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Judah Moscato on the Spirituality of Music

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Chapter Summary

The Hebrew title for Judah Moscato's sermon is higgayon be-khinnor. Higgayon has a double meaning thus the title translates roughly as "sounds for contemplation on a lyre". By "sounds" and "contemplation" one might think that Moscato intended the practice of music versus its cogitation, as known from the differentiation in music treatises. But he intended otherwise: except for sketching out the beginnings of music theory, mainly to show that the Hebrews and not the Greeks were the inventors of the science of music. Moscato was concerned with music as pondered for its essence. "The kinnor of Elisha", Moscato wrote, "is the kinnor of David in respect to its spiritual value". In treating a passage from Ezekiel in which the music of the angels is compared to "the voice of the Almighty", he noted that the more he speaks about the passage for its "spiritual value", the more he remembers it.

Keywords: Hebrew title; higgayon be-khinnor; Judah Moscato's sermon; kinnor; music treatises; spiritual value

10.1163/9789004283640_003
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