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Is it permitted to play an acoustic Gramophone on Shabbat? An acoustic gramophone is a non electric device that plays disc records by having them rotate under a point.

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    There's always the rabbinic issour of "שמא יתקן כלי שיר" — one may come to fix the instrument. Thus one may not play any instrument on shabbat. This may be a relevant factor to your question
    – Shababnik
    Nov 19, 2023 at 2:56
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    If this is indeed the issour, i believe it would count. A piano works on a similar concept, where a hammer hits a string...
    – Shababnik
    Nov 19, 2023 at 5:38
  • There is a Rabbinic halacha against using noisy appliances on Shabbos, even if they are set on a timeswitch, and I'd imagine that this would apply to this too Nov 19, 2023 at 10:05
  • The non-electric Gramophones needed to be cranked up in order for them to play. Would that be like winding a mechanical clock on Shabbos? Nov 19, 2023 at 16:32
  • Some opine that winding a mechanical clock on Shabbos involves תיקון מנה, which would appear to also apply to cranking the Gramophone. Nov 19, 2023 at 18:36

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It is forbidden to sound musical tones on Shabbat using a musical instrument. The issue is not about using electricity but so one does not come to fix the instrument since repairing an instrument on Shabbat is a Torah transgression -- either boneh (building) or make be patish (making an item usable).

The Rambam writes (Hilchot Shabbat 23:4)

Accordingly, it is forbidden to sound musical tones on the Sabbath, whether using a musical instrument - e.g., a harp or a lyre - or using another object.

This is codified by the Shulchan Aruch in OC 339:3 in the context of clapping hands

We do not clap nor to we slap our hand to our thighs nor do we dance. This is a rabbinic decree lest one come to fix a musical instrument. [...] All of this and anything similar is forbidden, based on a rabbinic decree preventing the fixing of a musical instrument.

Since it is forbidden to use instruments, even touching them is forbidden because of mukze - either kli shemelachto le-isur (a utensil used for forbidden actions) or if very valuable machmat chisaron kis (fragile utensils).

For further reading see here, here and there.

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How does the disc rotate? Probably by turning a crank, which seems no different from any number of work activities such as operating a spinning wheel or riding a bicycle. No cranks are mentioned in the Bible, so the prohibition would necessarily be rabbincal. I do not know if any rabbinical authority has specifically addressed the issue of gramaphones, but operating them by hand seem logically in involve "work."

See this article for some interesting rabbinical debates about the permissibility of music-listening on Shabbat.

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  • Is spinning a wheel prohibited?
    – Lo ani
    Nov 19, 2023 at 7:39
  • Spinning a wheel is not work. Making noise with an instrument however is generally prohibited
    – mbloch
    Nov 19, 2023 at 15:07
  • עבוצ- Spinning One may not use a spinning wheel on Shabbat to make clothing, etc. because that would be the melacha of tying. (admittedly this does not address the gramaphone question directly.) Nov 19, 2023 at 16:03
  • Please note the link in your answer refers to a Conservative "teshuva" - I'm not sure if you were aware but it is worth noting for others
    – mbloch
    Nov 20, 2023 at 4:04

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