This study is the first of two connected articles. The present article proposes an approach to the aesthetics of the vast but conceptually homogenous culture of the East European Jewish prayer chant. After an introduction presenting the problems of the scholarship on the topic, the article will discuss, in a summary fashion, two fundamental practices of East European Jewish prayer chant and their meaning: davenen (the simplest form of the recitative chant of the prayers) and heterophony (the soundscape of the prayer house). My argument is that East European Jewish prayer chant was idiosyncratic and unique — different from the coterritorial religious chants and folk music. At the end of the article the reader will find a summary of those aspects of this music that support this argument, listing also the main features of davenen and heterophony as these were discussed in detail in the text. The second article (“The Unique Character of Prayer Chant Among the East European Jews: Part II: The Emergence of the New Aesthetics — A Historical Hypothesis”) will propose a hypothesis for the time period and the sociocultural reasons for the emergence of this unique practice of prayer chant.
|Number of pages||25|
|State||Published - 2022|
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- East European Jewish music
- Jewish music research
- Jewish prayer chant