Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Who created the trop (cantillation) for leining? Is it a Mesorah from when the Torah was written?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers 2

The te'amim (trope) symbols are about 1,000 years old and are pretty much universal within the Jewish world. They replaced earlier (and probably less efficient or more confusing) systems of notating the grammatical breakdown of verses. The actual parsing of each verse into clauses and sub-clauses is, of course, a much older oral tradition.

The melodies we assign to the trope symbols are harder to track down. They are certainly old, but have clearly changed over time, and differ from community to community. Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrachi and Yemenite Jews all have different sets of melodies and use them in very different ways, and there is a huge amount of diversity within each of these major groups.

There are a few older examples (perhaps 400-500 years old) of the tropes written out in something like modern musical notation. These come from a German Christian work of that era. From what I recall, the melodies indicated sound very little like either our modern day Western Ashkenazi or Eastern Ashkenazi trope.

share|improve this answer
    
Here is a relevant article from the Jewish Encyclopedia online. jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=109&letter=C –  Jordan Apr 16 '10 at 3:35
    
Jordan, the Christians always considered the Sefardic traditions more accurate. 400-500 years ago in Germany there were transplant communities of Sefardim in Germany. (Such as in the Altona-Emden-Hamburg region.) Compare those melodies to the Sefardic trop and see if there are any resemblances. –  Yahu Apr 19 '10 at 20:19
add comment

In all systems of trop there is a typology regarding the functions of the trop. Some are full stops, partial stops, assistants, etc. that all lend assistance in understanding the text. There is no need for a source to prove that we as Jews have known how to read the Torah and understand it since we received it.

What is not clear is the various styles of trop and the way they tend to sound like the musical cadence and scales of the host countries of the Jewish communities that they stem from.

A fair assesment could be that the style, inflection, and actual musical intonations always changed depending on the native language of the Jewish community. The pauses and other tones used may have made sense to those who spoke the language of those host countries.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.