Friday, November 29, 2019

Psalm 96 - a new song

I need to make a list of the music I am working with before I forget what I have done. I have 35 videos on my YouTube Channel. 10 of them are from my psalms lectures (6 years ago) and the lecture on the music of the accents for the SBL regional conference I was to attend in Idaho  in 2016 which I had to do remotely because of a sudden illness in the family. The last one (the Accents, Final) has had over 1100 views. The other 25 are developments of the music, one from 3 years ago, and the remainder from this year. I also have about 200 recordings of this music performed in the last century to advertise the work that Susanne Haïk-Vantoura accomplished before her death in 2000.

It is difficult to put into a few words the extensive testing she did to arrive at her synthesis. That one should require a musical mind to do this is hardly surprising. She herself testifies of a long manual process of testing possibilities. In my own book, I have done a thorough statistical analysis of accent patterns and also have explained her approach against the opinions of the last 1000 years and its vastly superior explanatory and acoustic power.

Humans are slow to respond and slow to change when they are sure they have an answer that can make them feel right and defend against any arguments against their established opinion.

You can see her careful approach in this image of Psalm 96. She always sang the Hebrew. In the case of the Psalms it is a strict syllabic rhythm.
An extract from SHV Psalm 96 ms - You can hear a performance at this link.
My own version is not syllabic since I have mapped the Hebrew to the English text of my own translation that follows the Hebrew as closely as possible. I have used a regular 5/4 bar. I could have used other possibilities. They are infinite. I also allowed some development of the ideas but I have maintained the strophic structure of the poem itself. Adding a trumpet as she does would have been a nice idea, but I think the TTBB version works quite well. Needs a good high tenor. The ms is here, and a synthesizer film is available from YouTube below.

You can note some differences in the reciting note because SHV was using the Letteris Edition (c. 1890s) of the text whereas I have used the Leningrad codex directly. And it happens that scribes, not understanding what the signs meant, over the centuries have added methegs to some words (for reasons of pronunciation) and they (methegs) looks the same as the silluq, which is the tonic (according to her inferred key). My programming attempts to distinguish these two signs, but it is a soft logic. The Aleppo Codex is our best source, but it is not available by web service or even in a Unicode form.

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