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 The Music of the Teamim
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The music of the Teamim is probably the most ancient form of Jewish music. Although the signs of the Teamim started to develop in the sixth century and were fixed in the tenth century by Aaron ben Asher, the musical tradition is much earlier. The saintly Rabbi Yehuda Hechasid of the twelfth century in his work Sefer Chasidim uses the term Missinai (from Sinai) in connection with Biblical cantillation implying that the music of the Biblical Teamim was given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Today we don’t know exactly how the Teamim were sung in ancient times because of the lack of musical notation in those days. Nowadays there are different musical traditions in Kriat Hatorah: the German (West European), Lithuanian (East European), Spanish, Yemenite, Iraqi, Syrian, Moroccan and Egyptian. They are all different variants of the Teamim. Nevertheless, there are similarities in melodic structure and direction showing that all traditions evolved from a common ancient origin.

There are six different musical sets of Teamim, although the signs and basic structure remains the same. They are:

  1. The Torah mode
  2. The Torah High Holidays mode
  3. The Haftarah (Prophets) mode
  4. The Shir Hashirim (song of songs), Rut (Ruth) and Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) scrolls mode
  5. The Eicha scroll mode
  6. The Book of Esther mode

The musical tradition used here is based on the Lithuanian (East European) style.

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