Those of you may remember I had previously asked a question regarding a French Musicologist who had notated the Egyptian te'amim in 1798. One of the striking things I learned from that notation is that while the author claims to have written down the entire musical system, many of the cantillation marks are not represented, such as the sof pasuk, yoreach ben yomo, shofar choleich/munach, etc. The Karaite cantillation seems to also lack musicality for certain tropes as well:

We distinguish 21 cantillation accents, ignoring the Shalshelet, Merekhah Kefulah, Telishah Qetanah, Yare’ah Ben Yomo, and Munah LeGharmei, which are not considered musical accents, but stress accents and punctuation.

Source: http://www.orahsaddiqim.org/Liturgy/Cantillation.shtml

The Jewish Encyclopedia also shows some blank spaces for certain cantillation marks for Syrians, Egyptians, and Moroccans Source: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3986-cantillation

Do any other Mizrahi or Yemenite groups also have a tradition of not applying musicality to all of the cantillation marks? And if so, which?

  • "which" (in your last sentence): do you mean to ask which groups of Jews, or which marks are nonmusical?
    – msh210
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:13
  • @msh210 Either :)
    – Aaron
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:14
  • FYI - in the standard (Ashkenazi) naming of the notes such as those found in Art Scroll Chumash, the note named psik which looks like a vertical bar is not a musical note. It is used to indicate a pause.
    – DanF
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:47
  • @DanF Yes i was aware of that. In modern Sephardic/Mizrahi trope it does take on a musical action.
    – Aaron
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:52
  • @Aaron Interesting. Is there a web site where I could hear / practice Mizrachi or Temani trope?
    – DanF
    Oct 8, 2015 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


According to Idehlson the Sephardim/Mizrahim of older times did not have melodies for all of the te'amim. This could mean that as time went on the different communities started mixing and bringing additional melodies to each other.

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Source: Idehlson's Thesaurus of Oriental Hebrew Melodies Volume 2

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