Terms for 11/15/2020

Ahavah-Rabboh mode: a.k.a. Phrygian dominant scale, a.k.a. Freygish, featuring an augmented step between scale degree 2 and 3.

Bel canto: the style of singing that arose with the invention of opera c. 1600 and reached its zenith sometime around 1830.

Chazzan(im): cantor(s)

Chazzanut: cantorial style

Coloratura: fast-moving, florid passages

“Golden Age”: the flourishing of recorded chazzanim up to World War II

MatLab: software that can measure vibrato pulse rate, frequency variation above and below the mean tone sung, mean amplitude, and the fast Fourier transform

Meshorerim: 2 assistants to the chazzan (usually a Bass and a boy soprano) who acted as prompters, repositories of melodies, and co-singers during worship

Mi Sinai nigunnim: Melodies that could not be altered and were therefore common across Europe

Motzoh: style of expression developed by individual chazzanim in 19th century Eastern Europe

Nusach: melody

Piyyut: metrical poetry created after the Islamic conquest; the poems’ complexity necessitated the use of professional singers

Precentor: predecessor of the chazzan in the ancient synagogue, who often sang on a lowered platform (because of psalm 130: Out of the depths I cry to Thee); transplanted into the early Christian church before giving way to the choir

Ukrainian-Gypsy scale: a.k.a. Mi Shebeirach, a.k.a. Romanian minor scale, featuring an augmented step between scale degree 3 and 4, and variable sixth and seventh scale degrees.