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Encyclopedia > Cantillation
Gen. 1:9 And God said, "Let the waters be collected".
Letters in black, vowel points and dageshim (letter doublings) in red, cantillation signs in blue

Cantillation is the ritual chanting of readings from the Bible in synagogue services. Image File history File links Example_of_biblical_Hebrew_trope. ... Image File history File links Example_of_biblical_Hebrew_trope. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... A synagogue (from ancient Greek: , transliterated synagogÄ“, assembly; ‎ beit knesset, house of assembly; Yiddish: or Template:Lanh-he beit tefila, house of prayer, shul; Ladino: , esnoga) is a Jewish house of worship. ... Jewish services (Hebrew: תפלה, tefillah ; plural תפלות, tefillot ; Yinglish: davening) are the prayer recitations which form part of the observance of Judaism. ...


The chants are rendered in accordance with the special signs or marks printed in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh) to complement the letters and vowel points. These marks are known in English as accents and in Hebrew as טעמי המקרא ta`amei ha-mikra or just טעמים te`amim. (Some of these signs were also sometimes used in medieval manuscripts of the Mishnah.) The musical motifs associated with the signs are known in Hebrew as niggun and in Yiddish as טראָפ trop: the equivalent word trope is sometimes used in English with the same meaning. The Masoretic Text (MT) is the Hebrew text of the Tanakh approved for general use in Judaism. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum Hebrew Bible is a term that refers to the common portions of the Jewish canon and the Christian canons. ... Tanakh (‎) (also Tanach, IPA: or , or Tenak) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... The Mishnah (Hebrew משנה, repetition) is a major source of rabbinic Judaisms religious texts. ... Nigun (pl. ... Yiddish (ייִדיש, Jiddisch) is a Germanic language spoken by about four million Jews throughout the world. ...


A primary purpose of the cantillation signs is to guide the chanting of the sacred texts during public worship. Very roughly speaking, each word of text has a cantillation mark at its primary accent and associated with that mark is a musical phrase that tells how to sing that word. The reality is more complex, with some words having two or no marks and the musical meaning of some marks dependent upon context. There are different sets of musical phrases associated with different sections of the Bible. The music varies with different Jewish traditions and individual cantorial styles.


The cantillation signs also provide information on the syntactical structure of the text and some say they are a commentary on the text itself, highlighting important ideas musically. The tropes are not random strings but follow a set and describable grammar. The very word ta'am means "taste" or "sense", the point being that the pauses and intonation denoted by the accents (with or without formal musical rendition) bring out the sense of the passage.


The current system of cantillation notes has its historical roots in the Tiberian masorah. The cantillation signs are included in Unicode as characters 0591 through 05AF in the Hebrew alphabet block. Masorah or Mesora, (Hebrew מסורה) refers either to the transmission of a (religious) tradition, or to the tradition itself. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...

Hebrew alphabet
א    ב    ג    ד    ה    ו
ז    ח    ט    י    כך
ל    מם    נן    ס    ע    פף
צץ    ק    ר    ש    ת
History · Transliteration
Niqqud · Dagesh · Gematria
Cantillation · Numeration

Contents

Note: This article contains special characters. ... Aleph ‎ is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, together with Arabic descended from Phoenician . Its original sound value was a glottal stop. ... Bet or Beth is the second letter of the Phoenician alphabet, the Hebrew alphabet, and the Aramaic alphabet. ... Gimel is the third letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic (in abjadi order; 5th in higai order). ...   Dalet or Daleth is the fourth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... He is the fifth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician , Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic . Its sound value is a voiceless glottal fricative (). The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Epsilon, Etruscan , Latin E and Cyrillic Ye. ...   Vav or waw is the sixth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic in abjadi order; it is the twenty-seventh in modern Arabic order. ... Zayin or Zain is the seventh letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... or (also spelled Khet, Kheth, Chet, Cheth, Het, or Heth) is the reconstructed name of the eighth letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician , Syriac , Hebrew (also ) , Arabic (in abjadi order), and Berber . Heth originally represented a voiceless fricative, either pharyngeal , or velar (the... (also Teth, Tet) is the ninth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic (in abjadi order, 16th in modern order). ... Yodh (also spelled Yud or Yod) is the tenth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic (in abjadi order, 28th in modern order). ... Kaph (also spelled Kap or Kaf) is the eleventh letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Arabic alphabet , Persian alphabet . ... Lamed or Lamedh is the twelfth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its sound value is IPA: . The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Lambda (Λ), Latin L, and Cyrillic El (Л). // Lamedh is believed to have come from a pictogram of an ox goad... Mem is the thirteenth letter of the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. ... → [Nun] is the 14th letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... Samekh or Simketh is the fifteenth letter in many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic, representing . ... or Ayin is the sixteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic (in abjadi order). ... Pe is the seventeenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... Tsade (also spelled or Tzadi or Sadhe) is the eighteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew ‎ and Arabic alphabet ‎. Its oldest sound value is probably IPA: , although there is a variety of pronunciation in different modern Semitic languages and their dialects. ... Qoph or Qop is the nineteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... Resh is the twentieth letter of the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. ... Shin (also spelled Å in or Sheen) is the twenty-first letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic (in abjadi order, 12th in modern order). ... Taw or Tav is the twenty-second and last letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its original value is an voiceless alveolar plosive, IPA , The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Tau (Τ), Latin T, and the equivalent in the Cyrillic alphabet. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Hebrew uses the Hebrew alphabet with optional vowel points. ... In Hebrew orthography, Niqqud or Nikkud (Hebrew: , Standard  Tiberian  ; dots) is the system of diacritical signs used to represent vowels or distinguish between alternative pronunciations of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. ... The dagesh (דגש) is a diacritic used in the Hebrew alphabet. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The system of Hebrew numerals is a quasi-decimal alphabetic numeral system using the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. ...

Functions of cantillation signs

The cantillation signs serve three functions:

  • Syntax: They divide biblical verses into smaller units of meaning, a function which also gives them a limited but sometimes important role as a source for exegesis. This function is accomplished through the use of various conjunctive signs (which indicate that words should be connected in a single phrase) and especially a hierarchy of dividing signs of various strength which divide each verse into smaller phrases. The function of the disjunctive cantillation signs may be roughly compared to modern punctuation signs such as periods, commas, semicolons, etc.
  • Phonetics: Most of the cantillation signs indicate the specific syllable where the stress (accent) falls in the pronunciation of a word.
  • Music: The cantillation signs have musical value: reading the Hebrew Bible with cantillation becomes a musical chant, where the music itself serves as a tool to emphasise the proper accentuation and syntax (as mentioned previously).

Exegesis (from the Greek to lead out) involves an extensive and critical interpretation of an authoritative text, especially of a holy scripture, such as of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Quran, etc. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum Hebrew Bible is a term that refers to the common portions of the Jewish canon and the Christian canons. ...

Psalms, Proverbs and Job

The system of cantillation signs used throughout the Tanakh is replaced by a very different system for these three poetic books. Many of the signs may appear the same or similar at first glance, but most of them serve entirely different functions in these three books. (Only a few signs have functions similar to what they do in the rest of the Tanakh.) The short narratives at the beginning and end of Job use the "regular" system, but the bulk of the book (the poetry) uses the special system. For this reason, these three books are referred to as sifrei ʔeMeT (Books of Truth), the word ʔemet meaning "truth", but also being an acronym for the first letters of the three books (ʔIyov, Mishle, Tehillim). Tanakh (‎) (also Tanach, IPA: or , or Tenak) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... Tanakh (‎) (also Tanach, IPA: or , or Tenak) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... The Book of Job (איוב) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. ...


The syntactical function

In general, each word in the Tanach has one cantillation sign.[1] This may be either a disjunctive, showing a division between that and the following word, or a conjunctive, joining the two words (like a slur in music). Thus, disjunctives divide a verse into phrases, and within each phrase all the words except the last carry conjunctives.


The disjunctives are traditionally divided into four levels, with lower level disjunctives marking less important breaks.

  1. The first level, known as "Emperors", includes sof pasuq, marking the end of the verse, and atnach / etnachta, marking the middle.
  2. The second level is known as "Kings". The usual second level disjunctive is zaqef qaton (when on its own, this becomes zaqef gadol). This is replaced by tifcha when in the immediate neighbourhood of sof pasuq or atnach. A stronger second level disjunctive, used in very long verses, is segol: when it occurs on its own, this may be replaced by shalshelet.
  3. The third level is known as "Dukes". The usual third level disjunctive is revia. For musical reasons, this is replaced by zarqa when in the vicinity of segol, by pashta or yetiv when in the vicinity of zakef, and by tevir when in the vicinity of tifcha.
  4. The fourth level is known as "Counts". These are found mainly in longer verses, and tend to cluster near the beginning of a half-verse: for this reason their musical realisation is usually more elaborate than that of higher level disjunctives. They are pazer, geresh, gershayim, telishah gedolah, munach legarmeh and qarne farah.

The general conjunctive is munach. Depending on which disjunctive follows, this may be replaced by mercha, mahpach, darga, qadma, telisha qetannah or yerach ben yomo.


One other symbol is mercha kefulah, double mercha. There is some argument about whether this is another conjunctive or an occasional replacement for tevir.


Disjunctives have a function somewhat similar to punctuation in Western languages. Sof pasuq could be thought of as a full stop, atnach as a semi-colon, second level disjunctives as commas and third level disjunctives as commas or unmarked. Where two words are syntactically bound together (for example, pene ha-mayim, "the face of the waters"), the first invariably carries a conjunctive.


The cantillation signs are often an important aid in the interpretation of a passage. For example, the words qol qore bamidbar panu derekh Hashem (Isaiah 40-3) is translated in the Authorised Version as "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord". As the word qore takes the high-level disjunctive zaqef qaton this meaning is impossible. Accordingly the New Revised Standard Version translates "A voice cries out: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord'," while the Jewish Publication Society Version has "Hark! one calleth: 'Clear ye in the wilderness the way of the LORD'." The King James or Authorized Version of the Bible is an English translation of the Christian Bible first published in 1611. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Jewish Publication Society of America Version (JPS) of the Jewish Bible (i. ...


The phonetic function

Most cantillation signs are written on the consonant of the stressed syllable of a word. This also shows where the most important note of the musical motif should go.


A few signs always go on the first or last consonant of a word. This may have been for musical reasons, or it may be to distinguish them from other accents of similar shape. For example pashta, which goes on the last consonant, otherwise looks like qadma, which goes on the stressed syllable.


Some signs are written (and sung) differently when the word is not stressed on its last syllable. Pashta on a word of this kind is doubled, one going on the stressed syllable and the other on the last consonant. Geresh is doubled unless it occurs on a non-finally-stressed word or follows qadma (to form the qadma ve-azla phrase).


The musical function

Cantillation signs guide the reader in applying a chant to Biblical readings. This chant is technically regarded as a ritualized form of speech intonation rather than as a musical exercise like the singing of metrical hymns: for this reason Jews always speak of saying or reading a passage rather than of singing it.[2] (In Yiddish the word is leyen 'read', derived from Latin legere. In Spanish and related languages it is decir 'say'.) Yiddish (Yid. ...


The musical value of the cantillation signs serves the same function for Jews worldwide, but the specific tunes vary between different communities. The most common tunes today are as follows.

  • Among Ashkenazi Jews:
    • The Polish-Lithuanian melody, used by Ashkenazic descendants of eastern European Jews, is the most common tune in the world today, both in Israel and the diaspora.
    • The Ashkenazic melodies from central and western European Jewry are used far less today than before the Holocaust, but still survive in some communities, especially in Great Britain. They are of interest because a very similar melody was notated by Johann Reuchlin as in use in Germany in his day (15th-16th century, C.E.).
  • Among Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews:
    • The "Jerusalem Sephardic" (Sepharadi-Yerushalmi) melody (of Syrian origin) is the one most widely used today in Israel, and it is also used in some Sephardic communities in the diaspora.
    • The Moroccan melody is used widely by Jews of Moroccan descent, both in Israel and in the diaspora, especially France. It subdivides into the Spanish-Moroccan, heard in the northern coastal strip, and the Arab-Moroccan, heard in the rest of the country.
    • The Spanish/Portuguese melody is in common use in the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi communities of Gibraltar, the Netherlands, England, Canada, USA and other places in the Americas. It is closely related to the Spanish-Moroccan melody.
    • Other varieties, including the Greek/Turkish/Balkan, Iraqi, Syrian and Egyptian melodies, are more sparingly used in Israel today, but are still heard in the Diaspora, especially in America
  • The Italian melody is still used in Italy, as well as in one Italian synagogue in Jerusalem and one in Istanbul.
  • The Yemenite melody can also be heard in Israel today.

Languages Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, English Religions Judaism Related ethnic groups Sephardi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, and other Jewish ethnic divisions Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim (Standard Hebrew: sing. ... Ashkenazi (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי, Standard Hebrew Aškanazi, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzî) Jews or Ashkenazic Jews, also called Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי&#1501... Ashkenazi (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי, Standard Hebrew Aškanazi, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzî) Jews or Ashkenazic Jews, also called Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי&#1501... “Shoah” redirects here. ... Johann Reuchlin (January 29, 1455 - 1522) was a German humanist and Hebrew scholar. ... Languages Hebrew, Ladino, Judæo-Portuguese, Catalanic, Shuadit, local languages Religions Judaism Related ethnic groups Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, other Jewish ethnic divisions, Spaniards, Portuguese. ... Languages Hebrew, Dzhidi, Judæo-Arabic, Gruzinic, Bukhori, Judeo-Berber, Juhuri and Judæo-Aramaic Religions Judaism Related ethnic groups Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardi Jews, other Jewish ethnic divisions and Arabs. ... Painting of the Amsterdam Esnoga — considered the mother synagogue by the Portuguese and Spanish Jews — by Emanuel de Witte (ab. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... The Italian Synagogue, also known as Kal de los Frankos, is located north of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey. ...

Ashkenazic melodies

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In the Ashkenazic musical tradition for cantillation, each of the local geographical customs includes a total of six major and numerous minor separate melodies for cantillation: Image File history File links Gnome-speakernotes. ... Ashkenazi (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי, Standard Hebrew Aškanazi, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzî) Jews or Ashkenazic Jews, also called Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי&#1501...

  • Torah and Haftarot (3 melodies)
    • 1. Torah (general melody for the whole year) Example
    • 2. Torah - special melody for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. You may hear the reading at Torahplace. This tune is also employed on Simhat Torah in various degrees (depending on the specific community). Echoes of it can also be heard for certain verses in the Torah reading for fast days in some communities.
      • There are a number of variants employed for special sections, such as those for the Aseret haDibrot (Ten Commandments) and Az Yashir (Song of the Sea).
      • In all Torah modes, there is a "coda" motif that is used for the last few words of each reading, irrespective of the cantillation signs.
      • There is a special coda used at the end of each of the five books of the Torah that leads to the traditional exclamation of "Hazak Hazak V'Nithazek!" (Be strong be strong so we are strengthened).
    • 3. Haftarot Example
      • In the haftarah mode, there is also a "coda" motif. In the Western Ashkenazic mode, this is applied to the end of every verse. A different coda is used at the end of the haftarah, modulating from minor to major to introduce the following blessing.
  • The Five Megillot (3 melodies are employed for these five scrolls)
    • 4. Esther - a light, joyous tune used for the Megillat Esther on Purim.
    • 5. Lamentations - a mournful tune. Echoes of it can also be heard for certain verses in Esther and in the Torah reading preceding the Ninth of Av. The Haftarot preceding and during the Ninth of Av also use this melody. Example
    • 6. The three remaining scrolls are publicly read within Ashkenazic communities during the Three pilgrimage festivals. All are read in the same melody, which may be considered the "general" melody for the megillot: The Song of Songs on Passover; Ruth on Shavuot; Ecclesiastes on Sukkot.

The Ashkenazic tradition preserves no melody for the special cantillation notes of Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, which were not publicly read in the synagogue by European Jews. However, the Ashkenazic yeshiva known as Aderet Eliyahu, or (more informally) Zilbermann's, in the Old City of Jerusalem, uses an adaptation of the Syrian cantillation-melody for these books, and this is becoming more popular among other Ashkenazim, as well. The haftarah (haftara, haphtara, haphtarah, Hebrew הפטרה‎; plural haftarot, haftaros, haphtarot, haphtaros) is a text selected from the books of Neviim (The Prophets) that is read publicly in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah on each Sabbath, as well as on Jewish festivals and fast days. ... Image File history File links Cantillation_Example_Torah_Ashkenazi. ... Look up Rosh Hashanah in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Yom Kippur (Hebrew:יוֹם כִּפּוּר ) is a Jewish holiday, known in English as the Day of Atonement. ... Simchat Torah (שמחת תורה) is a Hebrew term which means rejoicing with the Torah. It is a Jewish holiday that takes place at the conclusion of Sukkot, a Biblical pilgrimage festival, also known as The Feast of Booths (Tabernacles). ... Decalogue redirects here; for the film series by Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski, see The Decalogue. ... The Song of the Sea is a poem which appears in Exodus at Exodus 15:1b-18. ... Coda sign Coda (Italian for tail; from the Latin cauda), in music, is a passage which brings a movement or a separate piece to a conclusion through prolongation. ... Image File history File links Cantillation_Example_Haftarah_Ashkenazi. ... In the third major section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), which is called Ketuvim (The Writings), there are five relatively short biblical books that are grouped together and known collectively in the Jewish tradition as The Five Scrolls (Hebrew: Hamesh Megillot or Chamesh Megillos). ... Purim (Hebrew: פורים Pûrîm lots, from Akkadian pÅ«ru) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance from Hamans plot to annihilate all the Jews of the Persian Empire, who had survived the Babylonian captivity, after Persia had conquered Babylonia who in turn had destroyed the First Temple... Tisha BAv (תשעה באב tish‘āh bə-āḇ) means the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, which is a month in the lunar calendar used for purposes of Jewish holidays, etc. ... Tisha BAv (תשעה באב tish‘āh bə-āḇ) means the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, which is a month in the lunar calendar used for purposes of Jewish holidays, etc. ... Image File history File links Cantillation_Example_Lamentations_Ashkenazi. ... Ashkenazi (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי, Standard Hebrew Aškanazi, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzî) Jews or Ashkenazic Jews, also called Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי&#1501... The Three Pilgrimage Festivals, known as the Shloshet ha Regalim in Hebrew, are three major festivals in Judaism (Passover (Pesach), Shavuot (the Biblical Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles)) when the Israelites living in ancient Israel and Judea, would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as commanded by the Torah. ... Song of Solomon is also the title of a novel by Toni Morrison. ... Pasch redirects here. ... Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to the land of Moab by William Blake, 1795 Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld: Ruth in Boazs Field, 1828 The Book of Ruth (Hebrew: מגילת רות, Megilat Rut, the Scroll of Ruth) is one of the books of the Ketuvim (Writings) of the Tanakh (the... Shavuot, also spelled Shavuos (Hebrew: שבועות (Israeli Heb. ... Ecclesiastes, Qohelet in Hebrew, is a book of the Hebrew Bible. ... Sukkot (Hebrew:  ; booths. ... Ashkenazi (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי, Standard Hebrew Aškanazi, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzî) Jews or Ashkenazic Jews, also called Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי&#1501... Ashkenazi (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי, Standard Hebrew Aškanazi, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzî) Jews or Ashkenazic Jews, also called Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי&#1501... This article is about the Jewish male educational system. ...


Eastern melodies

The Jews of North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Yemen all had local musical traditions for cantillation. When these Jewish communities emigrated (mostly to Israel) during the twentieth century, they brought their musical traditions with them. But as the immigrants themselves grew older, many melodies began to be forgotten.


As with the Ashkenazim, there is one tune for Torah readings and a different tune for haftarot. There is usually a special tune for the Ten Commandments, but there is no special tune for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Also as with Ashkenazim, the normal musical value of cantillation signs is replaced by a "coda" motif at the end of each Torah reading and of each haftarah verse (though there is no special coda for the end of the haftarah), suggesting a common origin for the Sephardi and Ashkenazi chants.


Unlike the Ashkenazic tradition, the eastern traditions include melodies for the special cantillation of Psalms, Proverbs, and Job. In many eastern communities, Proverbs is read on the six Sabbaths between Passover and Shavuot, Job on the Ninth of Av, and Psalms are read on a great many occasions. The cantillation melody for Psalms can also vary depending on the occasion. Pasch redirects here. ... Shavuot, also spelled Shavuos (Hebrew: שבועות (Israeli Heb. ... Tisha BAv (תשעה באב tish‘āh bə-āḇ) means the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, which is a month in the lunar calendar used for purposes of Jewish holidays, etc. ...


Eastern Jewish communities have no liturgical tradition of reading Ecclesiastes, and there is no public liturgical reading of Song of Songs on Passover. (Individuals may read it after the Passover Seder, and many communities recite it every Friday night.) There are tunes for Ruth, Esther and Lamentations. In some communities (e.g. the Syrian Jews) there is a special tune for Song of Songs; in others (e.g. the Spanish and Portuguese Jews) it is the same as that for Ruth, as in Ashkenazi communities. The Ruth tune is generally the "default" tune for any book of the Ketuvim (Hagiographa) that does not have a tune of its own, including the prose passages at the beginning and end of the book of Job. Syrian Jews derive their origin from two groups: those who inhabited the region of todays Syria from the ancient times and those Sephardim who fled to Syria after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1492 AD). ... Painting of the Amsterdam Esnoga — considered the mother synagogue by the Portuguese and Spanish Jews — by Emanuel de Witte (ab. ... Ketuvim is the third and final section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). ...


Names and shapes of the ta'amim

Zarqa tables

For learning purposes, the ta'amim are arranged in a traditional order of recitation called a "zarqa table", showing both the names and the symbols themselves. These tables are often printed at the end of a Chumash (Hebrew Pentateuch). Rafael, a Chumash in the 1800s Pre-contact distribution of the Chumash The Chumash are a Native American tribe who historically inhabit mainly the southern coastal regions of California, in the vicinity of what is now Santa Barbara and Ventura, extending as far south as Malibu. ... Look up Pentateuch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The order of recitation bears some relation to the groups in which the signs are likely to occur in a typical Biblical verse, but differs in detail between different communities. Below are the traditional Ashkenazi and Sephardi orders.


Ashkenazi

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

Sephardi

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

Names with transliteration

Symbol in
Unicode
Anglicized name (Israeli Hebrew)
Hebrew name in Unicode
ב֑ב etnachta
אֶתְנַחְתָּא
ב֒ב segol
סֶגוֹל
ב֓ב shalshelet
שַׁלְשֶׁלֶת
ב֔ב zaqef qaton
זָקֵף־קָטוֹן
ב֕ב zaqef gadol
זָקֵף־גָדוֹל
ב֖ב tifha (tarcha)
טִפְּחָא
ב֗ב revia
רְבִיעַ
ב֘ב zarqa
זַרְקָא
ב֙ב pashta
פַּשְׁתָּא
ב֚ב yetiv
יְתִיב
ב֛ב tevir
תְּבִיר
ב֜ב geresh, azla
גֵרֵשׁ
ב֝ב geresh muqdam
גֵרֵשׁ מוּקְדָם
ב֞ב gershayim
גֶרְשַׁיִים
ב֟ב qarne farah
קַרְנֵי פָרָה
ב֠ב telisha gedolah
תְּלִשָׁא־גְדוֹלָה
ב֡ב pazer
פָּזֵר
בב֢ atnach hafukh
אתנח הפוך
ב֣ב munach
מוּנַח
ב֤ב mahapakh
מַאְפַּךְ
ב֥ב merkha, yored
מֵרְכָא
ב֦ב merkha kefula
מֵרְכָא־כְפוּלָה
ב֧ב darga
דַּרְגָא
ב֨ב qadma
קַדְמָא
ב֩ב telisha qetanah
תּלִשָׁא־קְטַנָה
ב֪ב yerach ben yomo, galgal
יֶרח בֶּן יוֹמוֹ, גלגל
ב֫ב ole
עוֹלֶה
ב֬ב iluy
עִלוּי
ב֭ב dehi
דחי
ב֮ב tzinnor
צנור

The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... The Modern Hebrew language is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. ...

Meanings of the names

Azla: "Going away", because it is often the end of the phrase 'Qadma ve'Azla'.


Darga: "Trill" from its sound, or "step" from its shape.


Etnachta: "Pause, rest" because it is the pause in the middle of a verse.


Geresh: "Before", because it is never marked on the last syllable of a word (unless it is with Azla).


Gershayim: Double Geresh, from its appearance.


Qadma: "To progress, advance." It always occurs at the beginning of a phrase and its shape is leaning forward.


Mahpach: "Turning round". In old manuscripts, it was written like a U on its side, hence like someone doing a U turn. In printed books, it has a V shape, possibly because that was easier for the early printers to make. In Eastern communities it is called shofar mehuppach, "reversed horn", because it faces the other way from shofar holech (munach)


Mercha: "Comma" from its shape, or "lengthener", because it prolongs the melody of the word that follows.


Mercha-kefulah: Kefulah means "double", because it looks like two merchas together. There are only five in the whole Torah: Gen. 27:25, Ex. 5:15, Lev. 10:1, Num. 14:3, Num. 32:42.


Munach: "Resting", because it may be followed by a short pause, or because the shape is a horn lying on its side. (In Eastern communities it is called shofar holech, horn going forward.) Munach legarmeh (munach on its own) is a disjunctive, used mainly before revia, but occasionally before a pazer. It may be distinguished from ordinary munach by the dividing line (pesiq) following the word.


Pashta: "Stretching out", because its shape is leaning forward (or in reference to a hand signal).


Pazer: "Lavish" or "scatter", because it has so many notes.


Revia: "A quarter", either because it has four short notes as well as the main one, or because it splits the half verse from the start to etnachta (or etnachta to the end) into quarters (as it ranks below zaqef, the main division within the half verse). The square or diamond shape of the symbol is coincidence: in most manuscripts, it is simply a point.


Segol: "Bunch of grapes" (from its shape, which looks like a bunch of grapes).


Shalshelet: "A chain." Either from its appearance or because it is a long chain of notes. There are only four in the whole Torah: Gen. 19:16, 24:12, 39:8; Lev. 8:23.


Sof Pasuq: "End of verse": it is the last note of every verse. It is sometimes called silluq (going away).


Telisha Qetannah/Gedolah: "Detached" because they are never linked to previous or following notes as one musical phrase; Qetannah = small (short); Gedolah = large (long).


Tevir: "Broken", because there is a big jump down in pitch between the first and second notes, or because it represents a break in reading.


Tifcha: "Diagonal", or "hand-breadth". In old manuscripts, it was written as a straight diagonal line. In printed books, it is curved, apparently to make it a mirror image of Mercha, with which it is usually paired. There may be an allusion to a hand signal.[3]


Yetiv: "Resting" or "sitting", because it may be followed by a short pause, or maybe because the shape is of a horn sitting up.


Zarqa: "Scatterer", because it is like a scattering of notes.


Zaqef Qaton/Gadol: "Upright" (from their shape, or in allusion to a hand signal); Qaton = small (short); Gadol = large (long).

  • Numbers 35:5 (in Parshat Mas'ei) has two notes found nowhere else in the Torah:

Qarne Farah: "Horns of a cow" (from its shape), sometimes called pazer gadol.


Yerach ben Yomo: "Moon one day old" (because it looks like a crescent moon), sometimes called galgal (circle).


History

Old Babylonian manuscripts contain no cantillation marks in the current sense, but small Hebrew letters are used to mark significant divisions within a verse. Up to eight different letters are found, depending on the importance of the break and where it occurs in the verse: these correspond roughly to the disjunctives of the Tiberian system. For example, in some manuscripts the letter tav, for tevir (break), does duty for both Tiberian tevir and zaqef. Nothing is known of the musical realization of these marks, but it seems likely that, if any of these signs was associated with a musical motif, the motif was applied not to the individual word but to the whole phrase ending with that break. (A somewhat similar system is used in manuscripts of the Qur'an, to guide the reader in fitting the chant to the verse, see Qur'an reading.) The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: ;, literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... Quran reading is the reading (tartil, tajwid, or taghbir) aloud, reciting, chanting, or singing of portions of the Quran. ...


This system is reflected in the cantillation practices of both Yemenite Jews and Karaites: both communities now use the Tiberian symbols, but tend to have musical motifs only for the disjunctives and render the conjunctives in a monotone. To a lesser extent the same is true in Sephardic communities, where the conjunctives are rendered as flourishes leading into the motif of the following disjunctive rather than as motifs in their own right. Yemenite Jews (Hebrew: תֵּימָנִים, Standard Temanim Tiberian ; singular תֵּימָנִי, Standard Temani Tiberian ) are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen (תֵּימָן, Standard Teman Tiberian ; far south), on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. ... Karaite Judaism or Karaism is a Jewish movement characterized by the sole reliance on the Tanakh as scripture, and the rejection of the Oral Law (the Mishnah and the Talmud) as halakha (Legally Binding, i. ...


By the time of the Tiberian Masoretes the system had become more complex, in that the realization of a phrase ending with a given type of break varied according to the number of words and syllables in the phrase. It was therefore necessary to invent conjunctive accents to show how to introduce and elaborate the main motif in longer phrases. (For example, tevir is preceded by mercha, a short flourish, in shorter phrases but by darga, a more elaborate run of notes, in longer phrases.) A treatise called Dikduke ha-teamim (precise rules of the accents) by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher survives, though both the names and the classification of the accents differ somewhat from those of the present day. The Masoretes (baalei masorah) were scribes based primarily in at least three places, Tiberias (the best known); Eretz Yisrael, or the land of Israel; and Babylonia. ... Aaron ben Moses ben Asher (in Hebrew אהרון בן משה בן אשר; in Tiberian Hebrew ʾAhărôn ben Mōšeh benʾĀšēr) (10th century, died circa 960) refined the Tiberian system for writing down vowel sounds in Hebrew, which is still in use today, and serves as the basis for grammatical analysis. ...


As the accents were (and are) not shown on a Torah scroll, it was found necessary to have a person making hand signals to the reader to show the tune, as in the Byzantine system of neumes. This system of cheironomy survives in some communities to the present day, notably in Italy. It is speculated that both the shapes and the names of some of the accents (e.g. tifcha, literally "hand-breadth") may refer to the hand signals rather than to the syntactical functions or melodies denoted by them. Today in most communities there is no system of hand signals and the reader learns the melody of each reading in advance. Neumes are an ancient musical notation used to write down Gregorian chant, a monophonic singing style used by the Catholic church throughout its history. ... Cheironomy is the use of hand signals to direct vocal music performance. ...


The Tiberian system spread quickly and was accepted in all communities by the 13th century. Each community re-interpreted its reading tradition so as to allocate one short musical motif to each symbol: this process went furthest among the Ashkenazi Jews. Learning the accents and their musical rendition is now an important part of the preparations for a bar mitzvah, as this is the first occasion on which a person reads from the Torah in public. (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... Languages Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, English Religions Judaism Related ethnic groups Sephardi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, and other Jewish ethnic divisions Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim (Standard Hebrew: sing. ... Celebration of Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. ... The Torah () is the most important document in Judaism, revered as the inspired word of God, traditionally said to have been revealed to Moses. ...


In the early period of the Reform movement there was a move to abandon the system of cantillation and give Scriptural readings in normal speech. In recent decades, however, traditional cantillation has been restored in many communities. Reform Judaism can refer to (1) the largest denomination of American Jews and its sibling movements in other countries, (2) a branch of Judaism in the United Kingdom, and (3) the historical predecessor of the American movement that originated in 19th-century Germany. ...


References

Bibliography

  • Dotan, Aaron (ed.), Sefer dikduke ha-teamim le-rabbi Aharon Ben-Moshe Ben-Asher: Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1963
  • Wickes, William, A Treatise on the Accentuation of the Twenty-One so-called Prose Books of the Old Testament: Oxford, 1887
  • Ginsburg, C. D., Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible: Trinitarian Bible Society, 1897
  • Kahle, Paul, Masoreten des Ostens: Die Altesten Punktierten Handschriften des Alten Testaments und der Targume: 1913, repr. 1966
  • Kahle, Paul, Masoreten des Westens: 1927, repr. 1967 and 2005
  • Idelsohn, A. Z., Phonographierte Gesänge und Aussprachsproben des Hebräischen der jemenitischen, persischen und syrischen Juden: Vienna 1917
  • Idelsohn, A. Z., Thesaurus of Oriental Hebrew Melodies, volume II: Songs of the Babylonian Jews: Jerusalem, Berlin and Vienna 1923
  • Idelsohn, A. Z., Jewish Music in its Historical Development: New York 1929, reprinted many times
  • Yeivin, Israel (trans. E J Revell), Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah: Scholars Press, 1980; ISBN 0-89130-373-1
  • Breuer, Mordechai, Ta'amei hammiqra be-21 sefarim uvesifrei emet: Jerusalem, 1981 (in Hebrew)
  • Jacobson, Joshua, Chanting the Hebrew Bible: the art of cantillation: 2002
  • Tunkel, Victor, The Music of the Hebrew Bible - The Western Ashkenazi Tradition: 2004; ISBN-10: 0953110486, ISBN-13: 978-0953110483

Christian David Ginsburg (1831-1914), Jewish scholar, was born in Warsaw on 25 December 1831. ... Paul E. Kahle (January 21, 1875, Hohenstein - September 24, 1964, Düsseldorf) was a German orientalist and scholar. ... Abraham Zevi Idelsohn (1882-1938) was a foremost Jewish ethnologist and musicologist, who conducted several comprehensive studies of Jewish music around the world. ... Mordechai Breuer Mordechai Breuer (1921-February 24, 2007) (Hebrew: ‎) was an Orthodox rabbi. ...

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Jewish cantillation
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Cantillation

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Jewish ritual of Torah reading (in Hebrew: קריאת התורה, Kriat HaTorah; Reading [of] the Torah) involves the public reading of a set of passages from a Torah scroll. ... The haftarah (haftara, haphtara, haphtarah, Hebrew הפטרה‎; plural haftarot, haftaros, haphtarot, haphtaros) is a text selected from the books of Neviim (The Prophets) that is read publicly in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah on each Sabbath, as well as on Jewish festivals and fast days. ... In the third major section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), which is called Ketuvim (The Writings), there are five relatively short biblical books that are grouped together and known collectively in the Jewish tradition as The Five Scrolls (Hebrew: Hamesh Megillot or Chamesh Megillos). ... When a Jewish child reaches the age of maturity (12 years and one day for girls, 13 years and one day for boys) that child becomes responsible for him/herself under Jewish law; at this point a boy is said to become Bar Mitzvah (בר מצו&#1493... A melody type is a term used by musicologists and ethnomusicologists to represent a set of melodic formulas, figures, and patterns which are used in the composition of an enormous variety of music, especially non-Western and early Western music. ...

External links

Wikimedia projects

Wikimedia Commons: Free content audio recordings of cantillation at the Wikimedia Commons are listed at category:Cantillation and/or category:Jewish cantillation. Free content is any kind of functional work, artwork, or other creative content upon which no legal restriction has been placed that significantly interferes with peoples freedom to use, understand, redistribute, improve, and share the content. ...


The recordings held at the Commons are organized by the Vayavinu Bamikra Project at Wikisource in the following languages:

  • Hebrew (currently lists over 300 recordings of aliyot, haftarot, and megillot)
  • English (just starting)
  • Now that Wikisource subdomains have been created, contributors may set up Vayavinu Bamikra in other Wikisource languages as well.

General links

Tanakh (‎) (also Tanach, IPA: or , or Tenak) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... The haftarah (haftara, haphtara, haphtarah, Hebrew הפטרה‎; plural haftarot, haftaros, haphtarot, haphtaros) is a text selected from the books of Neviim (The Prophets) that is read publicly in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah on each Sabbath, as well as on Jewish festivals and fast days. ... In the third major section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), which is called Ketuvim (The Writings), there are five relatively short biblical books that are grouped together and known collectively in the Jewish tradition as The Five Scrolls (Hebrew: Hamesh Megillot or Chamesh Megillos). ... Speech synthesis is the artificial production of human speech. ...

Endnotes

  1. ^ There are two types of exception. A group of words joined by hyphens is regarded as one word so they only have one accent between them. Conversely, a long word may have two, e.g. a disjunctive on the stressed syllable and the related conjunctive two syllables before in place of meteg.
  2. ^ As do Muslims: see Qur'an reading.
  3. ^ In Sephardic and Oriental communities it is called tarcha, meaning "dragging" or "effort". Hence the proverbial phrase "after tarcha, atnach", after effort comes rest: see the series of puns in the poem on pp. 99-100, Shir u-Shbahah Hallel ve-Zimrah.


Quran reading is the reading (tartil, tajwid, or taghbir) aloud, reciting, chanting, or singing of portions of the Quran. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Excite Deutschland - Science - Social Sciences - Linguistics - Languages - Natural - Afro-Asiatic - Hebrew - ... (713 words)
Cantillation signs are grouped into columns of connecting, separating, or pausing "accents", and notes that stand alone.
Helmut Richter's tables of Hebrew cantillation marks, structure and syntax, purpose; explains the different usage in the Bible for disjunctive and conjunctive marks; provides charts for the diacritcs, as well as for Michigan-Clarement and Unicode values (some of which include the diacritics).
Taamim (cantillation marks, trope), with dynamic large font text and audio recordings, for Torah reading in the Baghdadi and Spanish/Portuguese tradition; some special, some Yerushalmi (Jerusalem tradition) readings; some Maftir and Haftarot.
MyJewishLearning.com - Culture: Synagogue Music (1238 words)
The written notation for cantillation was developed by a group known as the Masoretes (from the Hebrew word Mesorah, meaning "tradition"), active as early as the sixth century, but who may have been recording much more ancient practices.
During the ensuing 1,500 years, each community's cantillation melodies diverged and took on the character and sound of music of surrounding peoples, but the Masoretic markings and guidelines for cantillation have remained the same.
In addition to regional variances, communities often vary their cantillation melodies depending on the type of reading and the day on which the reading is done.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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