Nigun Chakartani vaTeida – Nigun meditation on Psalm 139

Music & audio © Alexander Massey, 26 Oct 2018

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Music’s role is often to express or explore what cannot be put into words. I wrote this nigun at a time when I found myself soul searching and questioning, and wanting to reach out to God. In turning towards God, I felt that I myself was being searched and I felt the reassurance that I was in some way being met and understood. And then a phrase from Ps 139 came to me: “You have searched me out and known me”. For me, the two-quaver (eighth note) figure that occurs frequently as both a rising and falling motif expresses the gentle, insistent searching; it echoes the rising and sitting mentioned in verse two. The ascent to the ninth above key note parallels verse 8 (“If I ascend to heaven, you are there!”); and the repeated drop to the key note matches the descent into the deepest parts of myself. So, having composed the nigun, I discovered afterwards something of the inner world that I feel it represents.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

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