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Learning the trope systems for specific Sephardic or Mizrahi communities isn't the most easy since many of the melodies have mixed in together (creating something like the Yerushalmi), or just a lack of knowledgeable teachers. However, there were instances when gentile Europeans traveled to the middle east to chronicle and notate the chanting systems of these communities, writing them down into sheet music with various descriptions. Can these sources be trusted and used for learning particular nusachim for trope?

The specific instance in question was documented for Egyptian Cantillation, it was documented by french musicologist Guillaume André Villoteau in the years 1798 to 1800, but his work wasn't published until 1826.

You can see the work here, which is written in french, with mixes of Hebrew characters, and sheet music.

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    well unless one can find some halachic impropriety in using inaccurate cantillation, then there isnt any danger in using it. – mevaqesh Jul 27 '15 at 21:13
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    @mevaqesh If the inaccurate cantillation results in improperly parsing the sentence, that could be a halachic impropriety. – Daniel Jul 28 '15 at 0:10
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    Similar: Johann Reuchlin, a German Hebraist, documented the form of the German trop, which is nearly identical to what was in use as recently as the 1930s (and in declining use in the post-war period). – Noach MiFrankfurt Jul 28 '15 at 2:10
  • @Daniel You raised an interesting important point. I don't read music well, but I can say that by viewing the music for a single trope note, I don't think even the best musician would know if it creates a pause or not. I think it has to be viewed within the context of its neighboring notes. Having said that, I'm not sure if the music alone is what would alter any phrasing as long as each note has its distinct cantilation and can be identified that way. E.g. - an etnachta is pronounced differently from something else, so if you sing the etnachta in the wrong place, THAT changes its meaning. – DanF Jul 28 '15 at 13:41
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt If you have a link or can lead me to locating some documentation on this, I'm interested. I last heard the German trope used in Cong. Sha'arei Tzedek in "The Heights" when I lived there a few decades ago. I use it myself in my shul on Yom Tov (except Yamim Nora'im, of course.) I do it based on what I remember, but, I sense that there are some notes I'm singing incorrectly or not as well as I could. – DanF Jul 28 '15 at 18:02

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