Saturday, October 3, 2015

Long recitations after the atnach

I found an easy way to query the music as a by product of the production process in XML about long recitations on any note. Eventually I will build in the data to my database.

There are a few long recitations on the subdominant after the atnach mid-verse cadence. E.g. Psalms 135:5 for I myself know Yahweh is great (rest) and our Lord more than all gods (recit on the subdominant then straight to the tonic.)
Looking at other books, Job 42:12 has a 12 beat recitation on A. 
And Yahweh blessed Job's end more than his beginning ^A
and it came to him fourteen thousand sheep -->C and six thousand camels --> e
and a thousand pair of oxen and a thousand she-donkeys.
Just look at its joyfulness.

It turns out this is quite a frequent situation. I have just noted 127 verses in Genesis that have a recitation longer than 5 beats on the subdominant.

So - with many thousand verses to consider, is there a pattern that reveals something? ?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Joel 4 (Hebrew) 3 (English)

O my beard and whiskers, what is the prophet doing in this chapter? He tells us to sanctify a war. (You won't find this in other translations. קַדְּשׁוּ מִלְחָמָה They can't believe it.) Then he says to the vanquished, beat your plowshares into swords. Is this sarcasm? Reminds me of Jesus instruction to the disciples to finally get a sword (Luke 22:36).

But I also think this is rhetoric and not a little sarcasm. Christians are strong on piety and weak on rhetoric. This is one of many places where the presented word has exactly its opposite meaning. It is an unexpected juxtaposition.

Jumping Jehoshaphat - that word has a meaning - coming to the valley of Yahweh-judging. What sort of judgment does Yahweh give? He gives judgment in favour of the weak and the homeless. God is prejudiced - a preferential option for the poor. Of this there is no doubt. Go and do likewise. [just look at that second long recitation on the subdominant in bar 15, verse 2.]

Now to this chapter - it will take some time... If you have time, do give me some pointers...

The Russian fascination with Jerusalem

To my orthodox friends and also to anyone interested in the history of Jerusalem and Palestine, this article by Greg Jenks is fascinating in its breadth.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Joel chapter 3 (Hebrew)

The short third chapter in Hebrew (the last five verses of chapter 2 in English editions) is a critical passage for understanding what gives in both Old and New Testament.

וְהָיָ֣ה אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֶשְׁפּ֤וֹךְ אֶת־רוּחִי֙ עַל־כָּל־בָּשָׂ֔ר וְנִבְּא֖וּ בְּנֵיכֶ֣ם וּבְנֽוֹתֵיכֶ֑ם
זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ חֲלֹמ֣וֹת יַחֲלֹמ֔וּן בַּח֣וּרֵיכֶ֔ם חֶזְיֹנ֖וֹת יִרְאֽוּ
And it will happen after such that I will pour out my spirit over all flesh and your sons and your daughters will prophesy.
Your elders will dream dreams. Your chosen will see visions.
וְגַ֥ם עַל־הָֽעֲבָדִ֖ים וְעַל־הַשְּׁפָח֑וֹת
בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔מָּה אֶשְׁפּ֖וֹךְ אֶת־רוּחִֽי
And even over servants and over handmaids
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
וְנָֽתַתִּי֙ מֽוֹפְתִ֔ים בַּשָּׁמַ֖יִם וּבָאָ֑רֶץ
דָּ֣ם וָאֵ֔שׁ וְתִֽימֲר֖וֹת עָשָֽׁן
And I will give miracles in the heavens and on the earth
blood and fire and spreading fronds of smoke.
הַשֶּׁ֙מֶשׁ֙ יֵהָפֵ֣ךְ לְחֹ֔שֶׁךְ וְהַיָּרֵ֖חַ לְדָ֑ם
לִפְנֵ֗י בּ֚וֹא י֣וֹם יְהוָ֔ה הַגָּד֖וֹל וְהַנּוֹרָֽא
The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and fearful day of Yahweh.
וְהָיָ֗ה כֹּ֧ל אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָ֛א בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהוָ֖ה יִמָּלֵ֑ט
כִּ֠י בְּהַר־צִיּ֨וֹן וּבִירוּשָׁלִַ֜ם תִּֽהְיֶ֣ה פְלֵיטָ֗ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁר֙ אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה וּבַ֨שְּׂרִידִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה קֹרֵֽא
And it will happen that all who call in the name of Yahweh will escape,
for on the hill of Zion and in Jerusalem will be security as Yahweh promised and on the survivors whom Yahweh calls.

We have been treated to a fearful sight in chapter 1 with locusts devouring the land. We have seen that the image of these is not a natural plague of insects, but a war of powers among nations and tribes, just as it is today. What are our locusts in the last 70 years since the end of the second world war?

How about - sexual abuse, petro-dollars, xenophopia, and terrorism. They fit the destruction of the land quite well whether the land is our corporate body, our individual bodies, or our earth and its eco-systems. Each of these locusts exposes our sin and its consequences - though we are often blind when it comes to seeing consequences. (I recall many years ago using this passage in a pastoral form for someone who had been convicted. I hope it remained helpful to him.)

Abuse shows that men particularly must have control over their desires, for most offenders are men. This problem is not peculiar to the West. It is pervasive in all cultures, Christian, Islamic, primitive, modern, Catholic, Protestant, and lest I leave anyone out, Southern, Northern, Eastern or Western. Sexual desire is a significant power. And don't just consider your favorite enemy in this context. Consider also the maturing of this falsification of love that is present in the pornography business and the enslavement of young women worldwide, some of which is even supported in the cultures that permit polygamy. What power is stronger than such desire that it might give each and all self-control? (Here I have my concerns about how to read some parts of the Bible like Job's confession, or Qohelet's chapter 7. I can forgive Job for his time but not the preacher who in this case is guilty of projection. I have similar concerns about Proverbs. In both Qohelet and Proverbs, one must allow for the man to figure out that the object of his desire is not the problem. This is an issue for all religious and moral people so called.)

Petro-dollars, and all other dollars where the dollar is worshiped, are not the economy. Economy comes from a word meaning household. It is good when all are contributing to the work of the family. The bottom line does not save us. Money too is a great power. Combined with the fear of the other tribe, the xenophobia we see in extreme political parties, the tribalism of current culture or ancient history, these powers produce war and refugees in plenty. Marshaled against them are the aid organizations and financial safety net policies of what used to be progressive countries like Canada. Yes, I am showing my stripes. I do not want to be ruled by unelected members of the PMO or any other boardroom or executive office of government or business, because I know that the desire for profit or a bigger top line or bottom line is not the problem in the boardroom. Revenue and profit are essential. It is price-gouging and exploitation that are not essential and they are the problem in business. And in government the response to that problem has to be regulation, not caving in to the various lobby groups. What power will control our tendency to greed and self-protection?

The two prior locusts give rise to fear and fear gives rise to terror. The spreading disarray today in the countries of northern Africa has a long history, barely kept in check by governments of strongmen put in place in the last 100 years by the vague interests of the Western powers. But just as the moral regimen of a religion will not work (as Egypt has demonstrated in the last year), so also the imposition of the free market or enforced financial equality will not work.

Nationalism (an extreme form of tribalism), economics, and morality will not save us from themselves by their own imposed control. A different spirit is required, a spirit that does not impose solutions. (What an idea! How does a power work that does not impose itself?)

So Joel moves to his result, with allusion as in other prophets to the key verse of Exodus 34:6 around which the Psalms are constructed:
And Yahweh, passed over before him[Moses], and he [Yahweh vs5] called, Yahweh, Yahweh, a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in mercy and truth.
(The music in the allusion in Joel 2 is different from the original verse which is low key. Both Jonah 4:2 and Joel 2:13 have a higher reciting note for their version.)

God is merciful. Koran and Tanach (Old Testament) agree here. You didn't want me to say that, perhaps. And children know what to take and what to leave from the right and wrong of it all. In this way we should become as children. Mercy likewise permeates the New Testament though you might not guess that from some of its followers. Why then are we not merciful? Is it that we haven't quite got it yet?

The New Testament cites Joel in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:17-18) at the time of Pentecost. A host of images collide or coalesce here depending on your viewpoint. The harmonious working of society is a desire of all cultures. How does the Spirit that has been poured out according to the New Testament, work when it comes to the temporal governance of our shared humanity?

We must have a focused leadership so I ask myself, How would I know when I see a good leader? I would suggest that I would know a good leader when I don't see only that person as spokesperson for the party. The good leader is more invisible than visible. In the wake of such a leader, I want to see a host of competent people who can speak well in public about government policy, the rationale behind it, and the effects it is intended to have. In Canada, both scientists and parliamentarians have been muzzled by the executive office. They have been given media lines if they are allowed to speak at all. I have seen credible opposition, but now the opposition 'leaders' are at each others throats as if ad hominem is an argument.

I write this here in my context to avoid myself using angry names for the leader whose policies I have come to distrust. I can easily fall into the error I despise. We must avoid becoming the monster than we criticize.

The leadership model in the Psalms is one of the servant. The monarchy does not work (see Psalm 89 and all the other laments). The servant pours out his life for the life of the people. The image of libation is used for the anointed king of Psalm 2. The cost of leadership is evident from Psalm 69. And the central Psalm 75 gives us the image of drinking a cup to the dregs. In Psalm 75, the wicked drink. In Psalm 116, it is the servant who bears the cup. It is true that this also is the message of the New Testament, but one doesn't have to be Christian to recognize the cost of governing humans. Anyone who raises a family will know.

What will the final chapter of Joel tell us - anything about these things? If it promises healing and reconciliation, abundance, how will we manage? Just wait for it: harlotry, mammon, exploitation, the shedding of innocent blood. It is all there. And if a locust is not a locust, we will have to ask, what then is Zion, Judah, and Jerusalem, and the holiness to which all are called?

Biblical Studies Carnival for September 2015

The carnival for September 2015 is posted here. It has been collected by William Brown at The Biblical Review.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Joel chapter 2

The Hebrew of Job 2 is only 27 verses where the English is 32. The remaining 5 verses are in chapter 3 of the Hebrew. Chapter 3 English is chapter 4 Hebrew. I wonder if the music reflects a rationale for this division.  So let's look in detail at each phrase.

Probably its best if you want to read what follows, to open the document below in full screen and have the text on a separate page where your eyes can flit back and forth. You could also sing it to yourself too.

so Verse 1: It's a long first phrase, subdued recitation on the tonic e with ornaments that remain close to the reciting note - e qad,ger-rev,qad,qad,
then we move to a B reciting note with z-q,z-g, (abbreviated from zaqef qatan, zaqef gadol. All the ornaments are abbreviated. See here and here.)
then quickly to the cadence via g# B ^A
the second phrase of the verse sounds like a verse all by itself without a rest, beginning and ending on the tonic. e f g# f e
It is a very low key intro to the day of Yahweh.

Then verse 2 - this will take a long time - (a whole book to describe) so pardon me if we skip to the high points. Day of darkness is magnified suddenly by the jump of a major seventh.

This beginning of a verse with the jump of a major seventh occurs only 14 times in the Bible's 23000+ verses. If you are a traditionalist, the sequence darga-munah occurs 14 times at the beginning of a verse. The sequence occurs 256 times in total.

The cadence in this verse is in the middle of a thought (IMO). The abundant people is similarly highlighted by high notes - fierce perhaps. (Note the English is NOT mapped to a word underlay in this copy but is just there as a tease. See if you could create an English lyric.)

Got to verse 3. Note the rest note has a long recitation on it about Eden - I have not noted this sort of recitation elsewhere and I cannot think how to search for similar passages. One would have to have a syllable count on each note. Possible - but needs an intermediate table for such searching.

Verses 4 and 15 are a relatively common pattern occurring 65 times - quite symmetrical e f g# ^A g# f e.

You can see the other common patterns below. Of the 27 verses 19 are unique in their sequence of accents.

The maximum recitation length is 29 syllables in this chapter - that is a long recitation. (Look for it - on verse 20 the ultimate defeat and isolation of the scary enemy).

If you persist in the analysis of each verse, you will find it eminently singable and purposeful in its music. Sometimes the high notes are fierce, sometimes tender. Sometimes the rest is particularly poignant. Sometimes an ornament highlights a particularly important motif in the text.

Can we answer the division into chapters? Probably it is the significant change in subject. You can see the music for the 5 verse chapter 3 in the usual places.

The sequences of notes and ornaments in Joel 2 - the music is clearer!
Verse Sequence of notes and ornaments Freq
in Bible
1 e qad,ger-rev,qad,qad,B z-q,z-g,g# B ^A e f g# f e  1
2 c B rev,C qad,z-q,g# B e ^A C B z-q,rev,C e qad,B z-q,e qad,B z-q,g# f e  1
3 e qad,B z-q,g# B e ^A qad,ger-rev,e qad,B z-q,g# f e  1
4 e f g# ^A g# f e  65
5 e B rev,C e qad,z-q,qad,B z-q,g# ^A B z-q,g# e  2
6 e g# B ^A g# f e  40
7 e B z-q,f g# B ^A C qad,e z-q,f g# e  1
8 e C qad,B z-q,f g# e ^A f d g# f e  1
9 e B rev,e qad,z-q,g# ^A c d g# e  1
10 e qad,B z-q,g# ^A C qad,qad,z-q,g# f e  2
11 e rev,C qad,B z-q,B C qad,z-q,f g# B ^A  c d f g# f e  1
12 e qad,z-q,f g# ^A f g# e  6
13 e C qad,z-q,g# B e ^A e C qad,z-q,C qad,qad,z-q,g# e  1
14 f g# B ^A C e qad,z-q,B z-q,g# e  1
15 e f g# ^A g# f e  65
16 e tar,C qad,B z-q,qad,e z-q,g# ^A C qad,e z-q,g# e  1
17 C qad,z-q,qad,B z-q,g# ^A e tar,c B rev,qad,C qad,B z-q,C B e z-q,g# e  1
18 e f g# ^A g# e  54
19 e qad,ger,B rev,qad,C qad,qad,B z-q,g# ^A qad,f d g# e  1
20 e tar,B rev,zar,B B seg,rev,qad,z-q,g# B e ^A B rev,qad,qad,z-q,f g# e  1
21 e e g# ^A B z-q,e f g# e  1
22 e e qad,B z-q,f g# B ^A e qad,B z-q,f g# f e  1
23 e B rev,C qad,B e z-q,e f d g# ^A B rev,d f g# e  1
24 e f g# ^A f g# f e  41
25 e C qad,z-q,qad,B e z-q,g# B ^A qad,z-q,f g# e  1
26 e C qad,z-q,rev,C qad,B z-q,f g# ^A f g# e  1
27 e rev,B C qad,z-q,d f g# B ^A f g# e  1

Monday, September 28, 2015

Musical phrases in Joel

For what its worth, it is feasible to list all the unique and not unique musical phrases in Joel.
Sequence of accents Frequency in the Bible Frequency in Joel
e f g# ^A A g# f e  65 3
e f g# ^A A g# e  54 1
e f g# ^A A f g# f e  41 1
e g# B ^A A g# f e  40 2
e qad,B z-q,g# e  25 1
e d f g# B ^A A f g# f e  9 1
e qad,z-q,f g# ^A A f g# e  6 1
e C qad,B z-q,g# B ^A A f g# f e  3 1
e C qad,z-q,g# ^A A C qad,z-q,g# e  3 1
e g# ^A A C qad,B z-q,g# f e  3 1
e B rev,C e qad,z-q,qad,B z-q,g# ^A A B z-q,g# e  2 1
e B z-q,g# e ^A A C qad,B z-q,g# e  2 1
e C qad,z-q,g# B ^A A z-g,f g# e  2 1
e f d g# B ^A A e qad,B z-q,g# e  2 1
e g# B ^A A qad,z-q,g# f e  2 1
e qad,B z-q,g# ^A A C qad,qad,z-q,g# f e  2 1
B c e d g# ^A A z-g,e f g# e  1 1
C qad,B e z-q,f g# B ^A A B z-q,g# e  1 1
C qad,e z-q,e g# ^A A e z-q,g# f e  1 1
C qad,z-q,qad,B z-q,g# ^A A e tar,c B rev,qad,C qad,B z-q,C B e z-q,g# e  1 1
c B rev,C qad,z-q,g# B e ^A A C B z-q,rev,C e qad,B z-q,e qad,B z-q,g# f e  1 1
e B e rev,C qad,z-q,g# B e ^A A qad,B z-q,B z-q,g# e  1 1
e B rev,C B z-q,qad,qad,e z-q,g# ^A A f g# e  1 1
e B rev,C qad,B e z-q,e f d g# ^A A B rev,d f g# e  1 1
e B rev,e qad,z-q,g# ^A A c d g# e  1 1
e B rev,qad,qad,B z-q,d f g# ^A A f g# e  1 1
e B rev,qad,qad,e z-q,g# ^A A f g# f e  1 1
e B z-q,f g# B ^A A C qad,e z-q,f g# e  1 1
e B z-q,f g# ^A A C e qad,e B z-q,qad,qad,z-q,f g# e  1 1
e B z-q,g# ^A A C B z-q,f g# f e  1 1
e B z-q,g# ^A A tar,B rev,C qad,z-q,e f g# f e  1 1
e B z-q,qad,z-q,f g# ^A A f g# e  1 1
e C qad,B z-q,f g# e ^A A f d g# f e  1 1
e C qad,z-q,g# B e ^A A e C qad,z-q,C qad,qad,z-q,g# e  1 1
e C qad,z-q,qad,B e z-q,g# B ^A A qad,z-q,f g# e  1 1
e C qad,z-q,rev,C qad,B z-q,f g# ^A A f g# e  1 1
e e g# ^A A B z-q,e f g# e  1 1
e e qad,B z-q,f g# B ^A A e qad,B z-q,f g# f e  1 1
e e qad,e z-q,g# ^A A B z-q,e g# e  1 1
e f e g# ^A A B z-q,g# e  1 1
e f g# B ^A A C e qad,B z-q,z-g,g# f e  1 1
e f g# ^A A B rev,e qad,B z-q,B z-q,g# f e  1 1
e f g# ^A A e qad,z-q,g# e  1 1
e g# B ^A A C qad,qad,z-q,d f g# e  1 1
e g# B e ^A A e g# f e  1 1
e qad,B z-q,B rev,C B z-q,g# B ^A A g# e  1 1
e qad,B z-q,g# B ^A A qad,B z-q,e f g# e  1 1
e qad,B z-q,g# B e ^A A qad,ger-rev,e qad,B z-q,g# f e  1 1
e qad,ger,B rev,qad,C qad,qad,B z-q,g# ^A A qad,f d g# e  1 1
e qad,ger-rev,qad,qad,B z-q,C B z-q,g# ^A A f d f g# f e  1 1
e qad,ger-rev,qad,qad,B z-q,z-g,g# B ^A A e f g# f e  1 1
e qad,qad,B e z-q,z-g,f g# e ^A A e qad,B z-q,f g# e  1 1
e qad,qad,B z-q,g# ^A A rev,C B z-q,g# e  1 1
e qad,qad,B z-q,g# e ^A A B rev,d f g# e  1 1
e qad,z-q,B z-q,g# e ^A A qad,ger-rev,qad,C qad,B B z-q,g# e  1 1
e qad,z-q,e z-q,g# B ^A A C qad,e z-q,g# f e e  1 1
e qad,z-q,g# ^A A qad,qad,z-q,B e z-q,g# f e  1 1
e qar,qad,ger,c B rev,qad,B z-q,f g# B ^A A rev,C qad,z-q,g# f e  1 1
e rev,B C qad,B z-q,g# B ^A A C qad,qad,z-q,f e g# e  1 1
e rev,B C qad,z-q,d f g# B ^A A f g# e  1 1
e rev,C qad,B z-q,B C qad,z-q,f g# B ^A A e c d f g# f e  1 1
e rev,c d f g# ^A A tal,qad,ger,e B rev,e qad,B z-q,qad,z-q,f g# e  1 1
e tar,B e rev,qad,B z-q,f g# B ^A A f g# e  1 1
e tar,B rev,qad,qad,B z-q,g# B ^A A e qad,e B z-q,g# f e  1 1
e tar,B rev,zar,B B seg,rev,qad,z-q,g# B e ^A A B rev,qad,qad,z-q,f g# e  1 1
e tar,C qad,B z-q,qad,e z-q,g# ^A A C qad,e z-q,g# e  1 1
e z-g,f e g# f e  1 1
f g# B ^A A C e qad,z-q,B z-q,g# e  1 1
rev,d f g# B ^A A f d f g# e  1 1
tal,f qad,B z-q,g# B ^A A rev,qad,B z-q,C qad,z-q,B z-q,f g# e  1 1