Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Analysis of lengths of reciting notes

Further to my recent post on analyzing the recitation.

I have noted from the beginning of my study that the pitch in some way determines a deliberate quality to the recitation. Recitations on the fourth, fifth, and sixth are common and often quite long. There is a recitation in Nehemiah 10:40 of 51 syllables on the fifth (B). In contrast, the longest I could find on the low c is 8 syllables. Recitations on this low note are rare and generally short, 2 or 3 notes.
Deuteronomy 13:15, example of a longer recitation on the low c
I could possibly get a rough measure of syllables per note on the way to each rest (1, 2, or 3) in the verse. There is one rest for a verse with neither atnah nor ole-veyored, and there are 2 where there is either of the mid verse rests, and 3 if there are both.

Here for example are the syllable counts for verse 1 of Psalm 29.

The first verse has notes: e f B g B ^A f e  with 5 syllables over 2 notes to the first cadence, 8 over 4 to the second cadence, and 8 over 3 notes to the third. A rough approximation with uncertainty as to whether the A is shared would be the total number of syllables divided by the number of notes. In this case it would be 21/8 for the verse, 2.63.
Psalms 29FnMinMaxSyll
מִזְמ֗וֹר לְדָ֫וִ֥ד
הָב֣וּ לַֽ֭יהוָה בְּנֵ֣י אֵלִ֑ים
הָב֥וּ לַ֝יהוָ֗ה כָּב֥וֹד וָעֹֽז
1A psalm of David.
Ascribe to Yahweh children of gods.
Ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.

Nehemiah 10:40 at the other extreme has 7 notes: B g ^A f g f e  and 66 syllables or 67/7, 9.57 as its density.
Nehemiah 10FnMinMaxSyll
כִּ֣י אֶל־הַ֠לְּשָׁכוֹת יָבִ֨יאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל וּבְנֵ֣י הַלֵּוִ֗י אֶת־תְּרוּמַ֣ת הַדָּגָן֮ הַתִּיר֣וֹשׁ וְהַיִּצְהָר֒ וְשָׁם֙ כְּלֵ֣י הַמִּקְדָּ֔שׁ וְהַכֹּהֲנִים֙ הַמְשָׁ֣רְתִ֔ים וְהַשּׁוֹעֲרִ֖ים וְהַמְשֹׁרְרִ֑ים
וְלֹ֥א נַעֲזֹ֖ב אֶת־בֵּ֥ית אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
40 B For to the chambers, the children of Israel and the children of the Levite will bring the contribution of the grain, the new wine, and the clarified oil, for there are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the ministering priests, and the gatekeepers, and the singers,
and we will not forsake the house of our God.
3e 4B 56

I wonder if this might give us a definition of poetry - a lesser and more consistent measure of syllables per note compared to prose. Psalms 29 by verse has measures of : 2.63, 2.71, 3.17, 2.4, 3.17, 3.17, 3, 2.5, 3.25, 2.83, and 2.71. Verse 9 stands out. You can check it at the link.

I don't know if anyone has ever suggested this measure before. It is dependent on separating the function of accents below the text from those above the text. i.e. it is a consequence of the theory put forth by Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura.

I was able after some experimentation to develop an algorithm that would sum all the syllables and notes resulting in the next 3 graphs. What should I measure? The graph is the sum of all syllables by chapter divided by the sum total of reciting notes in the chapter.

Psalms, measuring every part of all verses, has syllables per reciting note ranging from 2.33 for Psalms 136 to 3.83 for Psalms 40.
Syllables per note averaged by Psalm
Chapter 10 of Nehemiah gives a measure of 3.62 with a standard deviation of 1.94, 0.7 higher than any other chapter. More detail on this chapter in the next post.

I tried a few graphs. Here is Jeremiah. You can see that the recitations are longer on average.
Syllables per note averaged by chapter of Jeremiah
And Job, the only book containing both the poetic accents and the prose accents, clearly shows the beginning and ending chapters as having longer recitations.
Syllables per note by chapter of Job, clearly showing the difference between poetry and prose

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