Music as Religious Culture: An Ethnomusicological Study on the Atlanta Jewish Community Open Access

Edlin, Felicia Sara (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/ws859f86t?locale=en
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Abstract

Ethnomusicology is a small part of exploring identity and ethnicity, and I will use it to reveal a greater understanding a Jewish communities' relation to their Jewish identity and to others within their society. My project analyzes the role of music within the Atlanta Jewish community. By employing an ethnomusicological approach, this thesis reveals the different musical styles of Judaism, how music is used to bring together the modern Jewish community, and the nature of Jewish music itself. I interviewed seven leaders of the Atlanta Jewish community from different denominations in order to gain knowledge about Jewish music from a wide range of sources all within one broad community. I then analyzed the data from these interviews and found common themes that arose from each interview and explored each topic in a different chapter of my thesis. While every leader had distinct ideas about the nature of music and what Jewish music is, these issues were all ones that the different denominations struggle with within their own congregations. I began by thinking of music as a symbol in terms of how Geertz defines one - as an idealistic notion that represents religion. In the end, however, the wide diversity and range of music within the community demonstrates how while music is a symbol of Judaism, Geertz's absolute, universal term of symbol is one that is too restricting and all encompassing.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………….……………...…...1
METHODS AND METHODOLOGY………………………………………….………..…….…..5
TRADITION AND BORROWING……..……………………………………………………... 12
NIGGUNIM, MAQAMOT, AND PIYYUTIM………………………….………..............21
ROLE OF CANTOR/HAZZAN/PAYTAN/CHORUS…………………………………......25
USE OF HEBREW AND THE LITURGY…………………………..……….……………...…30
INSTRUMENTAL USE…………………………………………………………….……………......35
BEYOND INSTRUMENTS: ISSUE OF SINGING…………………………..........…..40
SECULAR TUNES IN SACRED SPACES………………………………………………..……43
WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE?...........................................................55
SYNAGOGUE OUTREACH AND CONGREGANT PARTICIPATION…..….……….59
WHAT IS JEWISH MUSIC?................................................................68
CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………...………....................74
APPENDIX A…………………………………………………………….......……………………………80
APPENDIX B…………………………………………………………………......…………………….…81
REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………......………………..83

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