Familiar title for Ps. cxliv., from the initial words of the Hebrewtext, with especial reference to its employment, together with Ps. lxvii., as an introduction to the evening prayer at the close of the Sabbath. Alone among the sections of the Hebrew ritual chanted to traditional tunes, this psalm is always set to some melody in the bright and cheerful major mode.

If one rather poor eighteenth-century air preserved in south-German congregations be left out of consideration, there is a remarkable fundamental similarity in the various chants utilized by the German and Polish Jews, by the Spanish and Portuguese according to the Dutch and West-Indian tradition, and by the Italians and the Jews of the Orient. This basal similarity especially struck the traveler Moses Israel Ḥazzan ("Kerak shel Romi," p. 4b, Leghorn, 1876). The Ashkenazic and Sephardic versions likewise agree in the change from the major mode to the minor as the end of the verse is approached. This is possibly an instance of the intentional application of the teaching of Ps. cxxxvii. 6, which has affected all of the comparatively few blithe strains in the traditional melody of Jewish public worship. The influence of the originally northern melody on the southern usage is paralleled by that of the tune Addir Hu, of similar date.

Local variants are numerous. Those in the tradition of Slavonic and Teutonic regions are due largely to the necessity of transposing the second phrase of the chant to the upper or the lower octave, according as the psalm is started in the range of a bass or a tenor voice. The chief forms of the northern chant are shown in the transcription below, at the same pitch however. The first (A) is rather favored among German, the second (B) among Polish, congregations. The southern chant (C) first appears as the subject of the setting of Ps. ix. in Benedetto Marcello's "Estro Poetico-armonico," or "Parafrasi Sopra li Salmi" (Venice, 1724), where it is headed "Intonazione degli Ebrei Spagnuoli Sopra il Salmo le-David Baruk." This intonation exhibits a more marked simplicity than the two southern versions (obviously variants diverging from it) quoted by Baer in "Ba'al Tefillah," No. 714. These developments are due to the personal variations of successive cantors, a source of change from which the congregational use of the chant customary among the northern Jews has preserved their melody to a marked extent.

  • German forms: A. Baer, Ba'al Tefillah, No. 713, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1883;
  • E. Breslaur, Sind Originale Melodien bei den Juden Geschichtlich Nachweisbar? p. 71, Leipsic, 1898;
  • S. Naumbourg, Recueil de Chants Religieux, No. 42, Paris, 1874.
  • Instrumental: Marksohn and Wolf, Synagogal Melodien, No. 15, Leipsic, 1875.
  • Polish forms: Cohen and Davis, Voice of Prayer and Praise, No. 127, London, 1889;
  • Young Israel (London), 1898, i. 340.
  • Sephardic (Dutch) forms: De Sola and Aguilar, Ancient Melodies, No. 18, London, 1857.
  • Italian: F. Consolo, Libro dei Canti d'Israele, part i., Florence, 1892.
  • Oriental: S. Naumbourg, l.c. No. 68.
A. F. L. C.
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