Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Is violence boring?

Is disobedience boring? Is sin banal? Certainly the recital of repeated inter-generational mundane 'he did evil in the sight of ' fill in the blank is less gripping than the David stories. Less musical too?

Whoa - there's a lot of kings and a lot of repetition with slight variations in the verse content. I wonder how many scribes there have been and how many of them were musical?

So how to present the repetition briefly and the musical variations... We could do it with some sort of abbreviated stats.

In 2 Kings, for example, I see 20 instances of this pattern, "and the remaining words/matters of x and all that he undertook" or some such variation. I have glossed עשה as undertake when it refers to a past lifetime so I can find them again easily if necessary... I have also let דברי be matters if there is no following clause and words if there is. These are arbitrary distinctions.

The music: 8 of these kings get dismissed with identical music: e d f g# B A pause then B rev, d f g# f e. These are for Joash 2 Kings 12:20, Azariah 2 Kings 15:6, Peqach 2 Kings 15:26, Jotham 2 Kings 15:36, Ahaz 2 Kings 16:19, Amon 2 Kings 21:25, Josiah 2 Kings 23:28, and Jehoiachim 2 Kings 24:5.

Then there are two whose dismissals get an extra silluq before the first cadence Ahaziah 2 Kings 1:18, and Joram 2 Kings 8:23. And three whose are shorter, Peqach (2 Kings 15:31) dropping the initial d. And Amaziah (2 Kings 14:18) and Zachariah (2 Kings 15:11) dropping the f as well. Not very interesting.

The remaining 7 have more interesting music to celebrate their wars and their valour. Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:20) has commendation for building the blessing pool and supplying the city with water.
The higher recitation notes may even have functional value - creating a description, telling a story.

If you have been to Jerusalem, you can walk by the pool and through the tunnel up the conduit. See my post on Hezekiah's water system here. Posting any more of these results is counter productive at the moment.

But I just discovered I can convert all the XML files to Midi so anyone can play them on the free app Cloud midi player. It's very wooden but hey - it works. So it will take about an hour, but they will all be there, hope I don't run out of Google space. The midi files are minuscule.

Manasseh (2 Kings 21:17) and Joash (2 Kings 13:12) also get stories told about them. Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:8) has a simple result but with an additional ornament and low c like this: e pas,c d f g# ^A B rev,d f g# f e - by now you can play this on the Cloud mini player if you can figure it out. Here's the link to chapter 13. It is really quite hilarious. It even plays two parts when there is only one. So It looks (er sounds) buggy. (I think I had two midi files playing at once and it got confused.) Playing fine now - but really wooden. The remaining three, Shallum (2 Kings 15:15), Jehoash (2 Kings 14:15), and Jerobam (2 Kings 14:28) all have unique music (like the previous 4).

That 7 kings would have unique music and 8 common music indicates something I suppose. Probably the first 8 had little story to remind the reader of.

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