MUSIC 74 & 139: MUSIC IN ISRAEL

WEEKLY LISTENING ASSIGNMENTS

Week 3
1. Titgadal wetitqadash betokh Yerushalaim – Jerusalem in Hebrew Prayer and Song [bSpace] We are building up from last week’s listening experience. This compilation, based on a concert program presented in Berlin, Germany, in 1995, focuses entirely on liturgical and paraliturgical songs (refer to Grove “Jewish Music” III:1 to fully assess the importance of these terms) of various Jewish musical traditions represented today in Israel. Use the CD notes to learn about each track and the ideas that informed the concert program (curated by Edwin Seroussi). Keep in mind that for the most part, these traditions gradually reached the Land of Israel with the early waves of immigration (Hirshberg, ch. 1). While listening, focus on two aspects: • Diversity of sound: as in last week’s listening materials, very diverse worlds of sounds are brought together as part of one culture (the Jewish culture of the State of Israel); • Unity of (theological) message: each selection expresses the two-thousand-year longing for Jerusalem and the return to the land of Israel, as represented in Jewish liturgical texts. Are these two aspects reconciled in the concert program documented in this CD? Probably not in terms of sounds (the traditions represented in the concert are indeed very different from one another); perhaps, such a relation can be only understood within a comprehensive “Israeli” cultural and political agenda, such as the one summarized in the opening chapter of the book by Regev and Seroussi. Focus on the following tracks: 1. Shofar blowing: the only Biblical musical instrument that remains in Jewish liturgy 5. Lekha dodi: liturgical poem for the Sabbath liturgy, text by kabbalist scholar Sh. Alkabetz, melody of the Turkish tradition 12. Arim al shefayim koli: a Moroccan kinah (dirge), part of the vast repertoire of liturgical poems sung on the Ninth of Av (the liturgical commemoration of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple) 13. Yerushalaim ir mehulalah – Hohil yom yom eshtahe: Moroccan song medley praising Jerusalem and the city of Tiberiades 15. Mi-mekomkha malkenu tofi’a: Ashkenazi prayer for the return of God’s rule over Zion and Jerusalem (a line from this prayer gives the Hebrew title to the CD: titgadal wetitqadash bethokh yerushalayim, or “May You be exalted and sanctified within Jerusalem”) 19. Im nin‘alu: a poem by Sh. Shabazi from the Yemenite tradition of sacred poetry (Diwan), which was popularized as a “dance hit” in the 1980’s by Yemenite Israeli pop singer Ofra Haza (you may want to listen to her subsequent versions, easily found on YouTube). 2. World Music from Israel: The Deben Bhattacharya Collection [bSpace or this blog entry] Bengali ethnomusicologist Deben Bhattacharya conducted his fieldwork in Israel in 1957, “when the Jewish peoples from all over the world were still arriving and trying to make their permanent homes in the new Jewish State of Israel which at the time was about a decade old” (cf. CD notes). It is particularly interesting to note what apparently caught his attention: “In a uniquely small area of land in West Asia, Israel contained the entire world of music. The modern expression of ‘World Music’ was not in circulation at that time…” (ibid.). See also http://theworldjukebox.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/ethnic-music-fromisrael-field-recordings-by-deben-bhattacharya/ . Follow Bhattacharya’s detailed introductions to understand the following musical aspects: • Organology: the study of musical instruments, and how they are used • Intersection between Jewish culture and Arabic music: many of the pieces recorded follow the Arabic/Turkish modal system of maqam (what is maqam? Details will be given in class, but may want to learn about this in the Grove Dictionary of Music Online and/or in the Arab Music Page listed in the syllabus) • World music: the recordings include European, North African and Central Asian music • Institutional music: some recordings document the role of the “Israeli Police Band” Focus on the following tracks: CD 1: 3. The Sweetness of the Earth: Moroccan song in Arabic, with ‘ud accompaniment, in maqam nd Hidjaz (Arabic mode that is an icon of musical “orientalism,” because of the augmented 2 interval that characterizes it…). CD 1: 8. Love song in Arabic: in the Yemenite tradition, with tin drum accompaniment. CD 1: 14. Song for Harvesting Fruit: Uzbek agricultural song performed by a Bukharan Jewish music ensemble. CD 2: 7. Jewish Melodies: Jewish and Israeli “standards” as performed by the Tel Aviv Police Band.

Note: All required sound files and CD booklets available on bSpace.

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