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Is it permissible to play in a musical group that does not only play at 'simchas' (weddings, etc.)? I once heard someone say that playing any music in public that is not for a specific mitzvah is forbidden.

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    found this which seems to be relevant: halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Listening_to_Music#Background – jj2 Aug 25 '15 at 3:41
  • AFAIK, Itzhak Perlman is a non-religious Jew. So, all the years that he has played his violin both as a soloist as well as with multiple orchestras, Jazz bands, movie and T.V. productions, etc. he has been committing aveirot for the past 60 years? – DanF Aug 25 '15 at 15:14
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In Siman 122 the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch allows a Jewish Musician to continue playing music for non-Jews until Rosh Chodesh Av.

יִשְֹרָאֵל שֶׁפַּרְנָסָה שֶׁלוֹ בִּכְלֵי זֶמֶר, מֻתָּר לְנַגֵּן בְּבֵית אֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי בִּכְדֵי פַּרְנָסָתוֹ עַד רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ. אֲבָל מֵרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ עַד אַחַר הַתַּעֲנִית, אָסוּר. וְיוֹם שִׁבְעָה עָשָׂר בְּתַמּוּז עַצְמוֹ גַּם כֵּן אָסוּר, וְכֵן עֲשָׂרָה בְּטֵבֵת.‏

He doesn't mention that there's an issue playing for non-Jews.

However, the Shulchan Aruch in סימן תקס - לעשות זכר לחרבן forbids all types of singing and music - except for praising Hashem.

The Rema is more lenient, allowing it at weddings and (seemingly) occasionally, but not as a daily routine.

It would seem that both opinions wouldn't approve of playing for non-Jews on a permanent basis.

ג: וְכֵן גָּזְרוּ שֶׁלֹּא לְנַגֵּן בִּכְלֵי שִׁיר וְכָל מִינֵי זֶמֶר וְכָל מַשְׁמִיעֵי קוֹל שֶׁל שִׁיר לְשַׂמֵּחַ בָּהֶם; הגה: וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים דַּוְקָא מִי שֶׁרָגִיל בָּהֶם, כְּגוֹן הַמְּלָכִים שֶׁעוֹמְדִים וְשׁוֹכְבִים בִּכְלֵי שִׁיר אוֹ בְּבֵית הַמִּשְׁתֶּה (טוּר), וְאָסוּר לְשָׁמְעָם מִפְּנֵי הַחֻרְבָּן; וַאֲפִלּוּ שִׁיר בַּפֶּה עַל הַיַּיִן, אֲסוּרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: בַּשִּׁיר לֹא יִשְׁתּוּ יָיִן (יְשַׁעְיָה כד, ט) וּכְבָר נָהֲגוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לוֹמַר דִּבְרֵי תִּשְׁבָּחוֹת אוֹ שִׁיר שֶׁל הוֹדָאוֹת וְזִכְרוֹן חַסְדֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, עַל הַיַּיִן. הגה: וְכֵן לְצֹרֶךְ מִצְוָה, כְּגוֹן, בְּבֵית חָתָן וְכַלָּה, הַכֹּל שָׁרֵי (תּוֹסָפוֹת וּסְמַ''ג וְהַגָּהוֹת מַיְמוֹנִי).

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I heard on a daf yomi shiur

That , The reason that music is forbidden is that it is not good to rejoice after the Bais hamikdosh was destroyed, the reasons it is permitted is it is used for good things (wedding) or it has torah in the lyrics (so by singing or listening you are leaning)

  • hazoriz do you remember which mesechta? this sounds like the Shulcan Aruch i've heard, that music is forbidden all year (not just sefiras haomer), but from what I remember it's a machlokes.. – jj2 Aug 25 '15 at 3:09
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    @Hugh I am looking for it now – hazoriz Aug 25 '15 at 3:10
  • @Hugh The shulchan aruch sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh,_Orach_Chayyim.560.3 – hazoriz Aug 25 '15 at 3:13
  • @Hugh See Bais yosef 3 beta.hebrewbooks.org/tursa.aspx?a=oc_x2607 , he brings that for a mitzva (wedding) ok, and brings form sota 48a and gitin 7a – hazoriz Aug 25 '15 at 3:19
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    Isn't there a rather detailed letter in Igrot Moshe that addresses listening to music, in general? I am disturbed that there would be an active prohibition for all musicians. My father-in-law made his parnassa not just in the Jewish wedding business but also playing in klezmer and jazz bands. He also played at a few Lubavitch events that were not "Simcha" related. It seems the Rebbe had no problem with what he did for a living. He constantly hired him. So, my father-in-law wasn't allowed to play in a jazz band? – DanF Aug 25 '15 at 16:12

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