[b-hebrew] TRe: poetic accents and poetic metre

Yonah Mishael yonahmishael at gmail.com
Wed Sep 13 14:15:08 EDT 2006

"Chant" does *NOT* mean "follow the Gregorian vocal patterns." It simply
means "set to music, sing." Whether that music happens to be the Gregorian
style or the style represented in the ta`amei ha-miqra', it is still
chanting. We *chant* the Torah, and we *chant* the psalms according to the
written notations of the Massoretes. This is *singing.* I do not know why
people have a bad taste in their mouths and want to argue against the
terminology of "chanting" in relation to the Hebrew Bible, but that is
precisely what we do. Such people would do well to look in a dictionary at
the derivation of the word "chant," the rejection of which reminds me of
people's longing to turn the word "religion" into a byword.

"I'm not religious! Religion is just a system of works. I have faith, not
religion." This type of argumentation just annoys me, and it's what I am
seeing in this rejection of "chant." Personally, I like the word
"religious," and I think it's quite descriptive. I term myself religious,
and I take no offense at it because I understand that I am a participant in
a system of beliefs that seeks to understand and relate to that which is
beyond our physical world, i.e., God and other metaphysical realities.

Can we just admit that "chant" has a wider semantic range than just
Gregorian style? It doesn't have to be a medieval system of chanting that
defines the term. We can readily use "chant" to represent a GOOD thing in
the world of religious music and have nothing to do with Gregorian chant.

I'm just rambling, I'm sure. It's really just an emotional thing rather than
a logical thing on either side of this. I just do not understand the
disconnect that happens when people use these words. Apparently, someone
along the way has convinced you that "chant" is a term that is somehow
offensive toward the Tanakh or maybe inadequate for a description of what
goes on in biblical music. I just don't understand the negativity that I see
being expressed toward chanting in general or toward chanting as associated
with the biblical text in specific.


On 9/13/06, rochelle altman <willaa at netvision.net.il> wrote:
> Vincent,
> I just finished reading your draft; you have an error in  a basic premise.
> The Psalms are meant to be sung -- not chanted. Just ask the early Church
> fathers.

Yonah Mishael ben Avraham
Joplin, MO
yonahmishael at gmail.com

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