About Jewish music

By | April 6, 2021

Sacred music in the temple or synagogue

Music has been used in Jewish religious services since biblical times. Mishna, a study of religious life and practice, says that the original temple in Jerusalem had a choir of a dozen men and an equal number of instrumentalists performing during services. Today, most of the musical performances in the temple or synagogue come from the cantor, whose job it is to sing the prayers used during service. Some temples or synagogues have cows that also sing the prayers and the sacred songs that are written especially for religious performance. Shofar, a horn made of a frame horn, sounds on the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, in a specific musical pattern.

Holy music at home

Observant Jews also sing sacred music at Home. Zemirot are sacred songs sung by family members to mark special occasions, such as the beginning of the Sabbath or other special meals. There are many areas of zemirot: some are sung only by women, some only by men, some by children. Nigun are sacred songs sung by single vocal groups. Nigun songs are primarily a Hassidic exercise, and many of the Nigun songs are lyrics by the founder of Hassidic Judaism, Baal Shem Tov, which are intended for music.

Secular music in general

There are many types of Jewish secular music, ranging from klezmer, which is instrumental music, to Jewish hip hop and rap. Secular music is used at weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and at any time other non-sacred music would be used. Secular music is unlimited in its scope, everything from vocal pop music to classical art music. According to Jessica Kirzner, a 2008 conference on Israeli music covering ‘Israeli art music, hip hop, electric guitar, a revival of the’ Cochini ‘women’s songs from Indian Jews in Israel, the relationship between popular Israeli and Italian music, Palestinian-Israeli music and the policy of postmodernism in Israeli music. ‘Jewish artists are like composers everywhere — inspired by regional history or events and existing sacred and secular music.

Klezmer music originated with the Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe and was usually performed at weddings and other Shoah celebrations in the 1930s and 1940s. Drawing on local dance music, nigun songs, romany music, theater music and jazz, klezmer is characterized by its pleasing, wild swords, ‘bending’ or ‘bluing’ of notes a la American jazz, the use of rubato and the incorporation of glissandi between notes. Klezmer bands usually have a clarinet, accordion, violin, piano or other keyboards and percussion. According to a source on Klezmer music, ‘Klezmorim’, through innumerable tempo changes, acquired irregular rhythms, associated with Slavic, Greek, Ottoman (Turkish), Arabic, gypsy and later American jazz musicians. dissonance and a touch of improvisation, the ability to create a very diversified music. ‘

Israeli popular music

Israeli music, like Klezmer, draws on a huge pool of influences and sources. Israel’s folk music is traditionally patriotic, celebrating the establishment of the State of Israel and major events in its history. Lyrics are often taken from popular writers and poets, and the accompanying music is quite simple so that it can be easily played by school teachers on piano or guitar. Folk songs are also about traditions and the history of the Jews outside Israel as a way to spread knowledge about Jewish life elsewhere. Popular Israeli music is much like popular music around the world: subjects range from love to anxiety to school breakup. Hip-hop, rap and heavy metal are all widely accepted genres in Israeli popular music. Some artists mix the sacred and the secular, such as reggae artist Matisyahu, who says his influences include Phish and Bob Marley in addition to nigun. Jewish culture has a long history of music, both sacred and secular. Like many religions, Judaism contains music and sings in its rituals and practices. Secular Jewish society also uses music to celebrate and entertain.