Monday, October 06, 2008

Domine, labia mea aperies: et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.

I say it before each Shemonah Esrei, but I guess I didn't recognize its source in Psalm 51. But when I ran across it in Latin in a book, it struck me as familiar.

I listened to it on Youtube. How different from my experience with Psalms. When the rabbi asks the congregation to say a kapitel of tehillim, the room responds with a kind of a buzzing hum, muttering inmates in an asylum.

I'd like to think that if the Levites did sing Psalms in the holy Temple, it sounded more like this, a truly Divine harmony:


Blogger Tobie said...

At the shul where I davened this Rosh Hashana, they had a choir (all-male) that took over from the chazzan five or six times. The style was always structured like this- simple melodies, complex harmonies- very Gregorian. I thought it was awesome. Especially since they used it in moderation, in places when it made sense, without the unncessary repetition and elaboration that gets thrown in.

October 07, 2008 2:47 AM  
Blogger Leora said...

Beautiful. That's my kind of music.

October 07, 2008 11:08 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


the Gregorian type chants originated with Jewish music, if I recall correctly. I've never heard of this in Orthodox synagogues. Is this something new they invented or is this an old tradition in the shul?

October 07, 2008 6:14 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

The shul is the one pretty much American shul in the neighborhood (Rehovot) and is populated mostly by olim and university professors, so this might affect their behavior. I'm pretty sure that this is something relatively new that they are trying out, although I didn't ask anybody. The shul itself isn't all that old (a couple decades) so I don't think there's any really longstanding tradition.

It was cool and I'm really hoping that it catches on. If only because it varies stuff up, which is nice in the longer davenings.

October 09, 2008 12:41 PM  

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