Page 74 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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LITERATURE ON JEWISH MUSIC
By
R
uth
R
u b i n
T
HE general literature of the Jews, represents a mosaic woven
out of vari-colored, vari-textured threads, embracing dif-
ferent lands, languages, eras and environments. This broad
fabric has endowed our culture with an extraordinary variety of
qualities and has given it an aspect of both fascination and com-
plication, as well as, remarkably enough, an element of continuity
throughout the ages. The same all-embracing approach applies
to the field of Jewish music, which is a rich and many-faceted
section of our cultural heritage, and has closely followed the his-
torical path and development of our people these thousands of
years.
Although literature on Jewish music has been written in Hebrew,
Yiddish, English, and other languages, this brief article is designed
to introduce the reader to some of the books and articles available
on the subject, in the English language alone. Let us begin then,
by classifying literature on Jewish music into the following three
broad divisions: 1) Historical and Theoretical Works 2) Folk-
Songs 3) Art Music.
I t is obvious, that these divisions by no means embrace the
entire field. A comprehensive outline for such a compilation will
be found in Eric Werner’s “Prolegomena to a Bibliography of
Jewish Music” (.
Historica Judaica
, October 1944), and in the
Bibliography on Jewish Music
, compiled by Alfred Sendrey, which
is soon to be published by the Columbia University Press.
Of first importance is A. Z. Idelsohn’s book,
Jewish Music
(New York, Henry Holt & Co., 1929; Tudor Publishing Co., 1944).
Idelsohn, who was Professor of Jewish Music at Hebrew Union
College until his death, assembled into this compact English work,
much of the material which appeared originally in his ten volumes,
in German, entitled
Hebraish-Orientalischer Melodienschatz
(The-
saurus of Hebrew-Oriental Melodies), as well as in numerous
articles which appeared in periodicals here and abroad. In
Jewish
Music
, Idelsohn’s aim was “ to give a description and an analysis
of the elements and characteristics of Jewish music, in their his-
torical development, from the earliest times of its appearance as
a Semitic-Oriental song, throughout the ages and countries.”
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