liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
My community is wonderful in many ways, but the big problem we have is that there is no overlap between people who know the traditional tunes and people who have musical ability. Me, I have a pretty good knowledge of various different liturgical styles, but since I can't hold a tune*. I have no sensible way of giving anybody else access to the knowledge that's in my head. The community is kind of Orthodox-ish, at least in tradition, so they don't really want to use instrumental or recorded music during most services.

It's a bit depressing to go through the High Holy Days with no singing at all; having even a little bit of music can make a big difference to how emotionally effective the liturgy is. So I'm trying to find stuff online that the singers among the community can learn from. I would like to focus on a couple of piyyutim and big set pieces that people can sing effectively as "hymns", even though that's not the most traditional approach. Nusach would be lovely, but it's also not happening because we have a further lack of overlap between people who can read Hebrew and people who can sing.

My searches have found quite a lot of material, but none of it's exactly what I'm hoping for. So I'm asking if anyone happens to know of a resource better than what I can find by searching. Or even if anyone is better at doing very specific internet searches in Hebrew than I am, that might help as well. I'm looking for audio files that people can learn from even if they're not particularly skilled singers or particularly well versed in Jewish musical traditions. So for example, a lot of what I've come across is either chazzanut with lots of fancy ornamentation, or it's Carlebach-style almost polyphonic. I would like something with a single, clear melodic line. Preferably something that will not sound too weird to a European, Orthodox, Ashkenazi community (rather than Israeli music or American Reform stuff or Chassidic style), though I admit the chances of actually resurrecting the community's traditional tunes that people remember from childhood but can't sing any more are fairly remote.

Particular wish list:
  • The extended Kedusha as used on the festivals
  • יגדל (the festival tune)
  • אבינו מלכנו (we at least know the final line, but not the rest of it)
  • The piyyut כי הנה כחמר since this town was built around the pottery trade, so it ought to be our theme song.

    *No, seriously, I can't. And yes, I have tried to learn, over many years and with many different approaches, I just can't reliably sing in tune.
  • (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 10:47 am (UTC)
    emperor: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] emperor
    Do you think you could approximate the tune well enough for a musician to notate it and sing it back to you for revision (iterating until correct)?

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 11:00 am (UTC)
    atreic: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] atreic
    Or presumably if you had an on-line thing that was very ornamented with lots of different harmonies, you could get someone musical to listen to that, and then record themselves just singing the tune?

    [Emp - I think a 'here is a recording of what this should sound like' is as important, if not more, than 'here are some dots of what this ought to be' if you're trying to teach a group of not-very-frequent singers and can't sing yourself.

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 12:02 pm (UTC)
    tig_b: cartoon from nMC set (Default)
    From: [personal profile] tig_b
    I know someone who leads choirs and does music for High Holy Days - she may be able to offer advice/links to music.

    Would you like me to send her your link?

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 02:36 pm (UTC)
    tig_b: cartoon from nMC set (Default)
    From: [personal profile] tig_b
    I emailed her with a link to this post.

    Also this is her site:

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 12:54 pm (UTC)
    kass: "Judaism is my other fandom." (judaism)
    From: [personal profile] kass
    This may be helpful: audio clips of High Holiday Prayers, from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. It's a pretty extensive list of mp3s.

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 03:23 pm (UTC)
    siderea: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] siderea
    I thought Judaism had a solution to this problem and it's called a "cantor".

    Free advice for future reference: try to panic about musical problems at least ten weeks in advance. Not always possible, of course, emergencies happen. But ten weeks is a good point to assess the musical resources one will need for a function and do something about it. Apparently non-obvious to non-musicians: the less skilled/professional the talent you intend to tap (e.g. "Let's just ask for a volunteer from the congregation!") the MORE lead time they'll need. (Being casual about a gig does NOT reduce necessary lead time.)

    Anyway, you sound all set. If not let me know as soon as possible, and I'll hit up me resources. BTW, are you on Mi Yihoda(sp?) @stackexchange?

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-16 02:27 pm (UTC)
    hatam_soferet: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] hatam_soferet

    I'm sorry. If I hadn't come to so many weddings in the UK this year I would have budget to come out for the HHD.

    Next year there are no weddings. I could make my UK trip next year at HHD time?

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 08:17 pm (UTC)
    siderea: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] siderea
    Hey, no offense at all was taken; if anything I apologize for being insufficiently sensitive and sympathetic. "AAAAHHH!! THE MUSICIANS EVAPORATED!!!!" is a totes legit musical emergency.

    Are you all set? I have a direct analog in Jewish liturgical music, and while I don't know if she would be able to help, a report of a small earnest orthodox congregation that just lost its musical clue is likely to prompt a "TO THE CANTORMOBILE, ROBIN!" response.

    ETA: er, my mistake: it's stackoverflow. And since it's almost shabbat, I took the liberty of msging her and pointing her at this post.
    Edited Date: 2012-09-14 08:26 pm (UTC)

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 09:09 pm (UTC)
    cellio: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] cellio

    Aiieee, so sorry to hear about the musical emergency. I take it the friend is even too busy to sing into a recorder for you?

    That RRC link looks like it has a lot of what you need, and the couple items I spot-checked sounded right. What gaps do you still have? I mostly know the Reform and Carlebach melodies you're not looking for, so I don't want to just start singing stuff into a mic for you, but if there's anything I can do before about 7PM EDT today, or on Sunday, for you, I'll be happy to try. (I'm not a cantor, but I'm a pretty competent layperson and I can sing. :-) )

    You might also try Mi Yodeya (, aka, which is part of the StackExchange network (home of Stack Overflow). Yes Shabbat is soon here in the US, but if you can get the question posted before then it's still worth doing -- while most of our regulars are in the US, we've got users in Israel and I think even in Australia, and it won't be Shabbat on the US west coast for a few more hours yet, so it's possible there'd be an answer waiting for you when you check in Saturday night.

    Edit: I just checked to see where you live and I see I may already be too late. Sorry, I got here as quickly as I could.

    Edit 2: Y'know, there's no reason I couldn't just ask there on your behalf. So I did:

    Edited Date: 2012-09-14 09:57 pm (UTC)

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-14 04:02 pm (UTC)
    sunflowerinrain: Singing at the National Railway Museum (Default)
    From: [personal profile] sunflowerinrain
    An extra point is that people who can sing, can sing Hebrew from a transliteration (which is how non-liturgical non-Hebrew-speaking choirs usually do it) and therefore don't need to be able to read Hebrew. So all you need, for the words, is a transliteration. Dunno how easy that is!

    (no subject)

    Date: 2012-09-15 09:50 am (UTC)
    sunflowerinrain: Singing at the National Railway Museum (Default)
    From: [personal profile] sunflowerinrain
    Out of curiosity, do the singers have to be of the Jewish faith? Not that I'm near enough to be of use, but anyone who has sung Chichester Psalms and any of the other lovely Hebrew choral pieces and isn't a fundamentalist atheist would probably be keen to take part.

    got some!

    Date: 2012-09-16 04:21 am (UTC)
    cellio: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] cellio
    Someone just posted the following on Mi Yodeya:

    I think he recorded these himself in response to the question. (The question is here:

    If this helped you, please consider logging in there (any OpenID will do) and voting up his answer.

    Good luck! I hope this helps.


    Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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