the King of Israel, and the chant of the Levites in the Temple? The soul of whom amongst you trembles to hear the voice of the prophecies of the great prophets, voices striking sacred flames?

Author: Uri Sharvit
Published online: 11.11.19
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The Jewish Yemenite collection of poems - the Diwan - includes three main types of poems: sirim (or, in Arabic: niswad), sirôt, and hallelôt. All three are intended to be sung as a part of the men's singing and dancing during family celebrations. Such a performance usually consists of a series of three poems: an opening poem of the first type (Sir); a second of the second type (Sirah); and a third, of the third type (hallel). The opening sir is sung by a soloist in a recitative style; the following sirah, which is also sung solo or in response between the soloist and the audience, has a very rhythmic character and is accompanied by dancing and drumming. The hallel is sung by the entire audience to a fixed melody with a slow, measured rhythm typical of liturgical singing. In most cases the literary form of the first two poems is changed in a very particular way by the singer. Such a change occurs in the poem aAbda’ birabbi di kalaq as sung by Mr. Zecharia Ya’acobi (b. 1914 in Ba’adan, Southern Yemen). The literary aspects of this poem are analyzed in Y. Ratshabi's article in this volume.

Author: Eric Werner
Published online: 11.11.19
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It is a well-known fact that orally transmitted (folk) tunes exist in many variants, which differ from each other musically, textually, and even in the language used.  Sometimes the affinity of a variant with an ideal model-tune is obvious, sometimes it is hard to recognize, harder to establish.  In comparative musicology and folklore the proof of the affinity of a variant or contrafact with a model-tune is a frequent problem: it can rarely be solved with mathematical accuracy.  For the oral tradition of a tune is ever-changing, depending upon the place, time, and the singer; and even when it is notated, the musical signs and symbols fix only discrete tones while neglecting the frequent portamenti di voce or other ligatures, not to mention the many personal habits in the voice production of the singer or transmitter.  The problem of identifying and relating the variants of a model-tune is particularly important, when we compare two or more melodies with different texts, which appear or are claimed to be variants of one and the same model-tune. 

Author: Dalia Cohen
Published online: 11.11.19
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The Veda, as is well known, is the religious lore of ancient India, crystallized during ten centuries, from about the fifteenth to the fifth century B.C.E., and compiled in four collections: The Rig-Veda (collections of hymns), the Sama-Veda (hymns with notated melodies), the Yajur-Veda (verses and prose formulae, with or without meaning used during sacrificial rites) and the Atharva-Veda (magical formulae and spells). For the participants, the actual performance is of supreme importance and not to be separated from the text. The musician, observing the Vedic cantillation especially that of the Rig-Veda assigns it a special place among the various kinds of musical expression of the world, and it has been the object of much research. However, although much has been published in this field on a descriptive level, with some attempts at a deeper analysis, little has been done to reveal the basic principles which govern the Vedic cantillation. In this study I shall try to summarize the characteristics of the Rig-Veda cantillation and discuss certain problems which arise from these characteristics as well as the implications for more general musical issues. I will also present an analysis of one specimen of chant practice (Rig-Veda 1.12) performed by the Nambudiris, a Brahmin sect in the state of Kerala in Southwest India, which may perhaps serve as a starting point for a more comprehensive study.

Author: Edith (Esther) Gerson Kiwi
Published online: 11.11.19
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In the beginning of the twentieth century, the study and research of Jewish music was motivated by the belief that the music of biblical times survived in the living traditions of Jewish communities. It was also believed that with the dispersion of the Jewish people after the destruction of the Second Temple, Jewish music underwent a process of diversification and there remained only the variants without the central Theme. Restoring it to its former glory became the task which started the modern search after the true and most ancient sources of Jewish music.


The beginnings of the new research in this field take us back to the first two decades of our century, with the opening of the first Phonogram-Archives (in 1900) in Vienna and Berlin, under the guidance of such personalities as Carl Stumpf and Erich M. von Hornbostel, Curt Sachs, Robert Lachmann, Otto Abraham and others. Encouraged by the new possibilities of the Edison Phonograph with its mechanical recordings which provided the true image of any musical source, the real search started for the detection of the earliest "beginnings" of music, with its many shades and functions in "low" human societies at their sacred services and rituals. A new approach concerning the early phases of liturgical music in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism helped to discover the living Orient with its many Afro-Asiatic communities and ethnic groups.

Author: Eliyahu Arieh Schleifer
Published online: 11.11.19
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In 1934, Idelsohn's rapidly deteriorating health forced him to retire from his teaching position at the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati. The retirement, at the early age of fifty-two, came only two years after the triumphant completion of the German version of the Hebräisch-orientalischer Melodienschatz and marked the end of Idelsohn's scholarly career. Forced illness Provided ample time for reflection and stock taking, and Idelsohn wrote, perhaps dictated, two autobiographical sketches which were published in the following year. The first sketch, in Hebrew, appeared in January 1935 in Die Chasanim Welt, the journal of the organization of Jewish cantors in Poland; the second, in English, was printed half a year later in Jacob Beiml's Jewish Music Journal (New York). 

Author: Israel Adler
Published online: 11.11.19
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Our main source of information as regards the musical events at the Jewish community of Casale Monferrato during the years 1732-1735 is based on Ms. Ginzburg 807 at the Lenin State Library in Moscow. The manuscript contains three musical scores for ceremonies on hos'ana rabbah. Each ceremony contained two parts; part A: a series of instrumental and liturgical pieces, and part B: a cantata or a cantata-quasi-oratorio, whose libretto was written especially for the occasion. The present article describes in detail the above mentioned manuscripts and concordant sources of the cantatas, it then probes into the questions of the authors of the texts, the place of performance and the initiator of the events.

The author of the libretti of two cantatas is identified as S.H. Jarach, whereas Joseph Hayyim Chezighin (G.V. Clava) who was believed to be the author of the texts and the composer of the music, is now regarded as the initiator of the events and probably also compiler and editor of the music. The events took place in Casale Monferrato on hosa'na rabbah of 1732, 1733 and 1735 and not in Vercelli in 1733, 1734 and 1736 as was formerly believed.

A detailed description of the music follows, in which the relationship of the music in part A to Tedesco liturgical melodies is examined. A special effort is made to identify the sources and the structure of the scores, since these may be regarded as pasticcio combinations.