World Refugee Day performance

Performance by Oxfordshire (Oxford Jewish Community Choir) of Tashlich, V’taheir Libeinu, and V’asu Li Mikdash on Thursday 20 June, 2019.

Hosted by Asylum Welcome for the United Nations World Refugee Day.

Barchi Nafshi (Ps 103:1-12)

Music and audio © Alexander Massey 10 June 2019

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Im Ein Ani Li

(5 June 2019) Recording and commentary coming soon.

High Holy Days music

Here are fifteen pieces I’ve written for High Holy Days over the years. If you like this music, or are interested in singing some of it, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you! Read more ›

Yism’chu B’Malchut’cha

Music and Audio © Alexander Massey 26 May 2019

יִשְׂמְחוּ בְמַלְכוּתְך שׁוֹמְרֵי שַׁבָּת וְקֽוֹרְאֵי עֹֽנֶג

עַם מְקַדְּשֵׁי שְׁבִיעִי כֻּלָּם יִשְׂבְּעוּ וְיִתְעַנְּגוּ מִטּוּבֶֽךָ

וּבַשְּׁבִיעִי רָצִֽיתָ בּוֹ וְקִדַּשְׁתּוֹ חֶמְדַּת יָמִים אוֹתוֹ קָרָֽאתָ זֵֽכֶר לְמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית

They shall rejoice in Your kingdom, those who keep Shabbat and call it a delight;

The people who sanctify the seventh day, will all be fulfilled and delighted with Your goodness;

And You found pleasure in the seventh day and sanctified it, the most precious of days, You called it, in commemoration of the work of Creation.

There are several popular tunes that people sing to this text on Shabbat, all of them lively and rhythmic. And to fit the irregular line lengths and non-metrical phrases into the metrical musical patterns, words and phrases sometimes land awkwardly, with the wrong syllabic emphasis, or are arbitrarily repeated or disconnected from their grammatical context. As a result, for all the vigour of the music, the meaning and spirit of the actual text can become obscured.

Given that the prayer comes during the Amidah, the intense, intimate sequence of prayers that form a spiritual point of gravity in the morning service, I wanted to explore creating a more introspective musical setting. This also provided an opportunity to bring out some of the yearning that we can feel at Shabbat. Feeling, or generating, unconditional joy or gratitude does not always come easily; it can even seem naïve or insincere in the face of one’s own life challenges or the troubles in the wider world of which we are all too well aware.

So this musical setting reflects some of this ambivalence. Read more ›

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Jewish lifecycle music

Making sacred space
  • Ashrei Yoshvei (Ps 84:5) – gentle, short chant; easy for people to pick up and join in with. Voice and guitar.
  • Shalom Aleichem, Aleichem Shalom – gentle, short song, only two words; welcoming each other in peace. Voice and guitar.
  • V’asu Li Mikdash (Ex. 25:8) – “We we’ll make You a holy home, and You will dwell with us” – a text for the completion of the Sanctuary, this can also be sung in the spirit of people creating a collective sacred space, and that the couple under the chuppah will be making a home together and sanctifying it. Voice, with guitar or piano – also works as a two-part round.
  • V’shavti B’veit Adonai (Ps 23:6) – “Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. For unison voice and guitar, or a round for two voices, with or without guitar.

Read more ›

Jewish Rounds for singing

A collection of rounds from the simple and easy learnable, to complex ones for advanced musicians and vocalists. The shortest melody is 6 bars, and the longest 48 bars, with anything from 2 to 5 voices. There are recordings of all of them on this website. If you would like sheet music for any of these, there are payment buttons for some of them on their individual pages, or you can contact me directly.

NameLanguageMax. vces.Melody lengthTime signature
Adonai S'fatai Tiftach (Ps 51:17)H216 and 82/2
B'nei Mitzvah Nigunn/a3242/4
B'rich Rachamana (Brachot 40b)H362/2
Ein Keloheinu No.2H2 (or 3)810/8
Elohai N'shamah (Brachot 60b)H362/2
Halleluyah No. 2 (Ps 150)H4323/4
Kein LaShabbat Haba'ah (Alexander Massey)H3244/4
Lo Yisa Goi (Isaiah 2:4)H and/or E49 and 94/4
Lo Yisa Goi No.2 (Isaiah 2:4)H + E3224/4 + 6/8 + 3/4 (!)
Mah Gadlu (Ps 92:6)H3124/4
Mah Tovu No.1 (Num. 24:7)H286/8
Shabbat ShalomH4 (or 5)162/2
Shalom AleichemH3122/2
Sh'ma Adonai Koli Ekra (Ps. 27:7)H2162/2
Simcha Song (Ps 81)E3484/4
Sim Shalom No. 2H and/or E49 and 94/4
Tashlich (Micah 7:18-19)H284/4
V'asu Li Mikdash (Ex. 25:8)H and/or E2162/4
V'shavti B'veit Adonai (Ps. 23:6)H2326/8
Yonah's Nigunn/a3 (or 4)24 or 323/4
'You have all been shown what is good' (Micah 6:8)E2162/4
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Shalom Aleichem (round)

Music and Audio © Alexander Massey 10 April 2014

3 part round, 12 bars
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Shabbat Shalom (round)

Music and Audio © Alexander Massey 16 March 2012

4 part round, 16 bars
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Shalom (chant/round)

Music and Audio © Alexander Massey 12 April 2013

I made this 2 part round up during a Saturday morning service at the end of the Amidah, after the final blessing, as an alternative to Elohai N’tzor, Yih’yu L’ratson, or Oseh Shalom. It’s simple, and instantly learnable.

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