Cantillation Survey

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If you’ve been to a few different Torah services you’ve probably noticed that everyone who chants from the Torah has their own particular way of doing it. There are standards for how things should go, but in terms of what notes people sing, and how elaborate they get, there’s an infinite amount of variation. That said, even cantillation from different parts of the world–say, Iraqi traditional trope versus Eastern European trope–has a lot in common, indicating that there was one ancestor to all of these contemporary versions.

A professor at the University of Kentucky is doing a study of the different versions of cantillation in American synagogues. Professor Jonathan Glixon and his grad students are trying to get as many people as possible to record themselves chanting the first three verses of Deuteronomy, so they can analyze the similarities and difference in cantillation. If you read Torah, I encourage you to take part in this study. Make a recording, and send it to Gregory Springer [Gregory (dot) springer (at) uky (dot) edu] as an attachment. Gregory is also happy to record you chanting over the phone, or to accept cassette tapes, if you’re rocking it old school. Email him for details.

Posted on February 10, 2011

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One thought on “Cantillation Survey

  1. Jonathan Glixon

    My students and I would be delighted to have additional participants in our study. Thank you very much for your participation in this project. I would ask, please, that if you can record the cantillation yourself please send it directly to me at jonathan.glixon@uky.edu. If you would prefer to have it recorded over the telephone, it would be best to send me an e-mail with contact information, including your location–I will forward the message to the student assigned to that region (so that no single student, such as Gregory, mentioned in the original post, is overwhelmed with telephone calls), and you will be contacted as soon as possible. We would be delighted also to know anything you can tell us about the trope you use.
    We don’t yet know what form this study will eventually take, but will certainly be happy to share at least our conclusions when we can.
    Shavuah tov!

    Jonathan Glixon

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