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REPRESENTATIVE THEMES:

Anticipating in some measure the modern use of the leitmotif, the cantors of the synagogues, as soon as the traditional material of their chants was fixed (by the beginning of the sixteenth century), introduced and extended the practise of turning the attention of the worshipers to a sentiment connected with another service, to a passage in the ritual of another day, to the approach of a sacred occasion, by the quotation of a snatch of melody from the traditional music of such occasion. In the Sephardic tradition the practise has chiefly proceeded in the direction of quoting melodies from one service in the course of another. For example, in the Additional Service of the New-Year the prayer "Ha-Yom Harat 'Olam," which is chanted after the brief sounding of the Shofar has proclaimed the close of each of the three sections of the service, is sung first to the melody (see Niggun) of Shofeṭ Kol Ha-Areẓ, the special hymn in the earlier part of the morning service of the day; the second time to the melody of Adonai Beḳol Shofar, which hymn precedes the sounding of the complete sequence of shofar-calls that follow the reading of the Law; and the third and last time to the melody of "Leshoni Bonanta," the Geshem hymn which is to be again heard on the eighth day of Tabernacles, at the close of the series of autumn festivals. Other examples of the Sephardic practise of melodic quotation have been noted in connection with Adon 'Olam; En Kelohenu; Ḳaddish; Odeka; Yigdal.

The use of representative themes by the cantors of the Ashkenazim is far wider and more varied. Certain melodies have come to be traditionally regarded as typical of days and seasons. Such melodies are substituted for the usual final strain of a ḳaddish, or are chanted to the words which actually allude to a coming sacred celebration, or are substituted on the Sabbath within a festival for the airs employed during the course of the year or on other special occasions. The melodies customarily utilized by the present generation as representative themes are enumerated under Hallel and Mi-Kamokah, and their use is there explained (comp. also Geshem and Ḳaddish). How shorter extracts from a melody associated with another text are used to turn the thought to the sentiment of that text has been shown under Az Shesh Me'ot and Kol Nidre.

The Polish school of ḥazzanim has developed a further use of the leitmotif, more nearly corresponding to its function in the modern orchestra, and has employed short typical phrases, associated with the Atonement services especially, in varying combination, particularly with reference to the conclusion of a musical sentence, in order to graduate, with the progress of the fast-day itself, the shade of devotional expression between humiliation, resignation, hope, and confidence. The transcription of the shorter hymn-tunes given under Ne'ilah will afford some indication of the manner in which this object is attained. The general idea is but an application of that modal feeling underlying synagogal music since the days of the Temple, which has consistently prompted the esthetic association of some definite species of song with each peculiar occasion (see Cantillation; Music, Synagogal).

A. F. L. C.
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