Specific motifs and melodic formulas used for various parts of the Ashkenazi High Holiday liturgy serve as the soundtrack of the synagogue service during this time of year – and have been used for centuries by skilled cantors to ritually connect the community to the spirit of the day. We survey nusach formulas that are on the spectrum between melody and mode, examine their musical characteristics and speculate about how they came to be.
Dr. Naomi Cohn Zentner, Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, Music department Bar Ilan University
Prof. Eli Schleifer, Professor of Sacred Music and Director of the School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem.
In English | Sunday | Sept. 3 | 8pm (1pm EDT)
For those attending Ashkenazi services in the High Holidays, the melodies, modes and motifs of the prayers generate the atmosphere and feeling of the Days of Awe, no less than the words of the prayers themselves.
Our three-part series explores the melodies and nusach formulas used on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to understand the mechanisms that enable such a powerful synagogue experience.