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The Denver Jewish news. [volume] (Denver, Colo.) 1915-1925, March 31, 1920, Image 5

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Egypt and the Music of
Israel
By JEFFREY PULVER.
Comparing the musical potentialities
of the pastoral clan ruled by the fath
er of Joseph with the haryionic glories
of tlje Temple, we may with complete
justification wonder where all this per
fection in the art und science of music
was acquired. Between the pasturages
of Jacob and the dominions of Solo
mon there lay but one land capable of
teaching Israel the art for which Jew?
have so long been famous. Egypt, the
land to which Western civilisation
owes so much, wus the only source —
or, at least, the chief source —for the
music of the Hebrews. I do not write
this with the object of robbing the
Israolites of all their musical initia
tive; my intention is only to show thut
they were umazingly good pupils in
the Egyptiun school. Before the en
try of Jucoh and his family into Egypt,
they possessed the poetry of pastorals
combined with the music of pastorals.
Their mode of living would have pre
vented them from attaining to the
technical excellence of the Egyptians
with their cities, museums, and skilled
craftsmen. They had in the highest
degree the idealism and tVie Inborn tal
ent necessary to the mftking of good
musicians; but they lacked the science.
Settling at Heliopolis (On) in Goshen,
they were accorded a hearty welcome
at the hands of the Hyksos-Shepherd
Kings, who must hnve possessed hab
its and tastes very like those of their
£ entitle guests. The surroundings in
which the Israelites found themselves
were eminently suited to the acquire
ment of whatever arts their instincts
directed them to; that part of the
country wap occupied by u mixed pop
ulation, and the Hebrews had the op
portunity of developing their latent
talents unhindered. And there it was
that the mathematically-minded phy
sicists of Egypt taught them the art
of improving the Kinnor and Vgav (°f
Geu. iv., 21) to the standard of ar
tistic excellence easily provable from
the mouumeuts ami from tangible re
mains.
While seeking proofs for these state
ments we must be cureful to keep three
points in mind. The first is thut the
Israelites sojourned long enough iu
Egypt to have become thoroly Egyp
tiunized iu all hut religion—and even
-111 tin* latter sufficient evidence is to
lie found in the Book of Exodus to
show that there also they were, in
some degree, influenced by Egyptian
thought. The second is that the phil
osophy of the Egyptians und that of
Israel differed only very slightly, ami
people whose ideals agree can easily
learn from one unotlicr. The third
is that the Hebrews were not, during
the whole of their stay on the hanks
of the Nile, subjected to the rigours of
slavery, uud that for a long period
anterior to the accession of the Phur
noli 'who knew not Joseph* thp Israel
ites enjoyed an era of peace, pros
perity, and development. Four cen
turies of sueli conditions, I think,
would be quite shffficient to render
the music of Israel uud that of Egypt
identical.
The laud of the I’huraohs, ut the
time of Israel’s urrivui. was on a very
high artistic plane. Science flourish
ed, aud the instruments of music, as
we see from murul paintings uud in
scriptions on the tombs, had been
brought to an amazingly high stute of
excellence; so high, indeed, that they
were hardly surpassed in many a na
tion. of more recent development.
From the earliest periods of their
known history,* the Egyptians used
musical instruments. The native him
self was easy-going, simple, and fond
of innocent amusement: he belli It part
of his religion aud all of ids phil
osophy to enjoy his earthly existence
us tliurply us he could: he cultivated a
love for the Beautiful in form and
bound. Is it possible that such u peo?
pie us the Israelites could huvo been
left untouched by uu art to which they
tli cm selves Were drawn so irresistibly
by their.own inborn genius? Nor were
they ignorant of what a school awaited
* them: Joseph was not the first Semite
to visit the Nile; from the time of
Abraham onward wanderers often
came and went, and the existence of
such a civilization could not have been
* unknown to them.
The invasion of the Hyksos was no
great blow to Egyptian pi ogress. Their
advent did uot upset the orijer of
filings built, up l»y many Dynasties of
pure Egyptian kings. Mauctho says
there wus not even a pitched battle,
and the onward march of development
> suffered no great cheek. But before
considering the state of music in. Egypt
when Israel begun his inusie-lcssous,
* we must determiuu the period with
v.liicli we have J*> deal. The date of
the Exodus is variously given, hut we
have no need to go into a matter that
belongs properly to the pages of Egyp
* thin history. A Uuto Unit will allow
the main facts of history to fit in will
A suffice us. The cities of Fitlium und
jin anises were built before the de
parture of the Hebrews —so much is
.> td'luiii; and this, in addition to other
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facts for which no space can be spar
ed here and now, must fix the date of
the migration after the rcigu of Rain
eses 11. and during that of one of his
two immediate successors, Meneptliah
11. or Seti 11. The latter would give
us 1270-1250 B. C'., and adding the four
hundred and thirty years of the so
journ in Egypt, we arrive at about
J7OO B. C. With the period that lies
between these two dates, then, we have
to do.
P jet oral representations of musical
instruments are to be found on the
tombs from a very early period in
Egyptian history. The harp was of
native Egyptian origin and passed
thru a long process of development
until it reached the high state of ex
cellence to be observed in the marvel
lous creations that Bruce discovered ou
the walls of a Theban tomb. Magni
ficent they were, over six
feet high and quite capable of per
forming the music in Solomon’s tem
ple. But this depends upon the ac
curacy of translating Kinnor by burp.
However this may lie, there can be no
doubt that the Israelites nsed the harp
in the same way as the Egyptians did.
The Xefer. a species of throe-stringed
guitar was also very popular, and its
fretted finger-board argues a high
siate of musical development. Trum
pets, double ami siuge pipes, and much
percussion were represented. The art
of music was seriously studied and a
picthre of an Egyptian music-school
dating from the Eighteenth Dynasty is
forthcoming. Large bands of vocalists
were attached to the temples, and the
tendency was to employ whole families
together. And all these things we see
repeated in the religious services of
Hebrews and Christians. Wilkinson
says: Like the Egyptians with whom
they had so long resided, and many of
whose customs they udopted, the Jews
carefully distinguished sacred from
profane music.’ In Egypt the ‘sacred
musicians wen* of the order of the
priests, uud appointed to the service
like the Lcvitcs among the Jews; and
the Egyptian sacred hands were prob
ably divided and superintended in the
sumc manner us among thut people.
The ritual dance — another gift of
Egypt—was much used by the Jews (v.
my article The Dauce in Religion.’
Commonwealth. April, 1912).
While Israel in general Was studying
the art, Moses wus heiug brought up
in the priestly colleges of Egypt, ac
quiring all the lore of the priests, in
cluding music which wus oue of their
chief assets.. This was the time when
tiie character of the ruling house
changed. In about 1000 B. C/Amasis
L. dislodging the HyKsos, established
tiie Eighteenth Dynasty of Theban
kings. The sympathies that existed j
before between alien settler and alien
king, were gone, and soon tllo bilbo
honored guests became tiie serfs of a
haughty and autocratic rule. The
reign of Ramuses 11. brought cruelty
with it, and the family of seventy
souls, now grown to a great nut ion,
set out for a new land where* they
could turn to good uucouut the knowl
edge they had acquired.
Israel in the wilderness is au in
teresting studj r because wo see, in many
things, how completely Egypt utilized
he had become. Sir John Stainer
thinks thut ’tin* glorious soug of Moses
was most probably sung to soiqe sim
ple Egyptian chant, well known auil
popular.’ Moses, ‘learned iu the wis
dom of the Egyptians.* might well have
adapted ids verses to a well-known
Egyptian air. ‘Then took Miriam tin*
prophetess, tiie sister of Aaron, a tim
brel in her hand ; and all the women
went, out after her with timbrels and
with dances’ (Ex. xv., 20). The cir
cumstance thut the women danced is
another Egyptian touch. For alt ho
early, in the history of tla* Nile valley
it was the man who supplied the music.
Inter on the women became more nml
more active in the art. The 'timbrel’
mentioned would have been the small
Egyptian hand-drum (the Hebrew
Toph). or a species of rectangular
tambourine. In the scene described in
Ex. xxxii., 18. 19. cymbals were also
most probably used, as they were
among the flesh-pots of Egypt, to mark
the time for the’ daucers. With the
Jews they bore the onomatopoeic name
of Tziltzelim. and they are mentioned
in Ps. cl. The Egyptian Sistrum. too,
was borrowed by the Israelites, and
was a racquet-shaped frame of bronze,
having transverse bars of metal on
which jingling rings were struug. The
instrument was used in Egypt as an
adjunct to religious service, principal
ly that in honor of Isis, and many
passages in the papyri show its uses
(0.g.. Berlin Papyrus No. 1425 and
British Museum Papyrus No. 10188).
The Hebrew name for its seems to
have been Meuatie’im, as mentioned in
11. Sam. vi.. 5. Winer and Saul
scliutz (to quote Carl Engel) tlduU
♦he.v see in this word the Hebrew for
sistrum, and Newman (1832). connect
ing menuue’iin with nu’a—shaken,
strengthens the supposition, since the
sistrum was the only instrument of
percussion played by shaking. The
bell was also used by the Israelites,
and culled Pauion: wo find it so nam
ed in Ex. xxviii.. 33, 34. where the in
structions are given to sew hells and
pomegranates to the hem of tin* High
Priest’s garment; and this is exactly
the use to which the small bell was
put in Egypt. The Jewish custom of
dffixing these belbi to the priest’s
rolte, probably survives today in the
bells that adorn tlie scroll of the Law.
The ’Trumpet* is mentioued in Ex.
xix., 10, 19 and xx.. 18. hut in these
p luces the word sliofur would have
been better translated by ‘horn.’ This
wus no doubt a legacy of the (lays of
the Patriarchal herdsmen. After the
Exodus, straight trumpets were also
made of metal, on the model of those
used by the Egyptians for military pur
poses. Wrought In silver nml increas
ed in size, flits instrument lx ten me the
chutzozrroh depicted on the arch of
Titus, and concerning the shape of
which no doubt can remain.
It will be necessary to speak of one
more instrument because it was of
Semitic origin—the Kithuru or lyre. A
niqral painting at Beni Hassun, dating
from the period of Joseph’s arrival in
Egypt, shows a party of strangers en
tering the country. They are lighter
in coloring tlmn the natives, their
features are Semitic, and they wear
Muck beurds; and many authorities
see in these people the family of Jacob.
Sir ,1. Gardner Wilkinson reprodtiers
the picture in his ’Muuners and Cus
toms, etc.,’ and says: ‘lf . . . the
strangers at Beni Hussan should prove
to be the arrival of Jacob’s family in
Egypt, we may examine the Jewish
lyre drawn by an Egyptian artist. . .’
Tltis instrument was, to my way of
thinking, the Kiunor of the Bible, and
there is every reason for believing that
it was this Kitliaru that David used;
ut all events, we find such lyres, differ
ing only in shape, as lute tis the Muo
(Hboali period, when they were rep
resented on coins. The Egyptian vuri
ety of the instrument, as seen from
specimen* in the museums of Berlin
and Leyden, differ from the lyre
shown at Belli Hassun ; but whether the
Egyptians improved upon the Isruell
tic instrument, or whether the He
brews adapted the better points in an
instrument already uaturulized ip
Egypt to their owq, 1 cuiipot say. In
any cuse, neither form is of purely
Egyptian origin, and if the dwellers
on the Nile did not receive it from
the family of Jacob, they must have
laid it from some other Semitic tribe.
The Greek Kitharu wus very like these
forms and was borrowed from one of
THE HENVEft JEWISH NEWS
them, after it bail been improved in
Egyptian Lands.
Pressure on our space will prevent
the other Hebrew instruments being
more than passingly mentioned. There
were tile Ugav (a pipe or flute, vari
ously translated in different lllbles os
•wind-instruments,’ ‘flute,’ and even
•organ’), the Novel (Nablurn), Minim
(Hebrew .\fiui. Minin—the strings cf
un instrument, used to name an un
known stringed-instrument or to des
ignate the family of strings’ collec
tively, and muny others. To what ex
tent Egypt influenced the construction
ol these instruments, how far they
were of Semitic origin ami improved in
Egypt .and how many of them were
purely Egyptian anil merely borrowed
by the Israelites, it is impossible to
say with certainty. Tin- whole sub
ject is one of absorbing interest and
not to be disposed of in so short 11
sketch as tlie present, llut if tills ar
ticle docs no more than set the reader
thinking, it will have served its pur
pose.—The Jewish Guardian.
TO STUDY JEWISH MUSIC.
A society for promoting and studying
.Jewish religious and folk music is now
in process of formation in Ixmdou. The
society will ho partly the successor to
two extensive Jewish organizations °f
Kastcrn Europe, the Society of Jew
ish Folk Music in Petrograd and Jew
ish Ethnographical Expedition,'found
ed in memory of Huron Horace do
(innzburg.—Canadian Jewish Chron
icle.
TRAGEDIANS BY HEREDITY.
It is by uo ueciilrut Unit Uueliel.
Pcruhardt und Kiilleli (tvbut a Jow-
Ish trio!) are preeminent in tragic mis
sion.
The Jewish generations that preced
ed them and of which they are ex
ponents, gave them the stock of grief.
Thru Jewish tragedy they inherited
the genius and the power' of depict
ing tragic feeling and emotion.
In their blood is the martyrblood
of the bloody Past. What in the
Present is u dramatic expression of a
great artist is the flickering afterglow
of what once was a world drama of
age-long oppression, n tragedy that we
now hope is ending l'"f «U time. The
Modern View.
The Intercollegiate Zionist Associa
tion is arranging a scries of “Sunday
ufternons,” that will ho distinctive
character. Addresses will be given by
distinguished men and women on Jew
ish national questions of timely inter
est. The “afternoons' will be given
at the headquarters <>f District No. 7.
Dili West 7-nd street. New York City,
one of the newest und most attractive
Zionist centers in New York. The first
speaker was Mr. Noriujiu Hupgood.
former United States Minister to Den
mark, who’ spol>e last Sunday after
noon, March 14tli.
With the award of the Star of In
din to Robert Nathan. I>y which he be
comes also . knighted four brothers
have become baronet- by their signa l
services to the Hritish Government. Sir
Matthew Nathan was Under Secretary
for Ireland in llUo. amt later secre
tary of the Pension land. Sir I-red
crick Nathan became distinguished by
Ids inventions in the use of explosives
which were of great sistunce to the
Uuglish army iu I lie war. Siy Nath
aniel Nathan is Alt- .uey Ucnerul of
Trinidad. Sir Uolm r Nathan is a
proiuineiit lawyer and occupied an ini
porlaut government position in India
during the war.
ltabbi J. D. Juruian «»f East Poston
has left for Wuterbuiy. <'««)»•> to «cr\v
as spirital head of ‘but community.
The contract has liociVmuUe for li' 1
years and the sulury to ~L * so,ooo
per unnum. y
f* ■ ■ « -»—' ■ ■■■■ ■ ■■■ ■ ■
Easter Greetings
Many times words are inadequate to
express your feelings. You may have li N/rr% '
a gay message for someone and when __.
spoken is quite drab compared with ’' , a
your feelings. Another time a sweet sympathy for some good friend’s-•son- •• h
row need find oroDer expression. Here, indeed, words don’t express.
Again you want some friend to know you are thinking of them. Words
would be a crude way to tell it. When you have unwittingly offended Flow
ers will straighten out the tangle. You can always rely on Flowers to express
your feelings advantageously.
A Lovely Bouquet of Selected Flowers
Gracefully Arranged
ffii • In a Beautiful Basket
Will convey a message that will last, for long after the
/ |' flowers have withered, the basket remains to remind the
U recipient of the message the flowers conveyed.
« We have lovely baskets and know how to arrange basket
’HBay- bouquets. Order a basket bou<|uet to be sent Easter morn-
Mliffmg. ing.
WM «J|Hr. I C Present a corsage of violets, lily of the valley, orchids or
It sweet peas, when you appear to take her to church Easter
morning. ,
We will be well prepared to take care of all orders
for Potted Easter Lilies and assorted Bulb Plants
** such as Tulips, Hyacinths, etc.
X i wr Res Also potted plants of baby rambler roses, a/aleas, 111
■{jj* Sjr®- hydrangeas, etc.
jtVtj m We will deliver Flowers until noon, Easter morning.
lini Sfl I We will gladly take your order for Easter flowers over the
hil iaSl 1 phone and give the same attention to it as tho you left it in
H; v» v * oerson.
J Call Main 110 —ask for Flower Department.
The Julius Weis Home, of Now Or*
leuns, La., kept open house lust Sun
day. when people from all walks of life
in the community came to congratulate
Mrs. Elizabeth Cohen. M. !».. the first
woman to practice medicine in New
Orleans, who celebrated her hundredth
birthday anniversary on that day. Mrs
Cohen is hale and hearty at the age of
100, and is the busiest and the pleas
antest among the young old ludies of
the Home.
Jxd him who gropes painfully in
darkness or uncertain light, and prays
vehemently that the dawn may ripen
into duy. lay this precept well to
heart: "Ho the duty which lies near
est to thOe,” which thou knowest to
he a duty! Thy seeoud duty "ill al
ready have liecbine clearer.—Carlyle.
(Jertrude Higger. aged fourteen, of
the Jewish Orphan Home, of Cleveland,
was the winner of a $-0 prize for an
original essay entitled "Doing a Cowl
Deed." She is a student at Central
High, and will be graduated from the
Orphan Home in July.
Subscribe to the Jewish News.
;
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of West Colfax—Call 3184 West Colfax. j1
FOR SALE —A double house in best loca- ■
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| Office 1436 Stout Works 814 W. 14 th Ave. |
Phone Main 3247
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§ of ladies' dresses and men’s suits, lace curtains, X
§ draperies, etc.

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