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Musical Instruments in Israel
Presented by Karen Lin and Allan Tang

As you listen to our presentation, focus on this question- The musical instruments involved in the making of “Jewish music” are as diverse as the Jewish people themselves. How are these four instruments instrumental to the representation of music in Israel?

Violin

History
-Descendant of the viol, an instrument of 15th century Spain
-Jews contributed to the development of violin in Italy.
-Emergence of violin coincides with Jewish migration from Spain to Italy.

Why are Jews so fond of the violin?
-Violin prevalent in media that attempts to represent the Jewish culture
​-Schindler’s List theme employs solo violin
​-The Fiddler on the Roof represents the “precariousness” of Jewish society
-Versatile, intense, passionate instrument that expresses Jewish emotions and experience
-“Ticket into the big city”-Violin linked to Hope because of the many possibilities for an orchestra job in the city.
-Like Asians and pianos, most young Jews had to take up the violin or lose to the “kid next door”

How is the Arabic violin different from its European counterpart?
-Called “kaman” in Arabic
-Adopted from Europe during second half of 19th century
-Suited for maqam, due to its lack of frets
-Moroccans play “gamba style,” placing the violin on their laps
-Tuned in fourths and fifths (GDGD), played in ornate style, can sound nasal and penetrating

Who are some famous Jewish Violinists?
-Miri Ben-Ari, hip-hop
-Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern, classical

Oud

History
– Originate from another Persian instrument called the barbat, dating back to the Sassanid (Persian) empire in 224 A.D.
– Spread to Andalusia, or present day Spain most likely through Islamic conquests
– 1492 Spanish Inquisition resulting in European adaptation of the lute and the exile of Jews from Spain to Northern Africa and the Middle East.

– the ud was considered the king of musical instruments in the Arab world
​- versatility, popularity
– can be played in two distinctive styles: Ottoman and Egyptian
Al-Farid – Egyptian style: http://www.mikeouds.com/audio/farido1.mp3
Yair Dalal – Ottoman style

Symbolism
– known for its calming, healing, and meditative properties
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwl9QJWq-2o&feature=youtu.be&t=1m6s
– symbol of tranquility: “the ud invigorates the body…It calms and revives hearts” (Grove)
– structure of harmonious proportions

Yair Dalal
– representing Israel and Middle Eastern cultures, fusing them through music
– peace activist between the two cultures
– Opinion: use of the ud as a symbol of peace

Ud in Shaping Israeli History
– Erza Aharon: ud player and singer who immigrated to Jerusalem in 1934
​- created a small radio program called “Sounds of the East”
​- “wished to provide the Arabic music with a new national Jewish style, encompassing Hebrew texts, western instruments, and harmonization” (Hirshberg 198-199)
– Early Hebrew songs were translated from Arabic, ud suitable to back up singing

Shofar

History
– only Jewish liturgical instrument that survived the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE.
– made out of a ram’s horn

Symbolism
– Ties to the Binding of Isaac
​- (From Genesis 22) Story of a ram sacrificed in place of Isaac, son of Abraham
– Mount Sinai
​- (From Exodus 16) Story of when God descended and gave Moses the ten commandments.
– Played during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
– Sounding of War

Sounds of the Shofar

– tekiah: broken interrupted sound
– shevarim: three triplet blasts, like three shorter tekiah
– terual: nine staccato short notes
– tekiah gedolah: held as long as possible

Qanun

History
-Descendant of the Egyptian harp, dating back to the 10th century
-Means “law,” “rule,” or “norm” in Arabic and establishes the law of pitch for other instruments and singers
-Meant to play in Maqamat (Arabic mode)

Symbolism
-Concertino for Kanun (Qanun), English Horn, Clarinet, Strings and Percussion, Op. 292 (1959) is written by famous Jewish composer Marc Lavry for Iraqi qanun player Avraham David Cohen, who immigrated to Israel in 1949. The piece uses Western harmony but features a traditional Arabic instrument
-Represents the Jewish craft of creative improvisation and absorption of different styles, as the wandering klezmer ensembles did in Europe.

Ali Amr
-Grew up amid war in Ramallah, Palestine (just north of Jerusalem), overcame many logistical difficulties just to attend Berklee College of Music in America
-”Music was my support through it all. I was really influenced by war to create music, and by music to fight against war…Music is peace.”
-Composes his own music, fusing Arabic elements with jazz
-Also a vocalist, singing in traditional style

References
Violin
Jews and the Violin: http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/Did-Jews-invent-the-violin
History: https://www.google.com/search?q=violin+history&espv=210&es_sm=93&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=XmiNUon3FIv8iQK1-IH4CQ&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAA&biw=1517&bih=755&dpr=0.9
Brief introduction to Arabic instruments: http://www.maqamworld.com/instruments.html

Ud
Yair Dalal biography: http://www.yairdalal.com/index.php/en/biography.html
Grove entry on the Ud: http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/28694.
Grove entry on Iran including information on the barbat: http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/13895#S13895.2.5
Garland Encyclopedia on the Ud: http://glnd.alexanderstreet.com/view/330282
Yair Dalal history of the oud and its healing properties: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwl9QJWq-2o
Erza Aharon Entry in the Hirshberg:
Hirshberg, Jehoash. “Westerners Meet Arabic Music.” Music in the Jewish Community of Palestine, 1880-1948: A Social History. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995. 198-99. Print.

Shofar
Shofar, its use and its origins [book], requires Berkeley library: https://babel.hathitrust.org/shcgi/pt?id=mdp.39015007926341;view=1up;seq=6
Meaning of the Shofar (also in the shofar book, but with interpretation):
http://ohr.edu/1191
Pitches and Notes of the Shofar: http://www.musicofthebible.com/extra_shofar.htm
Exodus 19: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+19&version=NIV
Genesis 22: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+22&version=NIV
Rosh Hashanah information:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/holiday2.html
http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Judaism/Rosh-Hashana-The-sound-of-the-shofar-325263

Youtube links on people’s opinion on the meaning of the shofar, accuracy is unknown and used as supplement/interesting information:

Qanun
Concertino for Qanun: http://www.marclavry.org/2011/03/16/concertino-for-kanun-qanun-english-horn-clarinet-strings-percussion-op-292/
http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/d/EventDetails/i/38590/pid/187
Ali Amr profile: http://www.berklee.edu/news/627/student-profile-ali-amr
Jewish musical identity: http://books.google.com/books?id=b9ST9c-7_z0C&pg=PA18&lpg=PA18&dq=qanun+in+jewish+society&source=bl&ots=sJcMta_J0n&sig=JZpOf0R6FV68_oBt7HZ89PdmhJc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7AWNUrm7DYHqiwLNtoCwCg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=qanun%20in%20jewish%20society&f=false
Brief history: http://www.sarahmichael53.com/about-the-qanun.html

I always enjoy reading the proposals submitted by the students of Music in Israel for their class projects (papers, presentations and performances, as outlined in the Class Syllabus). Then, I begin thinking, and learning, from them. I divide them into groups, and created graphs to describe their formats and contents.

It should suggest where things are at, now that we have reached the middle of the Semester.

Format-wise, students were somewhat “conservative.” Most students opted for the traditional “paper” (or essay) format. Some went for collaborative class presentations. And a few (but still a considerable number) chose to produce and present a performance to the class.

Music in Israel | Fall 2013 | Student Project Formats

In terms of the topic that students chose to work on, regardless of the format of their projects, I was able to isolate four major groups: ethnographic and ethnomusicological themes, the study of art music, the study of popular music, and the relationship between music and history.

Music in Israel | Fall 2013 | Student Project Topics

Ethnographic projects cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from the emergence of Judeo-Spanish song and Klezmer music between ethnography and commercial revival, to the sacred/secular divide in Israeli (musical) culture, issues of gender, various types of fieldwork (including the “ethnography of the Self”…), the study of traditional musical instruments, of the relationship between music and food, the role of Arabic maqam in Jewish music, music education, music in the Kibbutz, and the role of music in various Jewish “ethnic communities,” from Russia and Romania to Central Asia.

Students working on popular music will be covering a variety of themes, including Jazz, world Jewish and Israeli “pop,” ethnic rock, punk rock, Hip hop, and religious rock, the impact of American music on Israel’s popular music, the work of specific artists or ensembles (including Naomi Shemer, Shlomo Carlebach, and the Idan Reichel Project), and the impact of conflict and the role of the Israeli Defence Forces in shaping popular musical culture.

Art music is well represented as well, with topics ranging from the Israeli piano and vocal repertoires, to the impact of America’s Jewish composers on Israeli music, to the important issue of “style” (Mediterraneims, Orientalism, etc.) in Israel’s musical aesthetics.

The relationship between music and history will be mainly investigated in two directions: the role of film (and especially film music) in narrating history and representing culture, and the musical representations of the Holocaust.

Perhaps we are half way done, but it looks like a busy end of semester is coming up!

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View this document on Scribd

Next Tuesday, we should all be displaying (especially me, I suspect) our best behavior, since we are welcoming another UC Berkeley Class, Jewish Studies 101, co-taught by Erich Gruen and Hannah Setlzer, who asked me to give a talk on the history of Jewish musical culture, with a particular reference to Italy in the early-modern period.

To make sure that we can still connect this class with the topic of our course, I offered to speak about “Jewish Culture and Jewish Cultural Products” (with a specific reference to music). I am somewhat confident that it will end up raising some relevant issues in regards to music in Israel (especially: is there a specificity to Jewish cultural production in a context of Jewish self-government?), even though for a day we will be (sonically) inhabiting the world of the Italian ghettos.

On Thursday, we resume our 20th-century focus, and discuss the impact of Jewish history (and Jewish musical history) on the work of select Israeli composers: Tsippi Fleisher,  Paul Ben-Haim (whose music we now know quite well), Noam Sheriff and Oded Zehavi.

Here’s the weekly listening assignment sheet:

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We will be watching, listening to, discussing and questioning Emmanuel Witzthum’s installation, Dissolving Localities | Berkeley Jerusalem.  Emmanuel Witzthum current project, on view at The Magnes, will be the focus of much of our work.

[youtube http://youtu.be/GCIlTzCuTKs]

I’ve posted the week’s assignments guidelines:

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Here are Witzthum’s notes for a concert devoted to his work that took place last weeks at UC Berkeley’s CNMAT:

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This week we explore the sources of the notions of “Orientalism” in the musical culture of Israel. Here are the week’s listening assignments.

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