Sunday, May 25, 2014

The 10 words and their music

I have put a full PDF of Exodus 20 in the usual shared place here where there are accumulating hundreds of snippets of the music of the Old Testament. This one is unique (so far) in my hearing of the music embedded in the hand-signals. The current version of my program allows interpretation of the complex texts of both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 and as far as I know will still be OK for the other cases.

I changed the formatting of the XML to make it easier to read - so it is hard to do a simple regression test. I removed the breath-mark from the XML and replaced it with a rest. And I fixed some limitations and errors in counting things.

So this chapter has vocal range from C4 -E5, 26 verses, 183 measures (change in reciting note over one or more syllables), 312 words and 737 syllables. The longest recitation is 29 beats (greater than my maximum bar length of 24). (Someone please do a manual count and tell me if I am wrong!)

Exodus has some interesting points in both music and translation. There may even be some irony in the accented musical figures created by doubling a sub-linear sign on a change in the reciting note. In the short commandments, they provide emphasis on the first and last syllables. Plenty to ponder in the music and still some testing and analysis for me to do to make sure I am covering all the possibilities.

I did not know that 'the land the LORD your God has given you' is really the ground or the soil (adamah), not the land as in a political entity nor the earth as in the great globe itself (eretz).  This matches the altar of 'soil' that they must build for sacrifice. What conclusion might be suggested here? (I think I knew this by metaphor and experience. I am glad to find it in the text.)

I note also conflicts about building steps and the use of cut stone. These requirements must have been dropped to build the temple with its steps. So many questions.

I did some strange translation - I called these the 10 declarations - so I could match word usage through the passage. I note also that the word generation is not in verse 5. The word used in Psalm 19, innocent, is also used here (will not hold innocent the one who takes his name in vain). There appears to be no word for innocent in English that lacks a negative affix.

For the work on the Sabbath, I used public business. It is from the word for angel! melakah. So it is sort of like the domain of power that we exercise within the 6 day week. I struggled for a word for the traditional neighbour. I used friend, since I tend to use neighbour for a word related to 'living near'. For thunders and lightnings I did something different, callings and firebrands. And note that word declare again in verses 18 and 19.

The last verses have sexual implications. I did not expect them. Perhaps they link to the declaration of verse 14. For make overture see also Psalm 91. Moses makes overture into the dark turbulence. The issue of polluted cut stone I have already mentioned. The connection of steps to uncovering nakedness is unexpected.

Deuteronomy 5 raised a lot of questions and demanded more programming. There were also several errors - missing verse markers, etc, in the input data. I will have it done sooner than later.

Thoughts?