Tuesday, September 25, 2012


My work with the te'amim is barely 6 weeks old. I raised several questions as I began - continuity of tradition, reliability of transmission, rhythm, mode, etc. Now I am becoming more and more comfortable with the decisions that a performer or transcriber will make as the song is sung. What else would one expect from music.

But modes there are - and here are a few - not an exhaustive list. What is curious is that it appears that the F natural does not appear in the Psalms, Proverbs, or the speeches of Job. So that particular augmented second F-G# is not in these books. (Others may be G-A#, C-D# and there are other weird wired wanderings to our ears.)

So far in my transcription of the psalms.
  • 1 is chromatic Hypodorian
  • 2 is likewise - though I did insert a few G# ornaments - musica ficta sorta. 1 and 2 are a pair. Introducing Yhwh and his anointed.
  • 3 is that same mode as is 4. 3 and 4 are a pair likewise, introducing David.
  • but 5 is a confident Lydian - and that will be trouble, for there is correction to follow in 6. I hear SHV's rendition of 6 as a modified Lydian with minor 6th- but I have not yet transcribed it.