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

Rochelle Altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Sat Jan 14 02:46:27 EST 2006

In response to Karl CV test:

>>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.

I wrote:

>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.

I think a small example will be more to the point.

If we are adding a final vowel (CV), then we must add a vowel after each 
consonant. We are using ADONAI because that's the only pronunciation we 
have. We have the psalm formula for the 96th; we also have the bilingual to 
check one against the other.  Note that the addition of final vowels 
changes the meter.

shiru l'Adonai   shir hadash
shiru l'Adonai   kol ha-aretz.

Final vowels added to all C:
shiru le Adonai shira hadasha
shiru le Adonai kola ha-artza

Line 1:
Both words in the first half cola are open endings. Two notes are added on 
"nai" of "adonai"
In the second half cola, it is possible that "shira hadasha" was the 
original... however, see below.

Line 2:
In the first half cola, one note is added at "nai"
In the second half cola, one note is added at "etz"
It is conceivable that the added final vowels were in the original of this 
line, but not very likely.

Remember, Psalms 29 and 96 are sung to the same Psalm formula -- and 29 has 
a crux at the end of the second half of the first cola..

Ps: 29:

Havu l'Adonai  b'nei e[i]lim
Havu l'Adonai  kevod v'oz

Ps 96
shiru l'Adonai   shir hadash
shiru l'Adonai   kol ha-aretz.

Again, two held notes on "nai." in line 1, one held note on "nai" in line 2.
There is a two syllable word in the 29th at b'nei that is one syllable in 
the 96th.
The second line matches the number of syllables in both. There were no 
additional vowels
in the second half cola of line 2 of the 96th.

Please note that the great majority of the Psalms were sung in triple time, 
that is, 3 times x/8 and NOT 4/4.

On the amusing side, we might note that Ps 19 has a shift in beat from 
triple time to a 5/4 Calypso beat and back again ... the 19th is, to be 
sure, one of the Davidic psalms. Nobody added or subtracted vowels from the 

Song reflects the natural parsing rhythms of a language. Triple time is the 
natural parsing rhythm of Classical Hebrew.

Hope this helps clarify some of the issues,


<1> The OE translator emulated the changes in rhythm in his translation of 
the 19th.

>>Yours, Karl W. Randolph.

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