|Music to our ears : Jewish
poetry in song|
Biblical songs of praise and thanksgiving, or modern Yiddish poetry; medieval religious and erotic poems, or Hasidic melodies and Jewish folk songs; pioneering musical renditions of revived Hebrew poetry or Israeli Rock ‘N Roll - Jewish poetic forms from around the world were, and still are, constantly adorned by a variety of musical compositions.
Whether in synagogue or at home, serving as the voice of the community or singing a lullaby to a baby - biblical verses and secular poems are music to our ears - a cornerstone and reflection of Jewish cultural heritage.
You can search for songs by language in a similar (yet backwards) manner: Songs, Hebrew ; Songs, Ladino. You can also search by group of people and place Jews--United States--Music ; Sephardim--Music or by special topic Hanukkah--Songs and music.
|This exhibit illustrates trends and traditions of some of these melodic expressions. We've highlighted four different areas of creative expression: Biblical poetry, Piyutim, Yiddish poetry, and modern Hebrew poetry.|
| Biblical Poetry
The Bible has served as a rich source of inspiration for musicians from the earliest times. Its psalms indicate that musical instruments were used when chanted. Biblical verse has found musical expression in many areas of Jewish life & culture, from Sabbath liturgies to Jewish campfire sing-a-longs and Israeli folk-dancing. Many biblical verses have been incorporated into synagogue services, and biblical love poetry has enriched wedding celebrations throughout the world.
Lyrical compositions intended to embellish an obligatory prayer or any other religious ceremony, communal or private. In a wider sense, piyyut is the totality of compositions composed in various genres of Hebrew liturgical poetry from the first centuries of the Common Era until the beginning of the Haskalah. In ancient times, the piyyutim were intended to replace most of the set versions of prayer and to serve as substitutes. They ensured variety of the obligatory prayers, mainly on Sabbaths and festivals. In a later period, when the prayers became fixed, sections of piyyut were interspersed in certain places within the set pattern of the prayers. Naturally, most of the very extensive piyyut literature is devoted to the adornment of the major holy days. However, during the early oriental (eastern) period of the history of the piyyut, liturgical compositions were also produced in great abundance for regular Sabbaths, for simple fast days, and even for weekdays. Obligatory prayers were also embellished with special sets of piyyutim for private occasions, such as weddings, circumcisions, and mourning. (Source: Encyclopedia Judaica)
| Yiddish Poetry
One does not speak Yiddish, goes the saying, rather – Yiddish speaks itself. The same may be said about Yiddish poetry and folk songs, lending themselves to musical interpretations for as long as Yiddish was spoken.
From Goldfaden’s musical theatre, to Itzik Manger’s Golden Peackock, from Melekh Ravitz’s poems, to the revival of Yiddish culture on campuses across the world – Yiddish still sings itself.
|Israeli Poetry The early poetry of the Land of Israel became a source of inspiration to pioneering musicians, as does modern Israeli poetry to punk, rock and hip-hop performers and composers of today. Words written by poets such as Bialik, Rachel, Zelda, Zach, Amichai, and many other Hebrew poets, have become the lyrics of popular songs that are played daily in Israel today.|
Hebrew Poetry in the New Millennium / by Amir Or
Hebrew Psalms Radio
Israeli music on the web
Culture of Israel (from Wikipedial, a free web encyclopedia)
Hebrew Songs database
Songs set to music
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