Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Timeless Melodies

Last week I attended a conference called Mifgash Musicale on the campus of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, OH. It was a great opportunity to meet other synagogue musicians, to learn new melodies and to delve more deeply into the liturgy and traditions found in the Jewish religion. One area of study that I found particularly interesting was the concept of 'nusach.'

Nusach is the system of musical modes used to identify the particular service or time of year. There are different melodies for each of the festivals, for Friday night and Saturday morning services, and the mode even switches from one part of the service to the next. The idea was for someone just walking into the room to know exactly what time, and what time of year, it was. As we know, music has an amazing power to connect us to one another, to our emotions and immediately transport us back to that time and place where we first heard it. Remember that junior high dance and listening to 'Stairway to Heaven?' Or that party where all your friends shook on the floor to 'Shout?' Or maybe it was the song you shared with your college sweetheart.

Music is one of those unique gifts that makes us human. I encourage you to listen to music that makes you feel good and reminds you of good times, past and present.

In song,

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