A nigun is, at its simplest, any melody. However, in my own music, I use this word only when it is wordless, and, most importantly is carefully structured to take the singer(s) and listener(s) on an emotional and spiritual journey, shaped with a specific intention. I have written much more about this in my articles, Nigun, kavanah and Chassidism and What’s the point of chanting?.
Here is a listening list of the nigunim I have composed over the years:
- B’nei Mitzvah Nigun
- Chakartani Vateida Nigun (Ps 139) – ‘You have searched me out and known me.’
- ‘Come Down, God’ Nigun (Ps 86) – searching for, and receiving, a response to our yearning for connection
- Galut (‘exile’) Nigun – yearning to find our way home to God
- Limmud Nigun – building up energy and attention for learning, and celebrating at the end of a learning session
- Ma’ariv Nigun – moving into darkness and mystery with the ahavah rabah mode
- Nachamu Nachamu Nigun – meditation on pain and comfort
- Naomi’s Nigun – based on the nusach for the haftarah blessing on shabbat morning
- Oneg Nigun – it’s always good to find a reason to express joy!
- Tree of Life Nigun – meditation on the 10 sefirot
- Yom Hashoah Nigun – commemorating those murdered in WWII
- Yonah’s Nigun – composed for Mincha at Yom Kippur, meditating on Jonah’s spiritual journey
- Yotzeir Or Nigun – celebrating Creation in the morning