Notes on haphtorah and torah cantillation pages
Following this link will take you to a page showing the common tropes
for haphtorah cantillation, their musical notation and the tunes
themselves as embedded sound files.
You can print the page off to refer to the musical notation, or you can
play the notes live on your computer from the embedded sound files. Hopefully the
advantage this may offer to some people is that it provides tunes commonly used
About the tunes
The tunes are intended to represent the western Ashkenazi ones used nowadays in many British
synagogues, although I gather that considerable variation is legitimate.
Mostly they are from Jacklyn Chernett, and I am extremely grateful to
her for providing them. However a few are influenced by
those given in the Hertz chumash, which to my unmusical ear sometimes
sounded more like what we usually hear in shul (most of the Hertz tunes
do not). I also had some valuable input from Daniel Tunkel who runs the
Jewish Music Distribution Company, for which I
am also grateful. Since I first produced these notes Victor Tunkel has written a whole book
on the subject: The Music of the Hebrew Bible: The Western Ashkenazic Tradition.
Jaclyn Chernett writes:
Daniel Tunkel gave me many helpful comments on an earlier version which
I have now hopefully incorporated, but
the following additional points seem worth reproducing:
- There is no exact meter and timings are approximate
- Pashta is always over the last letter in its word
- Zarka is always over the last letter in its word
- Segol is always over the last letter in its word
- Telisha ketana is always over the last letter in its word
- Telisha gedola is always over the first letter in its word
- Yetiv is always before the first in its word
- All other ta'amim denote accented syllables
- Telisha ketana always precedes kadma, is a very unimportant
non-pausal trop and needs to be studied in context of the various trop
which surrounds it. Because the pattern of notes descends, many people
think that telisha ketana is pausal: if you look at the sort of words on which it
occurs, you can see that in fact this cannot be so, from the context of
the Hebrew. But readers still put a lot of effort into the telisha ketana without
realising that it is always joined to the very next word.
- The reader needs to
know how to tell yetiv apart from mahpach (the same symbol). There is a
simple rule: mahpach is always followed by pashta, while yetiv is
never followed by pashta.
- No guidance is offered over what I call the misconception of the
"double pashta". There is much that could be said about this, but in
summary it is incorrect to construe this as a different trop from pashta
- The second type of munach given in the Hertz
is what is often referred to as legarmei, and occurs
in a few uncommon places. It is
nothing like as important a trop to know as the first munach.
There are various other types of munach, for
example that which comes between zarka and segol. (I have not included
munach as a separate trop in the current version of the page - DC)
Lester Kershenbaum adds:
And I have this from Osher Posen:
- The statement you include about differentiating the machpach from the yetiv
is "not quite" correct; there are at least two exceptions to this rule in the
Torah cantillation: Leviticus 5:2 and Deuteronomy 1:4.
I read with interest your statement "No guidance is offered over what I call the misconception of the "double pashta" quoted from Daniel Tunkel.
You are correct in saying that many people misconstrue this as a completely separate note, which really irks me when I hear it. In fact I know "professional" teachers who lein like this.
However the reason behind this note is simply to tell you that the stress is on the first part of the word, rather than the default end of the word as is commonly found in Hebrew.
Rather than browse the pages online you can download this
zip file which
contains all the relevant files making up the pages. Then you can unzip it
on your own computer and load the file from that without having to make
an internet connection.
I hope people may find these pages of some use. There is a vast amount which
I gather could be written on the subject, and indeed Daniel Tunkel is preparing
a whole book on this. I would welcome any comments people have, and ultimately
these may lead to the development of a more comprehensive treatment.
I have now obtained tunes for the common torah tropes from Jackie Chernett and
have produced corresponding pages for them. The notes above should
pretty much apply to the torah cantillation pages as well. Again, there
seems to be a good deal of variability allowable in the tunes, and
indeed in some cases you may prefer tunes similar to those provided for the haphtorah
Here are those links again:
- Here is the page with embedded files for haphtorah
- Here is the page with embedded files for torah
- Here is the zip file - lets you set pages up on your own
Here a few other sites which may be of interest
Dave Curtis 27/8/17