Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Reading the Bible with its music

I went to a music class for children last week. The teacher gets 11 out of 10 on every rating, pitch, rhythm, movement, presentation, sensitivity, child management, parent management, spontaneous post song exercises for matching pitch and rhythm, full participation from more people than one could count at a glance, over a dozen parents, each with 1 to 2 children under the age of 3!

One of the phrases that struck me in a song was "I don't sing because I am happy, I am happy because I sing." I recall William Byrd making a similar statement: since singing is so good a thing, I would all men should learn to sing.

So - can we teach the music of the Bible when we read the Bible?

In the volumes that are becoming available, you can, of course, just read the text. No Hebrew required. And you can use also the interspersed music as a resting place, to exercise your ear and the muscles of your vocal fold. And to learn Biblical Hebrew in context.

And you can have fun. Laugh, even. Enjoy the implications for the tone of voice. Note when melodies are similar and different even given the constraints of the notation. And I promise that you will also laugh, not necessarily at my reading. But you might be surprised how some things got into the texts. I am. When I was young, I wasn't sure if goats had sheep or not. But ... (I won't spoil that one). 

Except we become as little children, ...

In my general introduction, I have outlined a suggested method for detailed reading, even by scholars who could write more than I could think of on every word. Detailed reading involves hearing the music. This is an approach that has not been taken in this generation. It is unique, the whole Hebrew Bible transcribed into a musical score, without loss of information.

Religious, scholar and priest alike, will catch up to the children when they begin to sing. You can find the volumes as they appear here.

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