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It's hard to describe who's tune this is and I can only refer to it as the 'commonly used' or 'popular' tune for birkat hamazon. I seems like it is compiled of many unrelated tunes. At times there are melodies for a specific phrase and at other times there are melodies for paragraphs.

Was there an 'original tune' that has now developed and where was it from?

[I'm interested in this, because I dislike the melodies (!) and of course wish to implement universal changes at some very near future.]

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this one? youtu.be/D-EhExbPqTc?t=37s –  Menachem Jun 19 '13 at 1:15
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There are different tunes in different places. For instance, Brits and Americans with similar backgrounds have different tunes. –  Charles Koppelman Jun 19 '13 at 1:59
    
Just curious - how exactly does one go about implementing universal changes? –  Dave Jun 19 '13 at 3:04
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have heard (but never confirmed) that it was composed by Rabbi Manis Mandel a"h, the longtime Menahel of Yeshiva of Brooklyn.

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This may have been the case originally, however, the tune is varied and haphazard at times. It doesn't make sense for someone to compose it in this way. In which case, who compiled the tunes and placed them in different places? I could be wrong! –  bondonk Jun 19 '13 at 14:12
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I assumed that it was originally composed this way, as a hybrid song / chant, to make it more interesting for the kids to sing. Judging by the tune's wide popularity and appeal over the last half century, I'd say it was quite successful in that regard! –  Dave Jun 19 '13 at 16:01
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