I know that the Sifrei Emes (Tehillim, Mishlei, Iyov) use a different system of taamim. Why is this?

What is it about these books that makes it that they cannot — or should not — use the regular system? (Or, for that matter, what is it about all the rest of the books in Tanach that makes them unable to use the taamei emes?)

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    Very related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1129/… – Isaac Moses Feb 6 '12 at 14:54
  • related or duplicate? What's the difference? – avi Feb 6 '12 at 15:23
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    @avi, The difference is that that question asks why the sifrei emes need taamim at all, to which the answer is that all the sefarim need a punctuation system. My question is, why is the system different for these sefarim than all the others? – jake Feb 6 '12 at 15:27
  • A follow up question on this topic... Do these Trop function in the same way as far as accenting the words (as it does elsewhere?) – Shmuel Goldstein Mar 3 '20 at 18:42
  • @ShmuelGoldstein judaism.stackexchange.com/q/97778/759 – Double AA Jun 14 at 1:48

All three books (Iyov Mishlei and Tehillim) are written in a complex poetic style. The separate trop represents the shift from prose to poetry and may have been sung in a more songful manner than the regular prose trop. A proof to this distinction lies in Iyov, whose first, second and final chapters are written in prose and have regular trop.

EDIT: The structural difference between the prose and poetry parts of Iyov can be seen in this clip from the Aleppo Codex (Keter Aram Tzova) showing Iyov 2:11 - 3:6. Notice how once it switches to poetry, the text is split into two columns reminicesnt of the way Ha'azinu is written in a Torah. This pattern extends through the poetic sections.
aleppo codex showing job 2:11 - 3:6

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    How are Mishle and Iyov more poetic than Koheles or Shir Hashirim? – msh210 Feb 6 '12 at 17:40
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    Also the first pasuk of Chapter 3 – Double AA Feb 6 '12 at 17:40
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    @msh210 Shir HaShirim uses lots of poetic imagery (metaphors etc.) but it's not structurally poetic. Your better question is Haazinu or Shirat Devorah, and to that I say the trop for Emet was developed later, or that not being Neviim proper they weren't as limited, or that being significant portions of their respective books, Emet get special trop but minor inserted poems do not. – Double AA Feb 6 '12 at 17:45
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    Interesting. Do you have evidence that these three books are more poetically structured that the rest of Tanach, or just from experience with reading them? – jake Feb 6 '12 at 17:53
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    @DoubleAA, Thanks. I might ask a follow-up question though, about what features of the ta'amei emes make it more useful for poetic structure. – jake Mar 16 '12 at 21:17

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