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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 15:34:19 -0400 Subject: RE: Helplessness, Prayer, and Music A few issues back I quoted the Rav, Rabbi Soloveitchick, as stating that Jewish Music is basically petionary in mood while Christian music focuses on the emotion of grandeur. In V26,n49, Jordan Wagner (correctly) notes that their are examples of petionary Christian music and examples of grandeur in Jewish music. Allow me therefore to clarify what the Rav said. * In the first place the Ravs remarks were confined to music used during services. * Furthermore "prayer" is identified with the Shmoneh Esray...while Piyutim like Ayn Calokaynu etc have a place in the service, the main concept of "prayer" are the petitions we make there. * Finally there is a subtle but clear difference between saying something is a >>trend>> and saying something as a >>blanket concept>>(Mr Wagners own term). With the above principles in mind I think the meaning of the Rav's remarks are clear. The majority of melodies used in Shmoneh Esray (Chazarath Hashatz) throughout the year and on the high holy days reflect a petionary nature consistent with the petionary content of the prayer. The music is 'usually' delivered by a soloist(the Chazan). Christian liturgical music emphasizes grandeur. The words of the masses focus a great deal on G-ds greatness The masses are delivered by choral groups (which help the atmosphere of grandeur). I believe this is an accurate statement of the trends of the music. The existence of some counterexamples here and there doesn't prohibit one from making a general statement. Finally I should point out that not all masses and Requiemsare made for Church use anymore than all Jewish instrumental music emanates from the synagogue (though some do...compare Bloch's Kol Nidre). To illustrate m1y point I would ask Mr Wagner to review the Piyutim used in Shmoneh Esray during the High holy day services. True, one can have a Choir sing VECHOL MAMINIM in a very grand manner but I think it valid to assert that works like UNETHATA TOKEF and LEKAYL ORAYCH DIN or even AVINU MALCAYNU are more characteristic of the day in the sense that we stand helpless and ask God for mercy--it is inevitable that the music should reflect this. I hope this clarifies the Ravs Remark. Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d;ASA; rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu