Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Review: Jewish and Arabic Music
Author(s): Joseph Reider
Review by: Joseph Reider
Source: The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Apr., 1917), pp. 635-644
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
Stable URL:
Accessed: 24-05-2016 14:08 UTC

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted
digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about
JSTOR, please contact

Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, University of
Pennsylvania Press are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Jewish
Quarterly Review

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC
All use subject to

as may be seen from casual statements made here and there in Rabbinic literature. JEWISH AND ARABIC MUSIC Hebraisch-Orientalischer Mielodienschatz.196 on Tue. pp. However. and was a living force until our own days. limited to the tetrachord or hexachord. Zum ersten Male gesammelt. 1914. Whatever its origin may have been in ante- diluvian and' mythical times. chromatic. So much is certain. I. was merely melodic as distinguished from the harmonic development of European music. Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition Papers.206. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. has a long and uninter- rupted tradition. On the contrary. it continued to develop along certain lines in the Diaspora. . may be inferred from the nature of the musical instruments enumerated in the Bible and their orchestral arrangement. and hence what modern Europeans would style monotonous. even if we do not know whether its succession of sounds was diatonic. This development. xi + I58. Leipzig: BREITKOPF UND HXRTEL. where the murky and crepuscular air was always permeated with the plaintive strains of suffering Israel. or whether it possessed a multiplicity or paucity of modes and scales. it emerges in the Bible as an essential and well-organized practice affecting the religious and social life of the nation. the point to be emphasized is that the music of the Jews did not cease with the conclusion of the Canon or with the annihilation of the Jewish State. But unfortunately these very 635 T t 2 This content downloaded from 177. or enharmonic.166. despite its detractors. but its great potency and dynamic influence was nevertheless felt within the walls of the ghetto.jstor. though not well marked and defined. Cohen (comp. Z. which in its synagogal aspect has been traced by Francis L. who in weal and woe poured out his heart in song. I. erliutert und herausgegeben von A. 80 ff.). both within the synagogue and outside of it. Band: Gesange der Jemenischen Juden. JEWISH music. Its characteristics. and from the immutable fact of interrelation between the arts of all Oriental nations it is safe to assume that Jewish music was minor and plaintive.

Chicago. E. thus resulted the great collections of liturgical chants by E. . The present volume on the songs of the Yemenite Jews is to be followed by one each on the songs of the Persian. the Babylonian. As the main title implies. Idelsohn. 1875). and as such deserves the highest praise of all music lovers. with its marvellous mechanical contrivances. I896). which is subsidized by the Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna. 19 ). A. Marek (Jiidische Volkslieder in Russland. Leipzig. The present collection by A. like parasites. Petersburg. Aguilar (Ancient Melodies of the Liturgy of the Spanish and Portuguese Jezes. I857). Paris. this is the first truly scientific attempt at an appreciation of the musical system of the Oriental Jews.166. I893). the Sephardic. Kaiser and William Sparger (A Collection of the Principal Melodies of the Synagogue. 1874). S. and also folk-song collections like that of S. and truly deserves to be styled monumental. London. Z. It remained for our modern age. as in this case. giving rise to the frequent dictum of music historians that the Jews have no music of their own. both synagogal and non-synagogal. and the Zunz-Stiftung in the same place. feed on the music of other nations among whom they happen to live. M. the Gesellschaft zur F6rderung der Wissenschaft des Judenthums in Berlin. to record these popular tunes and melodies with scientific precision. and Moroccan Jews-six volumes in all. Very few outside of professional musicians realize the difficult task involved in noting down for the first time the music of a people without any written records as a guide.206. 190o). A. New York. Besides. which is totally different from the Oriental This content downloaded from 177. S. Wolf (Auswahl alter hebraischer Synagogal-Melodien. Pauer (Traditional Hebrew Melodies. this is to be a corpus of all the Jewish melodies in the Orient. is on a much larger scale. was brought up on the Occidental harmonic system. and Platon Brunoff (Jildische Volksliederfiir Mittel-Slimme und Piano. The pitfalls are many. particularly if the recorder. Naumbourg (Recueil de Chants religieux des Israeh'tes. 636 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW pathetic and truly beautiful songs were propagated by rote only and were never noted down. Marksohn and W.196 on Tue. Ginzburg and P.jstor. but. London. the Syrian. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about.

(3) Hidduyot or joy songs testifying to the betrothal. covering (i) Halelot or songs with 'wehaleluya' at the beginning and end. be reduced to but a few modes of an infinite simplicity. Selihah. His standard for measurements was derived from immigrant Yemenite pre- centors of Palestine. whose text first became known to us through the late . Budapest. Lamentations. Azharot. These songs. 191o). Prophets. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. which look formidable at a first glance. and levelling (modulating to the tonic) phrase. (5) Shirot or artificial songs (usually muwasJah or double-rhymed poem) for the wedding. Fortunately. as stated above. the lyrical elements of the Pentateuch.206. The former are divided into fifteen different motives. has been used in such undertakings. Especially is this true in the case of synagogal chants. con- sisting of an ascending. Through the agency of the Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna he obtained a phonograph apparatus with plates for melodic impressions. sometimes from two different precentors. and through double and triple tests and measurements he was able to arrive at tolerably exact results as to the diapason and tonic succession of the various voices. Mishnah. Taanit. Tefillah or Common Prayer. For corroboration two impressions were taken for each song.196 on Tue. are mostly melodic. Canticles. who preserved their musical traditions intact. Job. J. one each for the recitative parts of the Pentateuch. The first volume. The latter consiocs of six motives. descending. Idelsohn employed the only scientific apparatus which. Esther. and High Festivals. JEWISH AND ARABIC MUSIC-REIDER 637 melodic system. The non-Synagogal songs. Zemirot. which are largely recitative and do not admit of progressive melodic intonations.jstor. synagogal and non-synagogal. Psalms. (2) Zafat or hymeneals accompanying the bridegroom on his way to the bride's house. are of two varieties. may. on the other hand. contains the results of his experiments in the field of Jewish-Yemenite music. especially the Neshid This content downloaded from 177.166. Bacher (Die hebriiische und arabische Poesie der jemenischen Juden. and (6) Shirot for Sabbath celebrations. Gilman (1891). (4) Neshid or popular songs at wedding festivals. after careful analysis. All these motives. since the days of B.

it is supported by the fact that the Jews of Yemen. Indeed. Jacob Saphir's account in 'r ID tN. and whose scales fluctuate This content downloaded from 177. last but not least. 638 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW and Shirot. While the Sephardic chant was influenced by Oriental and the Ashkenazic by Occidental music. yielding a harmony sui . I866). This impression is further enhanced by the limitation of this music within the tetrachord and hexachord. iii).166. and remained there ever after in utter seclusion and without any influence from without (comp. which are based on the Oriental makamat in their succession of sounds. are foreign to the Yemenite Jews. but no harmony or polyphony in the modern sense of the word. What Villoteau said of the Egyptian Jews: 'Nous avons la certitude que les Juifs d'Egypte n'ont pas cesse. its minor strain. its unisonous and antiphonal character. came to Southern Arabia after the destruction of the First Temple. Lyck.196 on Tue. This is an important consideration on which the author fails to dwell in his learned introduction. de donner a chacune de leurs diverses especes de chants une verit6 d'expression qui ne permet pas de douter qu'ils n'aient apporte les plus grands soins a leur conserver le caractere qui leur est propre '(De I'etat actuel de la musique en Egypte. its binary form. and.VI. The chromatic and enharmonic successions of the former. jusqu'a ce jour.206. according to their own tradition. art. chap. But even in the tripartite Shirot (and be it remarked that very often these are really bipartite. as well as the diatonic graduation of the latter. the third element being a repetition of the first). whose system is based on augmented intervals. a kind of rhythmic harmony. 2me partie. moreover. the elemental character of the melodic succession is so marked and conspicuous that we feel intuitively that we are dealing here with primitive music such as must have existed in Palestine during the First and certainly during the Second Temple. the Yemenite chant led a comparatively pure existence. Idelsohn arrives at the conclusion that the musical system of the Yemenite synagogal chant is entirely at variance with both the Oriental and Occidental systems. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. Needless to say.jstor. may be said more forcibly of the Yemenite Jews. accompanied by dances and instrumental music. and are.

Good taste is also shown in the appropriate form and excellent mounting of the book. for which philologists and grammarians will be indebted to him. among other things. a scale of a minor sixth both ascending and descending. If. Another omission is the discussion of the relation between this primitive music and the chant of the early Christian Church. 127 numbers of the synagogal and 76 of the non-synagogal variety. It is a well-known fact that both the Ambrosian and Gregorian chants which lay at the foundations of Christian music. This content downloaded from 177. We observe in this primitive music what Villoteau observed in the synagogues of Cairo and Alexandria. JEWISH AND ARABIC MUSIC-REIDER 639 between two.g.. point as support to this assertion. therefore. but also their affinity and predilection for minor modes like the Phrygian and the total eclipse of the Lydian major. the time and rhythm had to be changed. every shade and nuance being reproduced. These are all properly classified and arranged in a way to suit the taste of the European peruser. three.166. The words are tran- scribed in accordance with the peculiar pronunciation of the Yemenite Jews. and must have had their origin in Temple music (comp. which closely resembles the principle of parallelism in Hebrew poetry.jstor. Histoire ge'nerale de la Ausique. I. i66). in spite of being based on the Greek modes.. are Jewish in character. as we have reason to suppose. . 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. Idelsohn made a thorough study of this phase of his work. devoting the first chapter in the introduction to its explanation. the coming parts of which every music lover will impatiently await. Not alone their antiphonal character (theme and counter-theme). e. there is a continuity between the Temple melodies and those of the Yemenite synagogue. five. and six tones. Thus.196 on Tue. a comparison between the latter and the so-called cantus planus of the Church should be instructive in establishing once for all the degree of influence of the Temple on the early Church in the field of music. four.206. viz. For such a comparison Idelsohn offers us rich material. May the author have the courage to continue his very useful and excellent work. and what Fetis puts down as the primary characteristic of all primitive Oriental melodies.

with Notes. and Al-Farabi. 914. London: WILLIAM REEVES. Bibliography. the Gregorian chant. Salvador-Daniel's work appeared in Algiers in i863 under the title La muisique arabe. Xii+ 272. had imposed its music upon the conquerors. The importance of this small book lies in the fact that its author advanced a novel theory with regard to the nature and origin of Arab music. where we find a scale of semitones. stands in close relation to Greek music and its offspring.196 on Tue. and that in the long chain of development of our modern musical structure the apparently primitive music of the Arabs represents the same state of evolution as that prevailing in Europe before the memorable discovery of harmony by Gui d'Arezzo and Jean This content downloaded from 177. and Kiesewetter. by HENRY GEORGE FARMER. studying Arab music from obscure treatises of mediaeval Arab philosophers such as Khalil. came to the conclusion that Arab music. Against this view Salvador-Daniel. Having become very rare. were actually derived from Persia. at least that of the Moors. which is based on tones and semi- tones. and Thirty Examples and Illustrations. therefore.166. pp. after being conquered by the Arabs. and even semidemi-semitones. maintained that Arab music is based on the so-called Messel or Octave of seventeen third tones. demi-semitones. their theory being that . it was republished in 1879. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. on the basis of a practical investigation of nine years among primitive Arabs. to seek the origin of Arab music in Persia.206. Director of the Paris Conservatoire of Music under the Commune of I87I. such as the rebab and kemendjah. El-Kindi. This was deemed the more evident since the most important musical instruments of the Arabs. Ibn Khaldoun. Edited. They proceeded. and as such was purely Oriental and fundamentally different from the Greek diatonic system. Heretofore La Borde. with Intro- duction on how to appreciate Arab Music. Memoir. Villoteau.jstor. 640 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW The il/lusic and Musical Instruments of the Arab. ses rap. by FRANCESCO SALVADOR-DANIEL. and now appears for the first time in an English transla- tion.ports avec la simsique grecque et le chant gregorien.

JEWISH AND ARABIC MUSIC-REIDER 641 de Muris. according to Salvador-Daniel. the terrible Meia to the Hyper- Phrygian. the music of the Arabs. corresponding to our minor scale with G sharp. which. like the Greeks. The latter. Accordingly. Granada.166. the sad and pathetic Mezmoum to the Lydian. the author sets forth the striking similarity between the Arab and Greek diatonic modes: thus. This. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. the Arabs. and follows the same line of development as the Gregorian chant in its system of authentic and plagal or This content downloaded from 177.196 on . With the conquest of Spain the Arabs adopted Greek culture in all its phases. became petrified and mummified for centuries.206. without a semblance of third and quarter tones. considering them as independent tones. being conducive to indolence and effeminacy. are the invention of theorists who failed to understand the overtones due to the nasal style and drawled scale of the Arabs. and the consequent decay of Arab art and culture. the effeminate Saika to the Hyper-Lydian. according to the author. Valencia. Thus the Arabs possess twelve practical scales or modes (in theory there are fourteen. was quite natural. the impetuous and diabolic Edzeil to the Phrygian. the portamento in singing and playing. the grave and martial Djorka to the Aeolian. was banished by Plato from his Republic and by the Church from the Gregorian chant. the Arab tabaka or scale is based on the diatonic and chromatic succession of the Greeks. including the art of music. In addition to these eight diatonic modes. To prove his point. but two are unknown even to pro- fessional musicians) based on various combinations of whole tones and semitones. Seville. which was then on a mere melodic plane. and Toledo. notably the L'Sain-Sebah. and the famous Asbein derived from the Mezmoum or Lydian. But with the expulsion of the Moors from Spain. the minor L'Sain to the Hyper-Dorian. also have chromatic modes. and the sublime Rasd-Edzeil to the Hyper-Mixo-Lydian.jstor. the serious and grave Irak mode corresponds to the Dorian. They are known to have established musical academies in Cordova. while Greek music proceeded through the Church monody to the glories of polyphony and harmony. where both the theory and practice of this art were fostered in accordance with the Greek pattern.

and how replete with valuable suggestions. The dof. has a range of six notes (hexachord). Heb. likewise the kijaouak or flute of six or seven holes. on the other hand. likewise the kuitra or guitar with eight strings is tuned by fourths. a kind of musette with seven holes. of various sizes and shapes is used for rhythmic harmony only. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. and resemble the Arabic chants in their monotony and universal trill. Heb. according to Fetis. 642 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW derived modes. In support of this statement it may be observed that the chants of the Greek Church. The highest range is reached by the kanoun or ganoun. tof. still the fact remains that his work is refreshing on account of its originality.196 on Tue. It was natural that he should overdraw his side. As a further proof for his theory of a Greek influence on Arabic music. We may differ with him in some essentials. every two strings emitting the same tone.166. From this brief review of Salvador-Daniel's thesis it may be seen how important and original his work is. and the reader will always profit by its perusal. are still Oriental in character. we may even doubt his chief contention for a diatonic succession of sounds among the Arabs in view of the fact that the Indians. preceded the chromatic and diatonic divisions in historical development. which are essentially Ambrosian as opposed to the broader lines and increased modes of the Gregorian system of the Latin Church. a harp of seventy-five strings covering three octaves. Salvador-Daniel adduces the fact that the gradual development of European music from the tetrachord to the hexachord. kinnor. may be exemplified also among the Arabs through an examination of their musical instruments. the rebab or primitive violin. we may oppose the indisputable fact of Persian derivation of Arab musical instruments and the considerable preponderance of the Oriental minor key in the musical com- positions of the Moors. Thus the gosba or flute consists of a reed pierced with three holes. and therefore yields only four tones (tetrachord). and many Arab tribes in Africa exhibit a fondness for the enharmonic system which. and then to the octave. while the kemendjah or violin has the range of a complete octave.jstor. just as his predecessors overemphasized the This content downloaded from 177. and the raita or raica. .

who claims that antiquity knew of homophonic or one-voiced harmony as distinguished from polyphonic or many-voiced harmony first introduced by Bach in his fugues. the so-called nouba gharnata of the Moors of Spain. The truth. His notes are lucid and conducive to a better understanding of the text. despite the universal dictum of music historians as to its modernity. g. and in its thematic development corresponds to the European sonata or symphony). manifest themselves in the compositions of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. we must realize that there is a close interrelation between the musical systems of all nations.206. and the latter in the subject-matter and form of the musical compositions (comp. Musical Myths and Facts. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. late Professor of Music at Harvard University (The Nature of Music: Original Harmony in One Voice.166. for instance. . the Oriental currents which since the days of Felicien David have been flowing so precipitously in the compositions of the modern French and Russian schools. Cambridge. The editor's part in this work is considerable and highly commendable. after Engel's insistent teaching that practically all our musical instruments had their origin in primaeval Asia. JEWISH AND ARABIC MUSIC-REIDER 643 other side. comp. the former manifesting itself in the musical instruments which are built in accordance with the division of seventeen intervals in the compass of an octave (comp. the Negro tunes coursing in Dvorak's New World symphony. Even our much-vaunted harmony. is still traced by some writers to antiquity.jstor. or the melan- cholic Jewish strains which. according to Carl Engel. The Bibliography might have been more complete. the Gipsy melodies tingling in the rhapsodies of Liszt. no doubt.196 on Tue. I909). which consists of five movements besides a prelude and overture.g. e. particularly those on the ' History of Arab Music' and the musical examples of the various modes. Carl Engel. Julius Clauser. and that their influence is mutual and reciprocal. II. is that both a Persian and Greek influence may be claimed for Arab music. tracing our marvellous musical structure back to the hoary Orient and wild deserts of Asia. 230). After F4tis's application of the principle of evolution to the history of music. It does not This content downloaded from 177. e.

166. was killed while fighting for the Commune. where he became active as musical director. 'A Treatise on Arab Music'. the place of publication and the particular pages of reference being often omitted. 184 ff. Before the Franco-Prussian War he returned to Paris. which appeared in Le Monde Oriental. JOSEPH REIDER.206. From it we learn that the artist was born in Spain in . I (I847). chiefly from a work by Mikhail Meshakah of Damascus. the titles are not specific enough. The young artist was over- powered by the spell of the exotic and bizarre. This content downloaded from 177. when Ope'ra-bouffe was the slogan for every young composer. 24 May 2016 14:08:59 UTC All use subject to http://about. Salvador-Daniel'. nor do we find here Rafael Mitjana's 'L'Orientalisme musical et la Musique arabe'. Dropsie College. I7I ff. mysterious and distant Orient with its splendour of light and richness of colour. and when. and yielding to its charm he went to Algiers. came to Paris at a time when civilized Europe was at the zenith of musical frivolity and artistic persiflage. translator of ancient music treatises of the Arabs. translated from the Arabic by Eli Smith. e. which is written with a true artist's fervour and a warm glow of sympathy. as a timely antidote. NEW SERIES. Felicien David appeared from the Orient with a new message embodied in his AMelodies orientales and Le Desert. where he soon became involved in the turmoils of the Commune. The most noteworthy contribution of the editor constitutes his ' Memoir of F. its frenetic passions and exalted emotions. g. Besides. I (I906).jstor.. END OF VOLUME VII.196 on Tue. and published in the Journal of the American Oriental Society. It contains the most complete and reliable information about this struggling spirit and restless revolutionary. and. and collector of native airs embodied in his Chansons arabes and Chants kabyles. 644 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW contain. after being honoured by his appointment as Director of the Conservatoire.