Sunday, May 3, 2015

The cadences of Psalm 32

Ole veyored is not as 'important' as atnah. In the books Job and Psalms, ole veyored occurs in only 379 verses. Atnah occurs in 3,352 verses. They both occur in 330 records, so only in this limited subset (less than 10%) can their relative regulatory value as accents be tested.

In all cases the Ole cadence occurs first if both cadences are present. Job 3:4 on the poster in a prior post is a good example. You can see the first cadence in the middle of the fourth line of music and the second at the caesura on the fifth line. also interesting to note is that the ole veyored often occurs in the same poem several times (e.g. 5 times in Job 30, and 55% of the verses in Psalm 32). So here is Psalm 32 with the cadences marked. The brown ones are the ole-veyored ב֫ב֥ and the red ones are the atnah א֑. The music which we sang liturgically in early 2013 (in English) is here.

Notice how long verse 5 is, yet there is only one cadence. There is no attention to be drawn to the poet by pausing in the middle of the first 27 syllables but only to the result.

If you think about the content of the poem, the semantics of repentance and the cost of forgiveness, then the cadences make sense in all cases. I cannot hear any subservience of atnah to ole veyored. If anything, the cadence that is always first is secondary to the major rest point in the verse which is always the atnah.

לְדָוִ֗ד מַ֫שְׂכִּ֥יל
אַשְׁרֵ֥י נְֽשׂוּי־פֶּ֗שַׁע כְּס֣וּי חֲטָאָֽה
1Of David, an insight.
Happy transgression borne away, sin covered.
5
11
9
19
אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי אָדָ֗ם לֹ֤א יַחְשֹׁ֬ב יְהוָ֣ה ל֣וֹ עָוֺ֑ן
וְאֵ֖ין בְּרוּח֣וֹ רְמִיָּה
2Happy the human to whom Yahweh will not reckon iniquity,
and without deceit in his spirit.
12
8
22
13
כִּֽי־הֶ֭חֱרַשְׁתִּי בָּל֣וּ עֲצָמָ֑י
בְּ֝שַׁאֲגָתִ֗י כָּל־הַיּֽוֹם
3For I kept silent, my bones worn out
in my roaring all the day long.
9
8
15
12
כִּ֤י ׀ יוֹמָ֣ם וָלַיְלָה֮ תִּכְבַּ֥ד עָלַ֗י יָ֫דֶ֥ךָ
נֶהְפַּ֥ךְ לְשַׁדִּ֑י
בְּחַרְבֹ֖נֵי קַ֣יִץ סֶֽלָה
4For day and night your hand was heavy on me.
My moisture was changed,
into a summer desert. Selah.
13
5
7
21
8
12
חַטָּאתִ֨י אוֹדִ֪יעֲךָ֡ וַעֲוֺ֘נִ֤י לֹֽא־כִסִּ֗יתִי אָמַ֗רְתִּי אוֹדֶ֤ה עֲלֵ֣י פְ֭שָׁעַי לַיהוָ֑ה
וְאַתָּ֨ה נָ֘שָׂ֤אתָ עֲוֺ֖ן חַטָּאתִ֣י סֶֽלָה
5My sin I made known to you and my iniquity I did not cover. I said I will confess concerning me my transgressions to Yahweh,
and you, yourself lifted the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
27
13
44
19
עַל־זֹ֡את יִתְפַּלֵּ֬ל כָּל־חָסִ֨יד ׀ אֵלֶיךָ֮ לְעֵ֪ת מְ֫צֹ֥א
רַ֗ק לְ֭שֵׁטֶף מַ֣יִם רַבִּ֑ים
אֵ֝לָ֗יו לֹ֣א יַגִּֽיעוּ
6Over this every one under mercy will pray to you in a time to be found.
Certainly in the downpour of many waters,
they will not touch him.
15
7
6
26
13
11
אַתָּ֤ה ׀ סֵ֥תֶר לִי֮ מִצַּ֪ר תִּ֫צְּרֵ֥נִי
רָנֵּ֥י פַלֵּ֑ט
תְּס֖וֹבְבֵ֣נִי סֶֽלָה
7You are my hiding place. From trouble you preserve me.
With a shout of security,
you surround me. Selah.
10
4
6
16
6
10
אַשְׂכִּֽילְךָ֨ ׀ וְֽאוֹרְךָ֗ בְּדֶֽרֶךְ־ז֥וּ תֵלֵ֑ךְ
אִֽיעֲצָ֖ה עָלֶ֣יךָ עֵינִֽי
8I will give you insight and instruct you. In this way you will walk.
I will advise you with my eye.
12
8
20
13
אַל־תִּֽהְי֤וּ ׀ כְּס֥וּס כְּפֶרֶד֮ אֵ֤ין הָ֫בִ֥ין
בְּמֶֽתֶג־וָרֶ֣סֶן עֶדְי֣וֹ לִבְל֑וֹם
בַּ֝֗ל קְרֹ֣ב אֵלֶֽיךָ
9Do not be like a horse, like a mule without understanding.
With bit and bridle its trappings curbed,
or it will not come near to you.
11
10
6
21
17
9
רַבִּ֥ים מַכְאוֹבִ֗ים לָרָ֫שָׁ֥ע
וְהַבּוֹטֵ֥חַ בַּיהוָ֑ה
חֶ֝֗סֶד יְסוֹבְבֶֽנּוּ
10Many sorrows for the wicked one,
but the one trusting in Yahweh,
mercy surrounds.
8
7
6
15
11
10
שִׂמְח֬וּ בַֽיהוָ֣ה וְ֭גִילוּ צַדִּיקִ֑ים
וְ֝הַרְנִ֗ינוּ כָּל־יִשְׁרֵי־לֵֽב
11Be glad in Yahweh and rejoice righteous ones,
and shout for joy all upright of heart.
10
8
20
15

Psalms 31-32 are strongly related, sharing over 40% of their words. Psalm 31 has 48% of its verses with an ole-veyored, Psalm 32 has 55%. Does this indicate a preference on the part of the ancient author/redactor, or is it an accident of the editing of the Masoretes?  Perhaps it is a conceptual aspect of the poems. We don't have enough data quite yet to make a supportable conclusion.

It seems possible that there is internal evidence that might suggest the signs are as old as the text. (There is no external evidence known to me). As I have noted before, people assume that the accents just appeared with the Masoretes, that they invented them in the second half of the first millennium to indicate stress and that the signs happen to work as music too.



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