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What is Jewish music?
Jewish music can be studied from a multifaceted perspective. Among them are historical, liturgical and non-liturgical music of the Hebrews from pre-biblical times (Pharaonic Egypt); religious music in Solomon’s first and second temples; Musical activities immediately after the speech; the poor religious musical activities seen in the early Middle Ages; The emergence of the concept of Jewish music in the middle of the 19th century; its nation-oriented meaning as invented by the landmark book Jewish music in historical development (1929) by AZ Idelsohn (1882-1938) and finally as the art and popular music of Israel.
The early emergence of Jewish musical themes and what might be called the “idea of being Jewish” in European music can be seen for the first time in the works of Salamone Rossi (1570-1630). After that, they appear somewhat shadowy in the works of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), the grandson of the famous Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786).
An opera by Fromental Halevy (1799-1862). La Juive and his occasional use of some Jewish themes contrasts with the absence of “nothing Jewish” in his almost contemporary composer, Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880), who was actually Jewish and had grown up in the Jewish tradition.
Interestingly, the Jewish Music Society of St. Petersburg, led by composer-critic Joel Engel (1868-1927), tells how they discovered their Jewish roots. Inspired by the Nationalist movement in Russian music embodied by Rimsky-Korsakov, César Kui and others, they noted how they went to the Shtets and meticulously wrote and transcribed thousands of Yiddish folk songs.
Ernst Bloch (1880-1959) Shelomo for cello and orchestra and esp Holy Service attempts to create a “Jewish Requiem” for orchestra, choir and soloists.
The Sephardic upbringing of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) and its influence on his music. Second violin concerto and in many songs and choral works; cantatas Naomi and Ruth, Queen of Shiba and in oratorio The Book of Jonah among others, it is necessary to attract attention.
Many scholars have not missed the motives of the Synagogue and the melodies that George Gershwin took in his work. Porgy and Bess. Gershwin biographer Edward Yablonsky claims that the tune “Not necessarily so” Taken from Haftara blessing and others have attributed it to Torah blessing.
Allusions to Jewish music have been found by other observers in Gershwin’s nearly 800 songs. A musicologist has discovered an “uncanny similarity” between folk tunes.Hello Aleichem“and spiritual”It takes a long time to get there“.
The most famous contemporary Israeli composers are Chaya Czernovin, Betty Olivera, Tsippi Fleischer, Mark Kopytman, Yitzhak Yedid.
There are also very important works by non-Jewish composers in Jewish music. Maurice Ravel with himself Kaddish for violin and piano based on a traditional liturgical melody and Max Bruch’s famous Yom Kippur prayer Kol Nidrei for cello and orchestra are among the most popular.
Sergei Prokofiev Overture sur des Themes Juives piano and clarinet for string quartet clearly demonstrate their inspirational sources in secular Jewish music. The use of melodic, modal, rhythmic materials and the clarinet as the leading melodic instrument is a very typical sound in folk and secular Jewish music.
Dmitri Shostakovich was also deeply influenced by Jewish music. This can be seen in many of his compositions, especially in the song series From Jewish Folk Poetryand in it Second Piano Trio. However, his most outstanding contribution to Jewish culture is undoubtedly Jewish culture 13. Symphonic “Babi Yar“.
How Much Jewish Music?
After the Exodus, the worldwide distribution of Jews and its three main communities form the main body of Jewish music worldwide. Geographically dispersed across continents, these communities and their unique ties to local communities have given rise to diverse musical genres as well as languages and customs.
After the exile, according to geographical settlements, Jews formed three main branches: Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi.
Roughly they are located as follows: Ashkenazi in Eastern and Western Europe, the Balkans (to a lesser extent) Turkey and Greece; Sephardic language in Spain, Morocco, North Africa and later the Ottoman Empire (Turkey); Mizrahi in Lebanon, Syria, East Asia, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt.
The music of those communities naturally came into contact with local traditions and developed accordingly.
Ashkenazi and Klezmer
“Ashkenazi” refers to Jews who began to settle on the banks of the Rhine in the 9th century.
Today, the term “Ashkenazi” refers to the majority of European and Western Jews.
Besides Hebrew, Yiddish is widely used in speech and song.
Traditional Ashkenazi music originated in Eastern Europe and spread from there to form the main branch of Jewish music in North America. It includes popular Klezmer music. Klezmer means “singing instruments” from the Hebrew klei zemer. This word comes to define the musician himself and is kind of like a European troubadour.
Klezmer is a very popular genre that can be seen in Hasidic and Ashkenazi Judaism, but is deeply connected to the Ashkenazi tradition.
Around the 15th century, the tradition of secular Jewish music was developed by musicians called klezmorim or klezmerim. They draw on devotional traditions that stretch back to Biblical times, and their musical legacy, klezmer, continues to thrive today. The repertoire is mainly dance songs for weddings and other celebrations. Due to the Ashkenazi lineage of this music, the lyrics, terminology and song titles are usually in Yiddish.
Originally used by the musicians themselves in the mid-20th century, the word came to define a musical genre, sometimes referred to as “Yiddish” music.
“Sephardic” literally means Spanish and designates Jews primarily from Spain, but also from North Africa, Greece, and Egypt.
After the expulsion of all non-Christians who converted to Christianity or were sent into exile in 1492, the very rich, cultured and productive Jewish culture that existed in Spain migrated en masse to the Ottoman Empire and formed the main branch of Jews living in Turkey today. .
Besides Hebrew, their language is called Ladino. Ladino is 15th. Spanish century. Most of their musical repertoire is in this language. Sephardic music combines many elements from traditional Arabic, North African, Turkish idioms.
In medieval Spain, the “cansions” played in the royal courts formed the basis of Sephardic music.
Spiritual, ceremonial and entertainment songs coexist in Sephardic music. The lyrics are generally Hebrew for religious songs and Ladino for others.
The genre absorbed many musical elements as it spread to North Africa, Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and Egypt. Including the high-pitched, extended sounds of North Africa; Balkan rhythms, for example, in 9/8 time; and Turkish magam styles.
The oud and gaun instruments, which are not traditionally Jewish instruments, are preferred to the female voice.
Some popular Sephardic music was released as commercial recordings in the early 20th century. Among the first famous singers of this genre were men and Turks Jack Mayesh, Haim Efendi and Yitzhak Algazi. Later, a new generation of singers emerged, many of whom were not Sephardic themselves. Gloria Levy, Pasharos Sephardies and Flori Yagoda.
“Mizrahi” means Eastern and refers to Jews in the Eastern Mediterranean and further East.
Music also incorporates local traditions. In fact, a very “oriental flavored” musical tradition spanning as far east as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and India.
Middle Eastern percussion plays an important role in typical Mizrahi songs, along with the violin. The music is usually high-pitched.
Mizrahi music is very popular in Israel today.
In the 1950s, the “Music Mizrahi” movement was born. With performers mainly from Israel’s ethnic neighborhoods: Tel Aviv’s Yemeni “Kerem HaTemanim” neighborhood, Moroccan, Iranian and Iraqi immigrants – who play at weddings and other events.
The songs were performed in Hebrew, but with a distinctly Arabic style, on traditional Arabic instruments: the Oud, the Kanun, and the Darbuka.
Classical Hebrew literature, including liturgical texts and the poetry of medieval Hebrew poets, was the primary source of lyric poetry.
Music in the Jewish liturgy
There is an extensive, sometimes contradictory body of writings on all aspects of the use of music in Jewish liturgy. The most widely agreed upon facts are that women’s voices should be excluded from religious ceremonies and the use of musical instruments in Synagogue services should be prohibited.
However, some rabbinical authorities softened these straight positions, but not on the exclusion of the female voice. For example, the Talmudic phrase “to entertain the bride and groom with music” could be seen as a way to allow instrumental and secular music to be played at weddings, but this probably had to be done outside the Synagogue.
The highly influential writings of the Spanish rabbi, physician and philosopher Maimonides (1135-1204) on the one hand strongly opposed all forms of music that did not entirely serve religious worship, and on the other hand recommended instrumental music for its treatment. powers.
In the medieval, renaissance, and pre-baroque eras, musical scores were commonly sought for healing powers and a mysterious formula hidden in musical scores. Interestingly, in a recently published fiction novel “ImprimaturBy musicologist Rita Monaldi and co-writer Francesco Solti, the entire plot is built around a composition by the important Jewish composer Salomone Rossi (1570-1630).
Jewish mystical treatises such as the Kabbalah, especially from the 13th century onwards. century often deals with the ethical, magical, and healing powers of music. The enhancement of religious experience by music, especially singing, is expressed in many places.
Although there is no unified position on music in Jewish thought, a common basic idea emerges: music is the true expression of human feelings in religious and secular life.
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