Page 77 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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has also greatly advanced the work of his predecessor, Idelsohn,
in the investigation into the comparative study of Biblical and
Gregorian chants. Apart from these studies, Werner has treated
other subjects on Jewish musical research, such as “New Ap-
proaches and Methods in Jewish Musicology” (
Jewish Music
Forum Bulletin
, 1941); “Wanted a Definition” (
Musica Hebraica
1938); in addition to the excellent outline for a bibliography on
Jewish music, mentioned earlier in this article.
Within the range of comparative Jewish musicology, which
seeks to illuminate, through parallel studies, the nature of Jewish
folk-music and the measure of change it has undergone through the
centuries, great contributions have been made by Robert Lach-
mann, specialist on Near-Eastern music.
In 1935, the rich collection of Jewish musical material from the
Institute of the Berlin University, was transferred to Jerusalem,
and incorporated into its local Archives. This new Institute was
founded by Robert Lachmann, who set himself the task of collect-
ing and interpreting the whole complex of Near Eastern musical
culture, including that of North Africa. He started a valuable
collection of phonograph records, following directly in the path
laid down by Idelsohn. Possessing however, the great advantages
of scientific equipment and methodology which he had utilized
so fruitfully in his work in the field of Arabic music, Lachmann
was able to advance considerably the accomplishments in this
field. His
Jewish Cantillations and Song on the Isle of Djerba
(Jerusalem, Hebrew University, 1940), published soon after his
death, is a model of scholarly treatment of a comparative musi-
cological project.
The patterns of our musical heritage through the ages have
been under constant investigation by certain scholars. Such a
person is Joseph Yasser, specialist on acoustics and medieval
music, who has done some interesting original research. In his
article entitled “Foundations of Jewish Harmony” (.
, 1938), which is based on the principles exposed in his
Theory of Evolving Tonality
(New York, American Library of
Musicology, 1932), he illuminates the role of the archaic penta-
tonic (five-tone) scale in Jewish music, which has survived in the
biblical chant to this day.
Due to Yasser’s unique equipment — his knowledge of medieval
Russian music, he has uncovered original material relating to
Jewish music in ancient Russia. Two important articles by Joseph
Yasser are “New Guide Posts for Jewish Music” (
of the
Jewish Academy of Arts and Sciences, No. 3, 1937) and “The
Biblical Chant as Basic Material for Jewish Music” (
Music Forum
, Bulletin, 1941).