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(b Lisbon, 1437; d Venice, 1508). Philosopher and biblical exegete. His writing on music forms the introduction to his commentary on Exodus xv (the ‘Song of the Sea’, 1505; I-Rvat Rossiano 925, also printed in Venice in 1579). Relying on earlier sources including Ibn Rushd's commentary on Aristotle's Poetics and Moses ibn Tibbon's commentary on the Song of Solomon, Abrabanel describes three kinds of verse set to music: with metre and rhyme, as in Hebrew hymns (piyyutim); without metre or rhyme, yet arranged in a succession of short and long lines (as in the ‘Song of the Sea’); and metaphorical texts, by which he appears to refer to Psalms. Whereas, for him, the first and third kinds do not require music to qualify as poetry (prosodic considerations prevail in the first, conceptual ones in the third), the second kind does (its construction depends on its musical usage). Yet all three kinds rely on music for their usual mode of presentation. The author recognizes different functions for music in conjunction with poetry: to serve as a mnemonic device for retaining the texts, to improve the understanding of their content, and to elevate the spirit....

Article

William Y. Elias

(b Berlin, Jan 17, 1925). Israeli musicologist of German birth. He settled in Palestine in 1937, and studied music at the Paris Conservatoire (1949–53) and under Corbin at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (diploma 1961). He then attended the musicology institute at the Sorbonne, where he studied with Chailley and in 1963 took a doctorat de 3ème cycle with a dissertation on learned musical practice in several Jewish communities in 17th- and 18th-century Europe. Concurrently, he was head of the Hebraica-Judaica section at the Bibliothèque Nationale (1950–63). He returned to Israel to become the director of the music department and national sound archives at the Jewish National and Hebrew University library in Jerusalem (1963–9), and was subsequently director of the library (1969–71). In 1964 he founded the Jewish music research centre at the Hebrew University and was its director (...

Article

(b Frankfurt, Sept 11, 1903; d Brig, Switzerland, Aug 6, 1969). German writer on music and philosopher. The son of a businessman of Jewish extraction, Oscar Alexander Wiesengrund, and a professional singer of Catholic Corsican origin, Maria Calvelli-Adorno della Piana, he adopted his mother's name in the 1920s, initially as Weisengrund-Adorno, dispensing with the hyphen in 1938. In 1937–8 he also wrote briefly under the pseudonym Hektor ‘Rottweiler’.

Strongly influenced by Ernst Bloch's Vom Geist der Utopie and Georg Lukács's Theorie des Romans while still at school, and having had a musical upbringing, with piano, violin and composition lessons from an early age, in 1921 he went on to study philosophy (with Hans Cornelius) at the University of Frankfurt with musicology, sociology and psychology as subsidiary subjects, continuing composition studies with Bernhard Sekles and piano with Eduard Jung. During his student years he became friendly with the philosopher Max Horkheimer and the literary critic Walter Benjamin, who both had considerable influence on his development. Three years after starting university he took the doctorate with a dissertation on Husserl (...

Article

(b c1435; d after 1504). Italian philosopher and biblical exegete. He wrote briefly on music in his Ḥesheq shelomoh (‘Solomon's desire’), a commentary on the Song of Solomon, written during the period 1488–92 at the request of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Music is discussed in relation to Hebrew poetics, then classified for its varieties and described for its powers. Under poetics, Alemanno notes that the word shir (‘song’) applies to poetry and music and, within music, to both vocal and instrumental types; he then discerns its usage in three species of poetry: metric and rhymed; non-metric and non-rhymed; and metaphorical. In accordance with the Latin music theorists Alemanno recognizes three kinds of music: natural, artificial and theoretical; the first two refer respectively to vocal and instrumental music and the third (nigun sikhli) to what other Hebrew theorists designate as ḥokhmat ha-musiqah (‘the science of music’). On the effect of music, Alemanno notes its power to awaken love on both earthly (or secular) and divine (or sacred) planes, which correspond to what he conceives as the two exegetical planes – the literal and the allegorical – for interpreting the ...

Article

Don Harrán

(b Spain, c1420; d Naples, 1494). Rabbi and philosopher. Following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, he settled in Naples. He referred to music under the heading nigun ‘olam (‘cosmic music’) in chapter 12 of his ‘Aqedat Yits ḥaq (‘Binding of Isaac’), a homiletic interpretation of the Pentateuch which survives in a manuscript source ( I-Ra Or.58) and in a print from Salonika (now Thessaloníki), dated 1522. Expounding the theme of cosmic order, i.e. harmony, Arama established its existence on lower and higher levels, hence the relationship between the micro- and macrocosm, or music as made and performed by man and music as divine harmony. On both levels, music is governed by scriptural precepts; and he who observes them is in greater harmony with the ‘greater instrument’. Arama saw the laws of music as enfolded in the laws of Torah; the study of Torah thus becomes a form of music-making. Failure to obey the scriptures leads to deficient harmony, or dissonance, which ends in destruction. Torah is powerful only if the soul of the believer is tuned to its ordinances. That the microcosm is subordinate to the macrocosm follows from Arama's general premise that divine truth is superior to human reasoning, i.e. philosophy, and that when the two are in conflict, or ‘out of tune’, philosophy yields to the Holy Writ. It is for man to redress the imbalance, restoring consonance through faith....

Article

Jean Gribenski

(b Düsseldorf, Aug 16, 1930). Israeli and French ethnomusicologist . After studying the french horn with Jean Devémy at the Paris Conservatoire (1951–4), he was first horn in the Israel Broadcasting Authority SO in Jerusalem (1958–63). In 1963 he founded the Musée National Boganda at Bangui in the Central African Republic, and was its director until 1967, and on returning to Paris he undertook musicological studies with Chailley at the Sorbonne (1968–73). He entered the CNRS in 1968 and his subsequent career has been with that institution. In 1993 he was appointed lecturer at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He was an associate professor at Tel-Aviv University (1979–83) and music director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (1980–82). He has been awarded the Grand Prix International du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros (1971, 1978 and ...

Article

William Y. Elias

[Loewenstein, Herbert]

(b Danzig [now Gdánsk], May 25, 1908; d Magen, Sept 16, 1994). Israeli musicologist. He studied musicology, literature and art history at the universities of Leipzig, Munich, Frankfurt and Königsberg (Kaliningrad), where he took the doctorate under Wilhelm Warringer in 1931 with a dissertation on Minnesang. He was prevented from pursuing an academic career in Germany, and turned to publishing Jewish art in Berlin (1932–6). In 1936 he settled as a publisher in Palestine, where research in musicology had barely begun, and he had to carry on his musicological work independently, publishing articles mostly in foreign periodicals. Urged to adapt himself to the demands of a country under war conditions, he developed a chemical production process and worked as a technical manager in industry (1941–8) before joining the Israel Air Force research department. He left the service with the rank of major to take up a research fellowship in musicology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (...

Article

Ronit Seter

[Berman, Bernhardt]

(b Wiesbaden, July 20, 1923). Israeli critic, composer and musicologist. He moved to Mandatory Palestine in 1936. After studying composition with Paul Ben-Haim, his most influential teacher, Bar-Am attended the Ecole Normale de Paris (1949–51). He studied musicology at Tel-Aviv University (BA 1977), where he became the principal lecturer for courses on Jewish music and Israeli contemporary music (1973–96) and the first director of the Archive of Israeli Music. The secretary general of the Israeli League of Composers (1960–76, 1976–8), he became chair of the organizing committee of the ISCM in Israel in 1980. Though most influential as the music critic of the Jerusalem Post between 1958 and 1995, Bar-Am also wrote many essays on Israeli music in Hebrew, English and German, notably ‘A Musical Gateway between East and West’ (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 1988). He ceased composing in the early 1970s but resumed in ...

Article

G.V. Kopïtova

(Yakovlevich) [Aron-Moysha]

(b Termakhovka, Kiev Province, Dec 28, 1892; d Kiev, Aug 12, 1961). Ukrainian ethnomusicologist. From 1915 to 1920 he studied composition at the Kiev Conservatory with Yavorsky; he also led choirs and taught music in Jewish schools. He continued his composition studies at the Petrograd Conservatory with Steinberg (1922–4) and from 1927 he concentrated on the methodology of folklore studies with Kvitka at the musical ethnography department of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences in Kiev. From 1929 to 1949 he headed the department for musical folklore at the Institute of Jewish Proletarian Culture of the academy (in 1936 the Institute was reduced to the Cabinet of the study of the Jewish language, literature and folklore; in 1949 it was liquidated). He undertook numerous expeditions to transcribe Jewish musical folklore (1200 recorded cylinders, 4000 transcriptions), and he collected and transcribed Ukrainian, and later Bashkir folklore material. He also taught at the Kiev Conservatory (...

Article

Martin Stokes

(b Boscobel, WI, Aug 8, 1952). American ethnomusicologist. He received the BM in piano at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975, and the MM in 1980 and the PhD in 1984 in musicology and ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with Bruno Nettl and Alexander Ringer; he also studied for two years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with Amnon Shiloah, 1980–82. He was assistant professor at MacMurray College (1982–4) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (1985–7) before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he was appointed professor in 1999. He was visiting professor at the University of Vienna, 1995–6. In 1997 he was awarded the Dent medal.

Bohlman's work may be characterized as a sustained critique of modernity, canon-formation and the monumentalization of 19th-century Austro-German musical practice through an ethnographic engagement with the ‘others’ of Europe, whether on, or within its margins. His earlier work investigated music-making among immigrant Jews in early 20th-century Palestine; his later work brings ethnographic critique back to the centre, exploring popular religious, street and folk musics in Vienna and elsewhere in Central Europe. Other areas of research include immigrant and ‘ethnic’ folk musics in America, and the intellectual history of ethnomusicology. In addition to extensive publications in these areas, Bohlman is editor of the series Recent Researches in the Oral Traditions of Music and co-editor (with Bruno Nettl) of ‘Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology’....