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

Rochelle Altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Thu Jan 26 10:34:53 EST 2006

At 08:23 PM 1/25/2006, Karl Randolph wrote:
>While I find your theory about music interesting, I cannot
>help but wonder if it accounts for all of musical expression.
>What about short and long notes?

Ancient music has a very strong tendency towards one syllable-one note of 
equal lengths. Short notes did not exist; long notes, that is, repeated 
(held) notes, are common at the end of a cola and on important words.

>What about short pick up notes before the main notes?

All the psalms have a "titulus" -- a header. The header gives the Psalm 
tone. Sometimes, the header also gives the range of the psalm formula. "Miz 
mor.le da vid" is a five-note psalm tone and formula range; it's the pick 
up notes. The notes are all of equal value.

>What about drawn out notes for emphasis?

Though the term "held" is anachronistic -- it was a repetition of a phoneme 
on separate notes of equal value.-- "held" notes for emphasis are common. 
That's what the "big" and little" letters are all about. An extra-wide 
final mem, for instance, indicates a note repeated for the length of the 
extension. So, yes, notes for emphasis are clearly marked. We can see such 
"extended" repeated notes in the non-cannonical psalms from among the DSS.

>Is there any way to recognize syncopation should there be any?

Yes. The "clumping and spacing," that is words written together or apart or 
with somewhat wider spacing between letters indicates the rhythm. Any 
syncopation will be recorded in the writing.

>How about dotted notes followed by short notes?

They had neither dotted nor short notes back then. What they had was equal 
notes and repeated (held) notes. <1>

>You mentioned that there are ways to recognize when
>syllables are added to music, what ways are there to
>recognize when syllables are removed from music?

We see a series of phonemes repeated over a series of notes to cover the 
space left by removal of syllables. The key word is 'series'; single 
occurrences do not indicate anything but emphasis. Such evidence is lacking 
in the Davidic Psalms. The pre-monarchial psalms though... maybe. For 
instance, in the 96th, it is possible that a vowel was lost from "shir" -- 
making it "shira" -- however, that would require "hadasha"... and there is 
no sign of a loss of vowel from "hadash," Still, it's possible.

>Just curious.
>Karl W. Randolph.

Hope this helps,

Rochelle Altman

<1> Not relevant to B-Hebrew, but worth noting. One of the major fights 
about the reconstruction of Gregorian chants is the way the Solesmes school 
turns repeated notes into long held notes.

> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Rochelle Altman" <willaa at netvision.net.il>
> >
> > ...
> >
> > I said I would answer when I returned, so...
> >
> > I can only answer for texts that were translated into English from Hebrew:
> > BN MS.Lat. 8824 and from the binding of Isaac through the book of Joshua in
> > BM Cotton Claudius B.4.
> >
> > It is relevant that the English transliteration of ADNI, "ADONAI," dates
> > back to at least the 9th-10th centuries CE. Using xenographic exchange,
> > ADONAI shows up in the English text in BM Cotton Claudius B.4 where YHVH or
> > ADNI is written in Hebrew texts using xenographic exchange.. We have
> > examples of this use among the DSS, for example, in 11QPS where YHVH is
> > written in Paleo-Hebraic. (BN 8824 was from a consonantal vorlage;
> > apparently, so was Cotton Claudius B.4.)
> >
> > MT pointing or no, the alef clearly was enunciated.
> >
> > Now, Psalms 22:31, 130:6; 136:3 (not 6) all include "l-"; Psalm 73:28 has
> > "b-"...
> >
> > The OE word for "Lord" is "driht-";  The OE for "EL" is "God."
> >
> > In every occurrence of YHVH or ADNI the OE uses "drihten  plus a filler,
> > e.g. PS 96(95) "nu drhten"; Ps. 23 "drihten me" or the masculine genitive,
> > -es -- "drihtenes" (of [the] Lord) depending upon context. All of these
> > uses are three syllables and match metrically to the Hebrew..
> >
> >    In the specific cases of "my Lord" or "our Lord" "adoni" we find drihten
> > minne (my lord) or "drihten ure" "our Lord" as in Ps: 22:31 -- four
> > syllables match four syllables.
> >
> > Now, in the cases of "l-" and "b-", the MT allots the vowel to the particle
> > instead of the consonant. Why? Because it is the same vowel phoneme. In
> > fact, this allotment does not mean that the vowel attached to the aleph was
> > not enunciated; it was. Look at the pronunciation: la do nai. It was merely
> > subsumed into one phoneme.
> >
> > Rhythmically, ADNI remained three syllables.
> >
> > What I find interesting is that two examples of apocopated forms, final
> > vowels lost, "l-" and "b-" are being used here to illustrate how Hebrew
> > remained CV and never lost or reduced weak final vowels until the
> > post-exilic period.
> >
> > I said I had no intention of getting into this aspect; because the evidence
> > denies that Hebrew, unlike darn near every other Semitic or IE language,
> > never lost weak finals. The mechanisms of vowel loss are diverse. Note that
> > when ADNI or YHVH stands alone, apparent aphaeresis does not occur.
> >
> > Syncope is the most common cause of apocopation in Semitic languages --
> > with the *second* vowel lost or reduced. Another very common mechanism is
> > apocopation by proximity, that is, loss of a vowel phoneme because two
> > vowels are perceptually the same. The apparent lack of vowel pointing for
> > the alef is apocopation by proximity -- and the wrong consonant was
> > assigned the vowel. In apocopation by proximity, it is the *first* vowel
> > that is lost; not the second.
> >
> > Well, Kimchi said that the Masoretes were no grammarians; it's pretty clear
> > that they had tin ears, too.
> >
> > --
> > Rochelle Altman
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