Saturday, October 31, 2015

Distinguishing the Name and the perpetual qere

I am encouraged that some people are seriously looking at the 6000+ pages of music I have made public (see the page link at the top of the page).

There is a long (for me) series of comments on this post from July that are interesting to me because they outline how we gradually learn what is implicit in a text and what is not.

To begin with, I cannot fix the perpetual substitution of Adonai or Elohim for the tetragrammeton, YHWH, the personal name of the God of Israel. I can guess, and that is what I do when I translate YHWH as Yahweh, as the Jerusalem Bible did in the 1960's.

This gloss has a nice characteristic as a sung gloss. It consists of vowels only. Pronounce it as ee-a-oo-ei. It fits over any number of notes and could be in Italian pure vowels (though don't ask me why I picked Italian just now) up to 4 syllables.

Syllable counting here yields some benefit. If the accents and traditional transcriptions tell us about syllables in Hebrew, then the notes we have learned using the deciphering key of Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura tell us how many syllables Yahweh has - and that is exactly two. And we know that Ad-o-nai has three.

So there is an immediate insight as to how to distinguish Adonai from Hashem without my transcription having to tell the difference. So in my texts the two notes with ado and nai under them are always the tetragrammeton and any notes with a- do- nai under them are always the word for lord, master, etc.

Very occasionally when adonai YHWH are used together, I substitute ha-shem for the two syllables of the tetragrammeton so again it is easy to tell from the transcribed music that the perpetual qere is being observed in its rarer form.

Note this very clear article on the history of the Name here.

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