Saturday, September 8, 2012

Psalm 1 - Letteris vs Mechon-Mamre

Reading and deciphering the music of the te'amim, as suggested by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura, is a pains-taking process. Compare these two texts - how would you find the differences?

First Mechon-Mamre Psalm 1 here. If you bring it up side by side with this post, you will see the differences more easily - but it is not easy. See this post for a colour-coded result.

Second, my corrected version, restoring the te'amim to those of the Letteris edition. There are a lot of differences.
1. אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי־הָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹ֥א הָלַךְ֮  בַּעֲצַ֪ת רְשָׁ֫עִ֥ים
וּבְדֶ֣רֶךְ חַ֭טָּאִים לֹ֥א עָמָ֑ד וּבְ֮מֹושַׁ֥ב לֵ֝צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב
2. כִּ֤י אִ֥ם בְּתוֹרַ֥ת יְהוָ֗ה חֶ֫פְצ֥וֹ
וּֽבְתוֹרָ֮ת֥וֹ יֶ֝הְגֶּ֗ה י֮וֹמָ֥ם וָלָֽיְלָה
3. וְֽהָיָ֗ה כְּעֵץ֮  שָׁת֪וּל עַל־פַּלְגֵ֫י מָ֥יִם
אֲשֶׁ֤ר פִּרְי֨וֹ ׀ יִתֵּ֬ן בְּעִתּ֗וֹ וְ֭עָלֵהוּ לֹ֥א־יִבּ֑וֹל
וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁר־יַֽעֲשֶׂ֣ה יַצְלִֽיחַ
4. לֹ֮א־כֵ֥ן הָֽרְשָׁעִ֑ים
כִּ֥י אִם־כַּ֝מֹּ֗ץ אֲֽשֶׁר־תִּדְּפֶ֥נּוּ רֽוּחַ
5. עַל־כֵּ֤ן ׀ לֹֽא־יָקֻ֣מוּ רְ֭שָׁעִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּ֑ט
וְ֝חַטָּאִ֗ים בַּֽעֲדַ֥ת צַדִּיקִֽים
6. כִּֽי־יוֹדֵ֣עַ יְ֭הוָה דֶּ֥רֶךְ צַדִּיקִ֑ים
וְדֶ֖רֶךְ רְשָׁעִ֣ים תֹּאבֵֽד
The differences would be audible in the music - both different reciting notes and differing ornaments - but I am not going to set both. Finding the differences is visually and typographically challenging - the unicode for the te'amim cannot be copied or transferred from one letter to another. I have some software that helps - it is an off-label application.

Here is the sung version - it is exquisite


Here is a draft transcription of the Hebrew

I am working on a version in English - My intent is to create a Psalter that could be sung in either Hebrew or English by those who do not know Hebrew.

I am wondering how to produce such a difficult volume - with so many tricky issues from transcription to correction to the reconstruction of an electronic version of the Letteris version of the te'amim.  So far, the project is stuck in the academic realm and the realm of highly polished professional performances - lovely indeed, but not achieving what a greater knowledge of the psalms could achieve ...

I am also looking for suggestions (apart from don't do it) and possible collaboration with composers and performers, particularly local ones in Vancouver and Victoria - but distant collaboration is not out of the question.

Please let me know if you see errors or omissions in this first detailed exercise.