Category: Prayer / T’fillah

‘God is in the detail’: a composer’s perspective on crafting modern Jewish sacred music

Summary of sections: Prayer, words and music – the role of sacred music ‘Reaching out without dumbing down’ Music as theology; music as midrash ‘Prayer: the lost art’ Making music holy – kodesh ‘God is in the detail’ – 25

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Elohai N’shamah – its music and meaning

Music and recording © Alexander Massey 11 March 2015 The sheet music is available for purchase as part of ‘Five Sacred Chants’. אֱלהַי נְשָׁמָה שֶׁנָּתַתָּ בִּי טְהורָה הִיא Elohai, n’shamah shenatata bi, t’horah hi. My God, the soul You have

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Five Sacred Chants

‘Five Sacred Chants’ is an 11-page sheet music set of simple rounds and chants for 2 or 3 voices. It includes a a 4-page introduction with an essay ‘What’s the point of chanting?’, and short commentaries on each of the

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What’s the point of chanting?

The focus of chants is not singing, but prayer – avodat lev (or avodah shebalev), ‘service/work of the heart’. When we chant, it is not the quality of our voice or musicianship that counts, but the quality of our intention (kavanah). However

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Han’shamah Lach – a new musical setting

Music and Audio © Alexander Massey 13 Sept 2018 Enjoy listening! Fuller commentary / essay coming soon – in the meantime, here are some brief details about the prayer: The prayer is usually associated with High Holy Days. Yamim Noraim,

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Omer Day 7 – Malchut of Chesed

Composition and audio © Alexander Massey 20 May 2014 Many years ago, someone commented to me that I didn’t always say ‘thank you’ when it might have been appropriate. I was shocked, and embarrassed. I was convinced I was grateful.

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Omer Day 1 – Chesed of Chesed

Music and recording © Alexander Massey 11 March 2015 The sheet music is available for purchase as part of ‘Five Sacred Chants’. Further commentary about this text can be found in two other of my articles: Elohai N’shamah: its music

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Outline for Shabbat morning davenen

Introduction This is my own personal take on the sequence of the Shabbat morning service. I have drawn from several siddurim (prayerbooks), from Orthodox, through Jewish Renewal to UK Reform and Liberal. I have included most of the big ‘set

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A note on prayer

In 1872, Francis Galton wrote a now famous essay entitled ‘Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer’1 and concluded that prayer has no effect on either God, or the health or life expectancy of the person prayed for. The essay

Kaddish

Composition and audio © Alexander Massey 5 Dec 2015 Much could be (and has been) written about the Kaddish (to which I have put links below). Although one version is referred to as mourner’s kaddish, it is part of our

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