Comprehensive coverage

Am Yisrael sings 28 - the musical instruments in their historical development

In this chapter, regarding its various sections, I would like to highlight the following points: distinction between the musical instruments in the Bible and those of the period under discussion and the various consequences thereof; the extent of the influence of Greekness and Hellenism on musical instruments; Were there original Jewish musical instruments? Character of Jewish music

An orchestra from the Second Temple period. The image was prepared using the artificial intelligence software DALEE 2 and should not be considered a historical image.
An orchestra from the Second Temple period. The image was prepared using the artificial intelligence software DALEE 2 and should not be considered a historical image.

In this chapter, regarding its various sections, I would like to highlight the following points: distinction between the musical instruments in the Bible and those of the period under discussion and the various consequences thereof; the extent of the influence of Greekness and Hellenism on musical instruments; Were there original Jewish musical instruments? Character of Jewish music.

  1. Distinguishing between the biblical period and the periods after it

During the Biblical period, 11 certain names of musical instruments were listed as reflected in the table and it should be noted that this is the period up to the destruction of the First Temple and the musical instruments listed in the Biblical literature, but those referring to the Second Temple period were not brought here and will be discussed later in this section. We note that there are instruments whose meaning is not so clear and certain, such as "Gitt" whose name appears in the Bible, for example in Psalms 1:1, XNUMX:XNUMX and more, and similarly were not brought here in the minyan.

Wind Instrumentspercussionsstring instrument
Shofar - Hornringing bellsviolin
organ (?)bells

During the Second Temple period there were 25 certain names of musical instruments as reflected in the following table:

Temple vessels in the days of the Second Temple

Wind Instrumentspercussionsstring instrument
Hamat KhalilinTenboraSabka
From a whistlerake

However, with the help of the following table we can stand better, it seems, on the musical consequences of the period in question. This table will refer to three types of musical instruments as they were used and used in the Second Temple, and in highlighting their special quality as we have already mentioned in the chapter dealing with the music of the temple, their relationship and quality is interesting, both from the musical point of view and from the essential-internal point of view.

Temple vessels

Wind Instrumentspercussionsstring instrument
Trumpet (from 2 "to world")Ring - also for giving signs (only one)Violin (from 9 "to Olam")
Flute (from 2 to 12).Rake - for marking. does not belong to the orchestra. The tool was added later in the days of the houseHarp (from 2 to 6)
Not part of the orchestra - for signs only
Shofar (no evidence of the number)

It should be noted in the margin of the table that, as a matter of fact, we find in the general orchestra of the temple the following instruments: violins, harps, trumpets, flutes and one bell. In other words, we have before us a musical effect that is based on gentle, noiseless sounds, with the entire ensemble itself, while emphasizing the number of instruments, striving to find the musical harmony that will please the listening ear, which, as I mentioned in the previous chapters, is an institutional foundation in the very functioning of temple music. Moreover, the violins and the harps, which were the sole property of the Levites, on which the Levites could also play, and at the same time also sing, since singing in the mouth was also their property.

And for our purposes, if we subtract the aforementioned temple instruments from the total number of instruments mentioned in the period in question, we will find 18 instruments that did not belong to the temple music. This calculation may put us on the dimensions of the sand music. However, we are obliged to be careful since both the violin and the harp and the flute (and in Babylon even the shofar, the "shipura") also occupied a certain place in sand music. And so we decided to examine the episode from a historical-chronological point of view - a division between Tiktot Beit XNUMX and the period of the Mishna and the Talmud, according to the sources available to us.

In the days of the Second Temple we found the following instruments as musical instruments that were used in Holy events: violin, harp, flute and drum. And we will add to this number the instruments of the "Nebuchadnezzar Orchestra", namely - symphony, mashrukita, carna, kythros, sabacha and piano. And we are talking about instruments that stood out in the Hellenistic orchestral ensembles.

During the period of the Mishna and the Talmud, we were introduced to the following instruments that were associated with the music of the sand and they are: fourth, Iros, tanburah, naktamon, drum, flute, Hammat Khalilin, tsapza and tenon. Want to say: six percussion instruments, three wind instruments and one string instrument. Namely - in the music of the sand, the place of the percussion instruments stood out, right opposite to the music of the temple.

During the Second Temple period, the music of the temple overshadowed the music of the sand, and if we do not consider the "Nebuchadnezzar Orchestra" as an orchestra that only existed in the Hellenistic courts, then we will get an interesting dimension about the Jewish sand music during the days of the Second Temple. And on the other hand, during the period of the Mishnah and the Talmud, when the sounds of a temple were silenced, the sand music found a respectable place to define itself and thus we understand the appearance of instruments whose place was absent, or at least not prominent during the Second Temple period.

But as a general rule, it can be said that comparing the period of the Bible with the period that followed, the number of musical instruments in Judaism increased. The reasons for this lie in the natural development of music, as every other people knew in the ancient period. That is, the degree to which the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman worlds influenced the people of Israel in the post-biblical period. And even, to the extent that Jewish leaders, including Sages, are aware of the importance of music above and beyond the purely musical effect.

2) The degree of foreign influence

The one who compares only the number of instruments between the biblical period and the periods after it is not deviating from his duty, since it is not a mere numerical increase, but quite a few technical improvements regarding musical instruments, and this, in my opinion, music owes to some extent to foreign influence.

I accept the approach of the researcher Bayer (Bayer) about the music in ancient Israel, who claimed that foreign influences were imported, but these only changed the local character, but did not uproot it. And this can be said to the credit of Jewish music, which is actually, in several respects, an independent unit within the great constellation of the ancient Middle East.

Foreign influence did not arise solely from the Greek-Hellenistic and Roman terminology that is embedded in the names of the musical instruments in the sources, but also in some of the various technological improvements in the instruments themselves, and even in hints about the description of the instrument. And we will point to that later. It should be noted that this influence was more pronounced, naturally, in the Jewish sand music than in the temple music.

As for the musical content, even here one must doubt whether much was influenced by the foreign content. However, on the other hand, that effect should not be eliminated at all. And I think that in order to clarify the problem and refine it, an interesting phenomenon should be pointed out, namely - the influence of Eastern music, especially from the instrumental aspect, quite a bit on the Greek one. The contacts between the Hellenic and the Eastern world are very ancient. Already from the Minoan culture in the 15th century BC. Oriental musical instruments found their way into Hellenic culture, underwent processes of change and were brought back to the East through the Hellenistic conquests. Therefore, it is difficult to accurately state the extent of the influence of Greek music on its neighbors in the east. But again, as mentioned, the importance of this influence on Jewish music should not be underestimated, even to a certain extent.

3) Did Jewish musical instruments exist at all?!

From the conclusion of the previous section, it is already clear that it will be difficult for us to deal, scientifically, with the question titled above. What's more, let's add on top of the ambiguous matters in the few archaeological finds. From these findings, not only are they poor, but their appearance

On coins or bas-reliefs, it is quite difficult to examine their exact details (not so, for example, in the treasure of Egyptian papyri, or in the musical instruments that were found right in Egypt, but it would be dangerous and imprudent to draw direct and sharp conclusions about Jewish music from the Egyptian finds.

The few researchers who tried to deal with the problem presented here differed in their opinions in this way: some claimed that there were no tool patterns found that referred to the ancient Land of Israel and its culture. On the other hand, there were those who speculated that some of the "liras" that appeared on the hoard of coins of the second rebellion, the rebellion of Ben Khosva, were nothing more than the restoration of the vessels that were found in the Second Temple. I think that this dispute can be settled through compromise. That is to say, that maybe, indeed, there were no special tool patterns, but nevertheless there were tools found whose external shape was different from that accepted in the Greek or Roman world.

And it should be noted, in the margins of this section, that in terms of the numerical, essential relationship between the musical instruments in the temple, and in general in the types of musical instruments, I have not found an equal for them in any foreign orchestra or musical ensemble, temple or secular, neither in the environment of the ancient Near East nor in the Greek and Roman world . And this case, despite the fact that it did not involve the invention of typical Jewish musical instruments, is immeasurably important to the topic of our discussion and research, and it, it seems, may provide an interesting dimension regarding the musical contribution of the temple music.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

5 תגובות

  1. Dear Yahyam,
    Your level of knowledge and breadth are as I remembered from civics and history classes more than 30 years ago. What's more, I believe that a more narrative and less academic style would have benefited the text. After all, this is the site of knowledge. Even if the direction is a book, it is useful to make the extensive knowledge in it accessible.

  2. Nice keep it interesting.
    If you could explain with a picture or illustration how each tool is called.
    The borrowing song is interesting, you can explain and describe it.
    It is important for the people to know their ancestors

  3. It's beautiful, the first time I've heard of so many tools for our people in the past.
    It is interesting about the song of our ancient ancestors, how important it was to our people.
    You need to continue researching and explaining how each tool looks. In an illustration, maybe also in an illustration.

  4. All the musical, technical and essential details of this one, including the accompanying interpretations, are well supported by Sage sources from this one and other Talmudic sources from this one as well as
    in the archaeological and numismatic sources and academic interpretations of researchers from Israel and abroad and I will not fail to say that the document has any criticism and not to hide behind baseless interpretations and conclusions. In my many studies, and certainly in my Dylan research, I have been very careful not to fail in the historiosophical and historiographical basis of my published lists. Anyway, thanks for your response.

  5. The writer has no idea what musical instruments these are and how they looked.
    What's the point of all these counting peppers?!

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