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Music of the Ancient Temple speculations.

Whatever the origins of Church chant, lost in the years, the fact remains
that Jews have had chant and used chant for spiritual purposes for years,
and most likely for years before the Church ever existed. Additionally,
just as there are various Jewish chanting traditions, there are differing
Church traditions, at it is likely that Byzantine traditions or Coptic
traditions predate Gregorian (which if I remember correctly, were
influenced heavily by the Greeks and their structure of music---correct me
on this, it's been over 25 years since I read this material....I'll have to
go and look it up when I get the chance....and if you have a recommendation
for that, it's appreciated.)

To go on... I might point out that printed music of any kind is rather
late, originally hand signs were used. (There was also speculation that
certain inserted words, say,or other texts were actually musical memory
aids)   Knowing chant was an oral tradition, long before it was written
down.... so while we don't have actual *proof* from manuscripts about how
old that traditions are and *exactly* what Jewish chant sounded like, we
have a fairly good idea of it --*at least conceptually*-- from the oral

This thread started upon the reading a review that insisted Jews did not/do
not have chant for spiritual purposes... which is patently untrue. It also
claimed that the evidence for this was that the Christians built huge
cathedrals that effectuated the "reverb" (if you will) to that sound and
Jews did not. Again, a gross misintepretation of history among other things.

I agree, and stated in my original message that Werner's idea on certain
points are in dispute... but not all his points. I also agree that Avenary
is a MUST read for anyone interested in this material. However, I also know
that I'm not an expert --by a very wide stretch-- of Gregorian chant

The Talmud is replete with descriptions of Jewish music in the ancient
Temple. While we don't and never will have the notation to recreate those
exact sounds, we have descriptions of their effects and uses. (And even in
Talmudic times they couldn't recreate certain things--such as, if I recall,
the method of constructing/technology for a certain cymbal was already lost
and they discussed how it had been kept  for a long while with many trying
to repair it for a long while but couldn't build another one) Not only were
there instrumental traditions but there were definitely choral singing in
unison and solo chant in the worship services of the ancient Temple.
Whether the early Christians determined to imitate and preserve this or
(similar imitation tradition) through song, so many years later, will
always be speculation. However, it is clear that conceptually they thought
of chant as an appropriate vehicle for expression of sacred song and that
it is just as likely those ideas along with Jewish sacred texts came down
through the Jewish influence as from Roman or any other musical influences...

My question has not been on chant, but I always wondered why the ancients
didn't create *harmonies* in the ancient temple with all those instruments
and voices at their disposal!-- Supposedly the Christians in Europe were
the first to do that too.--  So many scholars say they didn't use *any*
harmony... but I've always questioned that. Can that really be true that
the ancient Jews *always* used only one melodic line and never harmonized?
What do you think? With differing voices and instruments and tuning? Even
using a dozen harps, were they all tuned exactly the same in reality?

But I would love to learn more from you and others. Again, it has been a
while since I've delved into this ..... But that's all for today.

At 07:04 AM 3/21/00 -0500, you wrote:
>I'd be willing to guess by the way it sounds that these notes are pretty
>consistent with my previous comments.  Note first Dobsay's note that the
>books themselves were *read,* which he then contrasts with *chanting* of
>non-biblical passages (with or without text; he is not clear here) inserted
>as "music" into the ritual.  Dobsay then says how portions of the scripture
>were set to chant (he doesn't exactly say that, but his use of
>"responsories" deserves the benefit of the doubt) and then interspersed
>through an earlier service.  Chances are, this probably not include the
>whole text.  You'll also note that his last line discusses the "musical
>cycles *to* every book of the Bible," rather than "musical cycles *of* every
>book of the Bible."  From my reading, there's no implication here that the
>entirely of each book of the Bible was set to chant, and less that it was
>compiled into a codex of itself.  Rather, the *ritual surrounding the
>reading* was set.  This was certainly common practice back then (many, many
>Gregorian chant codices are arranged according to the liturgical calendar),
>and remains a practice in several Christian denominations (though the music
>may now be exclusively Gregorian chant today).
>Again, I may be taking things out of context; plase let me know what you
>think of this interpretation.
>Be well.
>>From: "robert wiener" <wiener (at) mindspring(dot)com>
>>To: World music from a Jewish slant <jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org>
>>Subject: Re: "Songs to the Invisible God" review...
>>Date: Tue, Mar 21, 2000, 12:31 AM
>> Judah,
>> I wonder how your comments on Gregorian chant and books of the Bible
>> relates to the following excerpt from notes by Laszlo Dobsay to the
>> Schola Hungarica recordings subtitled " : Repons Gregoriens sur les
>> Textes de La Genese/de La Bible"?
>> "In the Christian liturgy the books of Genesis and Exodus were read in
>> the offices during the months of February and March.  From time to
>> time the recitation was interrupted by chanting in order to lend the
>> sustenance of music to the meditation.  In the "responsories" for
>> Matins the libretto was drawn from the book of the scriptures that had
>> just been read; in this way comprehensive musical cycles to every book
>> in the Bible came into existence..."
>> Bob

Judith S. Pinnolis
Reference Librarian,
Coordinator for Publications and Training
Brandeis University Libraries
P.O Box 9110  MS045
415 South Street                                
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
fax: 781-736-4719
email: pinnolis (at) brandeis(dot)edu

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