Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Notes on distinguishing metheg from silluq

There's an indeterminate problem in the coding of the Leningrad Codex Unicode. Meteg (variously spelled), a pronunciation point, is not distinguished from silluq, the end of the verse and in the deciphering of the music, the tonic note. Both these conflicting functions are coded by the same Unicode and so are difficult to distinguish.

The reason goes back to the confusion in defining the roles of signs as punctuation or music. You can see from the Wikipedia article on meteg that it is itself inconsistently written in the old texts.

This means that when reading the music I have written, you may have to change to the e reciting note when I have not done it. My program ignores the Unicode character when it occurs mid-verse in the first syllable of a long word and immediately following certain vowels. It is ambiguous logic corresponding to an ambiguous sign.

So when reading the music for performance, please make a decision if there is a silluq in the first syllable. You may move to the low e as reciting note on this syllable. Performer's choice. In my stats I make no such distinction. The stats are a simple look-up. The transformation of the text is a complex algorithm. But the text is all there above the notes so the performer can exercise his or her own discretion.

In the first chapter of Genesis, the refrain and there was evening and there was morning the nth day occurs 6 times. Three times it is the second half of a verse, and three times it stands on its own as a verse. These two are different. When it is the second half of a verse it is returning to the tonic. When it is the first half of a verse, it starts on the tonic and returns to the tonic. Open the music to see the example.
Now I ask - is the code on וַֽיְהִי a silluq or a meteg? If you know, tell me the rule, if you can. It works in the music both ways. Taking it as silluq separates the half verses. I personally think this is less effective than preserving the existing reciting note for two beats.

How often does an e occur immediately after the mid-verse rest? As far as I can see, about 2160 times in the whole Bible.  This interpretation would change the shape of returning to the tonic.  In Genesis 1 there would be 10 verses affected, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30, 31. In Genesis 1 it works both ways. So perhaps I should change the rule following the rest. Perhaps I should never expect a meteg immediately following the rest. No - I simply made the test weaker so that the silluq will be expected more often. Updates will follow.

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