Thursday, 13 February 2020

A summary of comparisons

I imagine a table set before me, in three columns. The table will present property by property the issues I have outlined in the past 6 weeks. I think that the jury should be able to come to a verdict on whether one method uses and explains more of the embedded information than another.

The property column below defines the question or decision. Each strategy must deal with the information, what is used and what is ignored. Both methods (Sequencing - Col 2 vs Reciting Note - Col 3) ignore some information. Each must also deal with the objective decisions, the musical phrases, the ease of perceiving the result, the ease of the use of musical language, the issue of beauty, of harmonic implications, and other issues.

Property / Decision
Sequencing strategy (Burns, Jacobson)
Reciting Note strategy (Haïk-Vantoura)
Distinguish the function of accents below the text from those above
No distinction in function.
Accents below the text determine the reciting note, from c (21 books only) to d, e, f, g, A, B, C (all books). Those above are ornaments.
Observation of every variation in accent placement
Pays attention to differences in placement. 
Does not pay attention to differences in placement below the text. Both ב֖ and ב֭ change the reciting note (in this case to g). Ornaments may have some differences depending on placement. Zarqa and zinor are identical.
Double merkha
one accent among many.
considered equivalent to merkha.
Sof pasuk and Paseq
are observed as relating to the accents.
are not part of the music.
Dropping of observed accents
Burns drops the first of a pair sometimes.
Never drops a defined accent. Accents below the text are completely transparent. Sight reading is as easy as solfege.
Accents are at a fixed pitch.
Accents define and are relative to the reciting note
Jacobson is a single tonality, major for Torah, minor for haftarah. Burns has shades of possible tonal changes.
Observes tonic, supertonic, and subdominant as cadence points. Dominant and sub-mediant allow for tonality to  vary. Multiple modes supported but rationale for their use is subjective. Tonality immediately suggests clear musical shape.
Sequences of accents
are complex slurred combinations of notes, melismas.
below the text define the reciting note and thus allow sequences to be explained as intervals and triads. Melismas may occur with ornaments.
Variations in accent sequences
are explained with great complexity.
are explained as musical phrases.
Agreed senses
Silluq and Atnah as pauses. Recognizes common pairings and preparation.
Silluq (tonic) and Atnah (subdominant) as cadences.
Recognizes common pairings (e.g. revia mugrash) and preparation (e.g. ole veyored prepared by revia or zarqa). Interpretation is different because the yored is equivalent to merkha and thus comes to a cadence on the second (supertonic).
Silluq and Metheg (an error in Unicode design).
Distinguished by reader, not mentioned by Burns, because he uses sof pasuk as terminus.
Distinguished by reader. Metheg is not a note and should not pull the reciting note prematurely to the tonic, but silluq in the middle of a phrase is just a note, not a cadence.
the human voice and its flexibility.
the human voice and the sense of tonality.
Tone of voice
not noted.
The tonic (e) for the sense of home,  the subdominant (A) for the sense of rest,  the supertonic (f) for a briefer rest, (in the 3 books only) and always prior to the subdominant if both are in the verse, the dominant (B) for proclamation, the submediant (C) for emotional appeal, the lower notes as preparation for the phrase, sometimes leaping a seventh or an octave for joy.
Passing the test of the wandering mode, tonus peregrinus
Does not pass.
Passes perfectly. Psalms 114 in plainsong and chanting tradition is anticipated by the variable reciting note decision. This surviving melody suggests five of the reciting notes (B g A f e). (SHV did not make this connection. It might have shortened her work. That she arrived here is impressive.)
does not use the consistent placement above and below.
uses more information implicit in the accents.
takes experience to hear.
takes experience to hear, may allow the noting of allusions between texts.
Connections between texts
affirmed and obvious, e.g. the attacca noted for Psalms 115, the clear knowledge of the speeches by the narrator of Job, the highlighting of strophe and structure in poetry and story.
has many arcane ‘rules’.
an accent always sounds and is always the same definition within the current reciting note.
not relevant.
not defined.
allows the simple concept of syllables per reciting note as a measure of a verse.

Addendum: For something different, have a listen to the rendering of Psalm 1 on the home page of, and for contrast, consider this. More work to be done.

Related posts The ladder, in five parts IntroductionGoing up to the subdominantGoing down from the subdominantVerses without a rest on the subdominant, and further subdivisions for long verses. And Recitation analysis.

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