[b-hebrew] music in Hebrew was Re: Long: *Some* Bib for Bryan

Rochelle Altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Fri Jan 13 13:59:49 EST 2006

Dear Karl,

>Dear Rochelle:
>I find your report about Hebrew music rather interesting.
>But I have a question: some of us believe that during
>Biblical times (from Moses in the 15th century BC if not
>before Moses, to the Babylonian Exile) that Hebrew
>syllables were pronounced CV, that there were no CVC
>syllables until after Hebrew was no longer spoken as a
>native (learned at one's mother's knee) language: how
>does that influence how the music fits with the words?

The evidence in Psalms from the Monarchial period indicates that loss or 
reduction of final weak vowels occurred (or was in process) in Hebrew back 
then. .

I'm not trying to start anything; I wasn't even thinking about this aspect. 
I guess with the musical evidence in front of me I forgot about questions 
as to when Hebrew started to lose final weak vowels.

>To test the idea, I read Psalm 96 pronouncing each
>syllable as CV, including final syllables, and as you say,
>it has a strong rhythmic component.

It has a very strong triple-time beat; but the 96th is very old and does 
tend to CV -- but there are close endings as well. The pre-monarchial 
psalms do tend towards more open endings.

(Willi Apel, in his Gregorian Chant comments that one gradual surprisingly 
has the 29th as the antiphone for the 96th. Well, the 29th has the same 
Psalm tone and Psalm formula as the 96th, so...)

>But the earliest examples of the music notation is found,
>as you mention, in the DSS, so could it have changed to
>reflect the changing pronunciation of the Hebrew

Not without leaving evidence of gaps left by missing syllables.in the 
musical structure of older songs.

>Yours, Karl W. Randolph.

All the best, Rochelle Altman

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