This video features my accompaniment, on a replica of the ancient 3000 year old Jewish Kinnor lyre, to one of the ORIGINAL melodies, once sang by the Levitical Choir in the Temple of Jerusalem!!
Following the tragic destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70AD, the entire musical legacy of the Temple, both vocal and instrumental, seemed to be forever lost. However, the Masoretic scribes preserved (along with the biblical consonantal text itself) an ancient "reading tradition" dating back (according to themselves) to the Second Temple Era; and beginning about 1200 years ago, they painstakingly copied that tradition out in exacting detail. The Masoretic Text is still the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew Bible that we have.
Part of the "reading tradition" the Masoretes preserved was a series of "accents" (te`amim), which occur throughout the entire Tanakh (Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim) in two systems. The Masoretes did not understand the meaning or the monumental significance of these accents, and for centuries, there have been countless theories as to what their original meaning was. Most theories have started from the assumption that they were to emphasize precise points of grammar in the text. Leaving aside all these debates, Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura concentrated soley on finding a MUSICAL meaning of these "accents". Through countless experiments and a laborious process of irrefutable verification (using the Hebrew verbal phrase structure itself as her "Rosetta Stone"), she finally realized that all these symbols represent musical tones: the degrees of a scale, or else ornaments of one to three notes...thus, she had discovered 3000 YEAR OLD, BIBLICAL MUSICAL NOTATION!!!
The "accents" were, in fact, representations of hand gestures, which were known to be used in antiquity (also clearly found in ancient Egyptian music) to denote both the pitch and the ornamentation of a melody. Such a system of hand gestures is known as "chironomy":
The truly fabulous recording I am accompanying on my replica Kinnor Lyre, is called "Ancient Echoes; Music from the Time of Jesus & Jerusalem's Second Temple" by SAVAE - quite simply, one of the most beautiful recordings of ancient music I have ever heard. Indeed, it was due to hearing this CD 2 years ago, which actually inspired me to teach myself to play the Kinnor Lyre!
This is Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura's restitution of the Priestly or Aaronic Blessing (Numbers 6:22-27)...last sang over 2000 years ago, by my very own Levite ancestors in the Temple of Jerusalem!
The timeless text of this hauntingly beautiful 3000 year old melody is:
May the Lord bless you and guard you -- יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
May the Lord shine His countenance toward you and be gracious to you -- יָאֵר יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
May the Lord lift up His countenance toward you and give you peace' --
יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
All of my 9 albums of mystical, ancient lyre music are now available from iTunes...
1)"An Ancient Lyre": http://bit.ly/dhCozi
2)"King David's Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel":
3)"The Ancient Biblical Lyre": http://bit.ly/9hTDje
4)"Lyre of the Levites": http://bit.ly/9baWuM
5)"Apollo's Lyre": http://bit.ly/dhCozi
6)"Ancient Times -- Music of The Ancient World": http://bit.ly/aRF5PD
7)"The Ancient Greek Modes": http://bit.ly/cZks0o
8)"The Ancient Greek Lyre": http://bit.ly/bxO7Ra
9)"Ancient Visions -- New Compositions for an Ancient Lyre": http://bit.ly/dCPmRN
Physical CDs are also available anywhere in the world from CD Baby, for 3 of my best selling albums:
"An Ancient Lyre": http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mlevy4
"King David's Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel":
"Lyre of the Levites": http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mlevy2
For full details about my albums of lyre music, and the fascinating ancient historical background, please visit my official website: