Music (שַׁיר, shir, singing, 1Ch 15:16; 2Ch 5:13; 2Ch 7:6; 2Ch 34:12; Ec 12:4; Am 6:5; a song, as it is usually elsewhere rendered; Chald. זמִר, zemar', the striking of musical instruments, Da 2:5,7,10,15; Gr. συμφωνία, symphony of sound, Lu 15:25; but נגַינָה, neginah', La 5:14, or מִגגַּינָה, manginah', La 2:22, is a satirical "song;" comp. Job 30:9. SEE NEGINOTH ). This is the oldest and most natural of all the fine arts, and therefore is found among all nations, however ignorant of every other art. In elucidating the subject in this and a following article (that on MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS) we give a general treatment, referring to other heads for details on particular points.
The Hebrews were an eminently musical people. Their history is full of illustrations of this feature of their national character and life. Their literature is a monument of it; for a large portion of their poetry was conceived in the form of psalmody or sacred lyric song; and though exaggerated representations have sometimes been put forward of the perfection which musical science and art attained among them, it cannot be doubted that their musical progress and attainments went much beyond the narrow limits which some eminent modern writers of the history of music have thought themselves warranted to assign.
1. Antiquity of Hebrew Music. —The Hebrew nation made no claim to the invention of music or musical instruments, but assigned to it an antiquity as remote as the antediluvian days of Jubal, who "was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ" (Ge 4:21). The inventor of musical instruments, therefore, like the first poet and the first forger of metals, was a Cainite. Chardin relates that the Persians and Arabians call musicians and singers Kayne, or "descendants from Cain." From the occurrence of the name Mahalaleel, third in descent from Seth, which signifies "giving praise to God," Schneider concludes that vocal music in religious services must have been still earlier in use among the Sethites (Biblischgesch. Darstellung der Hebr. Musik, page 11). It has been conjectured that Jubal's discovery may have been perpetuated by the pillars of the Sethites mentioned by Josephus (Ant. 1:2), and that in this way it was preserved till after the Flood; but such conjectures are worse than an honest confession of ignorance.
The first mention of music in the times after the Deluge is in the narrative of Laban's interview with Jacob. Moses has recorded words of Laban, the fatherin-law of Jacob, from which it appears that instruments of various kinds were already in use among the ancient family beyond the Euphrates from which the Hebrews sprang: "Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth and with songs, with tabret and with harp?" (Ge 31:27). Whatever else, then, the posterity of Jacob may have learned from "the wisdom of the Egyptians" during their long stay in Egypt — that ancient cradle of the arts and sciences it may be assumed as certain that they were familiar with at least the rudiments of music before they went down to sojourn there, although it is reasonable to suppose that they were indebted to that ingenious and inventive people for some further progress in the art. It is a remarkable and interesting fact that their exodus from Egypt, which was their birthday as a nation, was an event celebrated by an outburst both of poetry and song. But whatever may have been its origin, and in whatever way it was preserved, the practice of music existed in the upland country of Syria; and of the three possible kinds of musical instruments, two were known and employed to accompany the song. The three kinds are alluded to in Job 21:12.
On the banks of the Red Sea, Moses and the children of Israel sang their triumphal song of deliverance from the hosts of Egypt; and Miriam, in celebration of the same event, exercised one of her functions as a prophetess by leading a procession of the women of the camp, chanting in chorus the burden to the song of Moses, "Sing ye to Jehovah for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." Their song was accompanied by timbrels and dances, or, as some take the latter word, by a musical instrument of which the shape is unknown, but which is supposed to have resembled the modern tambourine, SEE DANCE, and, like it, to have been used as an accompaniment to dancing. The expression in the A.V. of Ex 15:21, "and Miriam answered them," seems to indicate that the song was alternate, Miriam leading off with the solo, while the women responded in full chorus. But it is probable that the Hebrew word, like the corresponding Arabic, has merely the sense of singing, which is retained in the A.V. of Ex 32:18; Nu 21:17; 1Sa 29:5; Ps 147:7; Ho 2:15. The same word is used for the shouting of soldiers in battle (Jer 51:14), and the cry of wild beasts (Isa 13:22), and in neither of these cases can the notion of response be appropriate. All that can be inferred is that Miriam led off the song, and this is confirmed by the rendering of the Vulg., praecinebat. The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it, but the employment of music in religious service, though idolatrous, is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf. With this may be compared the musical service which accompanied the dedication of the golden image in the plains of Dura (Daniel 3), the commencement of which was to be the signal for the multitude to prostrate themselves in worship. The wild cries and shouts which reached the ears of Moses and Joshua as they came down from the mount sounded to the latter as the din of battle, the voices of victor and vanquished blending in one harsh chorus. But the quicker sense of Moses discerned the rough music with which the people worshipped the visible representation of the God that brought them out of Egypt. Nothing could show more clearly than Joshua's mistake the rude character of the Hebrew music at this period (Ex 32:17-18), as untrained and wild as the notes of their Syrian forefathers. Comp. La 2:7, where the war-cry of the enemy in the Temple is likened to the noise of the multitude on a solemn feast-day: "They have made a noise in the house of Jehovah as in the day of a solemn feast." The silver trumpets made by the metal workers of the tabernacle, which were used to direct the movements of the camp, point to music of a very simple kind (Nu 10:1-10), and the long blast of the jubilee horns, with which the priests brought down the walls of Jericho, had probably nothing very musical about it (Joshua vi), any more than the rough concert with which the ears of the sleeping Midianites were saluted by Gideon's three hundred warriors (Judges 7). The song of Deborah and Barak is cast in a distinctly metrical form, and was probably intended to be sung with a musical accompaniment as one of the people's songs, like that with which Jephthah's daughter and her companions met her father on his victorious return (Judges 11).
2. Golden Age of Hebrew Music. — The period of Samuel, David, and Solomon forms a new era in Hebrew music, as well as in Hebrew poetry (see Delitzsch, Comosentar uiber den Psalter, 1859-60). The simpler impromptu with which the women from the cities of Israel greeted David after the slaughter of the Philistine was apparently struck off on the spur of the moment, under the influence of the wild joy with which they welcomed their national champion, "the darling of the songs of Israel." The accompaniment of timbrels and instruments of music must have been equally simple, and such that all could take part in it (1Sa 18:6-7). Up to this time we meet with nothing like a systematic cultivation of music among the Hebrews, but the establishment of the schools of the prophets appears to have supplied this want. Whatever the students of these schools may have been taught, music was an essential part of their practice. At Bethel (1Sa 10:5) was a school of this kind, as well as at Naioth in Ramah (1Sa 19:19-20), at Jericho (2Ki 2:5,7,15), Gilgal (2Ki 4:38), and perhaps at Jerusalem (2Ki 22:14). Professional musicians soon became attached to the court; and though Saul, a hardy warrior. had only at intervals recourse to the soothing influence of David's harp, yet David seems to have gathered around him "singing men and singing women," who could celebrate his victories and lend a charm to his hours of peace (2Sa 19:35). Solomon did the same ,(Ec 2:8), adding to the luxury of his court by his patronage of art, and obtaining a reputation himself as no mean composer (1Ki 4:32).
But the Temple was the great school of music, and it was consecrated to its highest service in the worship of Jehovah. Before, however, the elaborate arrangements had been made by David for the Temple choir, there must have been a considerable body of musicians throughout the country (2Sa 6:5); and in the procession which accompanied the ark from the house of Obededom, the Levites, with Chenaniah at their head, who had acquired skill from previous training, plaved on psalteries, harps, and cymbals, to the words of the psalm of thanksgiving which David had composed for the occasion (1Ch 15; 1Ch 16). It is not improbable that the Levites all along had practiced music, and that some musical service was part of the worship of the tabernacle; for unless this supposition be made, it is inconceivable that a body of trained singers and musicians should be found ready for an occasion like that on which they make their first appearance. The position which the tribe of Levi occupied among the other tribes naturally favored the cultivation of an art which is essentially characteristic of a leisurely and peaceful life. They were free from the hardships attending the struggle for conquest and afterwards for existence, which the Hebrews maintained with the nations of Canaan and the surrounding countries, and their subsistence was provided for by a national tax. Consequently they had ample leisure for the various ecclesiastical duties devolving upon them, and among others for the service of song, for which some of their families appear to have possessed a remarkable genius. The three great divisions of the tribe had each a representative family in the choir: Heman and his sons represented the Kohathites, Asaph the Gershonites, and Ethan (or Jeduthuun) the Merarites (1Ch 15:17; 1Ch 23:6; 1Ch 25:1-6). Of the 38,000 who composed the tribe in the reign of David, 4000 are said to have been appointed to praise Jehovah with the instruments which David made (1Ch 23:5), and for which he taught them a special chant. This, chant for ages afterwards was known by his name, and was sung by the Levites before the army of Jehoshaphat, and on laying the foundation of the second temple (comp. 1Ch 16:34,41; 2Ch 7:6; 2Ch 20:21; Ezr 3:10-11); and again by the Maccabean army after their great victory over Gorgias (1 Macc. 4:24). Over this great body of musicians presided the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, twenty-four in number, as heads of the twenty-four courses of twelve into which the skilled minstrels were divided. These skilled or "cunning" (מֵבַין, 1Ch 25:6-7) men were 288 in number, and under them appear to have been the scholars (תִּלמַיד, 1Ch 25:8) whom, perhaps, they trained, and who made up the full number of 4000. Supposing 4000 to be merely a round number, each course would consist of a full band of 166 musicians, presided over by a body of twelve skilled players, with one of the sons of Asaph, Beman, or Jeduthun as conductor. Asaph himself appears to have played on the cymbals (1Ch 16:5), and this was the case with the other leaders (1Ch 15:19), perhaps to mark the time more distinctly, while the rest of the band played on psalteries and harps. The singers were distinct from both, as is evident in Ps 68:25, "the singers went before, the players on instruments followed after, in the midst of the damsels playing with timbrels;" unless the singers in this case were the cymbal-players, like Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, who, in 1Ch 15:19, are called "singers," and perhaps while giving the time with their cymbals led the choir with their voices. The "players on instruments" (נֹגנַים, nogenim), as the word denotes, were the performers upon stringed instruments, like the psaltery and harp, who have been alluded to. The " players on instruments" (חֹללַים, cholelim), in Ps 87:7, were different from these last, and were properly pipers or performers on perforated wind-instruments (see 1Ki 1:40). "The damsels playing with timbrels" (comp. 1Ch 13:8) seem to indicate that women took part in the Temple choir; and among the family of Heman are specially mentioned three daughters, who, with his fourteen sons, were all "under the hands of their father for song in the house of Jehovah" (1Ch 25:5-6). The enormous number of instruments and dresses for the Levites provided during the magnificent reign of Solomon would seem, if Josephus be correct (Ant. 8:3, 8), to have been intended for all time. A thousand dresses for the high-priest; linen garments and girdles of purple for the priests, 10,000; trumpets, 200,000; psalteries and harps of electrum, 40,000; all these were stored up in the Temple treasury. The costume of the Levitical singers at the dedication of the Temple was of fine linen (2Ch 5:12).
3. The Silver Age of Hebrew Music. — So we may perhaps fitly designate the period of the captivity and the restoration, as denoting that the national music was still preserved and cultivated by considerable numbers of the people, especially of the Levitical families, although much of its ancient glory and splendor had passed away. In the first anguish and dejection of their captivity, it was natural that the tribes should feel what is so touchingly expressed in Psalm 137: that by the rivers of Babylon they should hang their harps upon the willows; and that, when required by their captors to sing them one of the songs of Zion, they should exclaim, with patriotic disdain, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" But by and by they would take down their harps again from the willow- boughs, and seek solace for the sorrows of their long exile in recalling the loved melodies of their native land, and the sacred psalmody of their desolated Temple. The Babylonians, besides, were a people as fond of music as themselves. Many of their instruments are mentioned in the book of Daniel (chapters 3:7, 10, 15); and in the long period of seventy years the Hebrew exiles must have been able to enrich their own national music by many new ideas and new instruments. It is at least certain that when "the Lord turned again the captivity of Judah," there was a fresh inspiration and outburst of sacred poetry and song: " Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing" (Ps 126:2). Not a few of the later parts of the Psalter are of that age, some of which are not much inferior to the best compositions of David himself; and in proof of the extent to which musical gifts were spread among the returned exiles, it may suffice to refer to the fact stated in Ne 7:67, that "they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women," by whom we are no doubt to understand professional as distinguished from amateur performers. Nor were the musical traditions of the Temple forgotten, or their official depositaries extinct. The Levitical families of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun were still numerous, and still devoted to their choral art and office. "The children of Asaph alone — the singers — were a hundred twenty and eight" (Ezr 2:41). At the foundation of the second temple, "they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord after the ordinance of David. king of Israel" (Ezr 3:10); and when, after many interruptions, the house was at last finished and dedicated, the whole liturgical service of David's and Solomon's reigns was as far as possible restored. "They set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses for the service of God which is at Jerusalem" (Ezr 6:18).
In the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus (chapter 1) we find an interesting reference to the musical service of the second temple in the days of Simon the high-priest, the son of Onias, "who in his life repaired the house again and took care of the Temple that it should not fall." When Simon "finished the service of the altar, by stretching out his hand to the cup and pouring out the blood of the grape at the foot of the altar, a sweet-smelling savor," "then shouted the sons of Aaron, and sounded the silver trumpets, and made a great noise to be heard for a remembrance before the Most High. Then all the people together hasted and fell down to the earth upon their faces to worship their Lord God Almighty. The singers also sang praises with their voices, with great variety of sounds was there made sweet melody, and the people besought the Lord till the solemnity of the Lord was ended and they had finished his service." The Talmud also contains some notices of the liturgical music of the Herodian temple. The ordinary Levitical orchestra (according to Erachin, 10a, and Tamid, 7:3), consisted of only twelve performers, provided with nine lyres, two harps, and one cymbal, with the addition, on certain days, of flutes. These musicians were stationed upon the דּוּכִן (dukan), or the ascent of several steps which led from the outer court to the court of the priests, and were placed under the leadership of the chief musician, who gave the time with "the loud-sounding cymbals." Below the steps, and at the foot of the Levites, stood the chorister boys of the same tribe who sang the refrain. The daily week-day psalm (שׁיר הקרבן) was sung in nine parts or strophes, and the pauses were marked by the trumpet-blasts of the priests. The musical service of the Herodian temple was by no means the same as that of earlier times; and if the present accentuation of the Psalter be regarded as representing the manner in which the psalms were sung or cantilated in the time of Herod, it would not suffice to give us any notion of the usage which prevailed in the days of the first temple, before the exile. Innovations upon ancient usage were from time to time introduced; and among these mention is made in the Talmud of the use of an instrument in the later temple, which would seem to have been of the nature of a wind-organ, provided with as many as a hundred different keys, and the power of which was such, according to Jerome, that it could be heard from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, and even farther. (See Saalschitz, Archaeologie, 1:281-284; also Appendix to the same author's Geschichte und Wirdigung der Musik bei den Hebriern.)
4. The Uses and Characteristics of Hebrew Music. — Sacred music, as in the above liturgical examples, was the most important application of the art among the Hebrews. The trumpets, which are mentioned among the instruments played before the ark (1Ch 13:8), appear to have been reserved for the priests alone (1Ch 15:24; 1Ch 16:6). As they were also used in royal proclamations (2Ki 11:14), they were probably intended to set forth by way of symbol the royalty of Jehovah, the theocratic king of his people, as well as to sound the alarm against his enemies (2Ch 13:12). A hundred and twenty priests blew the trumpets in harmony with the choir of Levites at the dedication of Solomon's temple (2Ch 5:12-13; 2Ch 7:6), as in the restoration of the worship under Hezekiah, in the description of which we find an indication of one of the uses of the Temple music: "And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt-offering upon the altar. And when the burnt- offering began, the song of Jehovah began also, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David, king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all until the burnt-offering was finished" (2Ch 29:27-28). The altar was the table of Jehovah (Mal 1:7), and the sacrifices were his feasts (Ex 23:18); so the solemn music of the Levites corresponded to the melody by which the banquets of earthly monarchs were accompanied. The Temple was Jehovah's palace, and as the Levite sentries watched the gates by night they chanted the songs of Zion; one of these it has been conjectured with probability is Psalm 134.
In the private as well as in the religious life of the Hebrews music held a prominent place. The kings had their court musicians (Ec 2:8), who bewailed their death (2Ch 35:25); and in the luxurious times of the later monarchy the effeminate gallants of Israel, reeking with perfumes and stretched upon their couches of ivory, were wont at their banquets to accompany the song with the tinkling of the psaltery or guitar (Am 6:4-6), and amused themselves with devising musical instruments while their nation was perishing, as Nero fiddled when Rome was in flames. Isaiah denounces a woe against those who sat till the morning twilight over their wine, to the sound of "the harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe" (Isa 5:11-12). But while music was thus made to minister to debauchery and excess, it was the legitimate expression of mirth and gladness, and the indication of peace and prosperity. It was only when a curse was upon the land that the prophet could say, "The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth: they shall not drink wine with a song" (Isa 24:8-9). In the sadness of captivity the harps hung upon the willows of Babylon, and the voices of the singers refused to sing the songs of Jehovah at their foreign captors' bidding (Psalm 137). The bridal processions as they passed through the streets were accompanied with music and song (Jer 7:34), and these ceased only when the land was desolate (Eze 26:13). The high value attached to music at banquets is indicated in the description given in Ecclus. 32 of the duties of the master of a feast. "Pour not out words where there is a musician, and show not forth wisdom but of time. A concert of music in a banquet of wine is as a signet of carbuncle set in gold.
As a signet of an emerald set in a work of gold, so is the melody of music with pleasant wine." And, again, the memory of the good king Josiah was "as music at a banquet of wine" (Ecclus. 49:1). The music of the banquets was accompanied with songs and dancing (Lu 15:25). So at the royal banquets of Babylon were sung hymns of praise in honor of the gods (Da 5:4,23), and perhaps on some such occasion as the feast of Belshazzar the Hebrew captives might have been brought in to sing the songs of their native land (Psalm 137). The triumphal processions which celebrated a victory were enlivened by minstrels and singers (Ex 15:1,20; Jg 5:1; Jg 11:34; 1Sa 18:6; 1Sa 21:11; 2Ch 20:28; Jg 15:12-13), and on extraordinary occasions they even accompanied armies to battle. Thus the Levites sang the chant of David before the army of Jehoshaphat as he went forth against the hosts of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir (2Ch 20:19,21); and the victory of Abijah over Jeroboam is attributed to the encouragement given to Judah by the priests sounding their trumpets before the ark (2Ch 13:12,14). It is clear from the narrative of Elisha and the minstrel who by his playing calmed the prophet's spirit till the hand of Jehovah was upon him, that among the camp-followers of Jehoshaphat's army on that occasion there were to be reckoned musicians who were probably Levites (2Ki 3:15). Besides songs of triumph, there were also religious songs (Isa 30:29; Am 5:23; Jas 5:13), "songs of the Temple" (Am 8:3), and songs which were sung in idolatrous worship (Ex 32:18). In like manner the use of music in the religious services of the Therapeutse of later times is described by Philo (De Vita contempl. page 901 red. Frankf.]). At a certain period in the service one of the worshippers rose and sang a song of praise to God, either of his own composition or one from the older poets. He was followed by others in a regular order, the congregation remaining quiet till the concluding prayer, in which all joined. After a simple meal the whole congregation arose and formed two choirs, one of men and one of women, with the most skilful singer of each for leader; and in this way sang hymns to God, sometimes with the full chorus, and sometimes with each choir alternately. In conclusion, both men and women joined in a single choir, in imitation of that on the shores of the Red Sea, which was led by Moses and Miriam. In the Scriptures love-songs are alluded to in Psalm 45, title, and Isa 5:1. There were also the doleful songs of the funeral procession, and the wailing chant of the mourners who went about the streets, the professional קַינָה of those who were skilful in lamentation (2
Chronicles 35:25; Ec 12:5; Jer 9:17-20; Am 5:16). Lightfoot (Hor. Heb. on Mt 9:23) quotes from the Talmudists (Chetubh. c. 4, h. 6) to the effect that every Israelite on the death of his wife "will afford her not less than two pipers and one woman to make lamentation." The grape-gatherers sang as they gathered in the vintage, and the wine-presses were trodden with the shout of a song (Isa 16:10; Jer 48:33); the women sang as they toiled at the mill, and on every occasion the land of the Hebrews during their national prosperity was a land of music and melody. There is one class of musicians to which allusion is casually made (Ecclus. 9:4), and who were probably foreigners — the harlots who frequented the streets of great cities, and attracted notice by singing and playing the guitar (Isa 23:15-16). (See below.)
There are two aspects in which music appears, and about which little that is satisfactory can be said: the mysterious influence which it had in driving out the evil spirit from Saul, and its intimate connection with prophecy and prophetical inspiration. Miriam "the prophetess" exercised her prophetical functions as the leader of the chorus of women who sang the song of triumph over the Egyptians (Ex 15:20). The company of prophets whom Saul met coming down from the hill of God had a psaltery, a tabret, a pipe, and a harp before them, and smitten with the same enthusiasm he "prophesied among them" (1Sa 10:5,10). The priests of Baal, challenged by Elijah at Carmel, cried aloud, and cut themselves with knives, and prophesied till sunset (1Ki 18:29). The sons of Asaph. Heman, and Jeduthun, set apart by David for the Temple choir, were to "prophesy with harps, with psalteries and with cymbals" (1Ch 25:1); Jeduthun "prophesied with the harp" (1Ch 25:3), and in 2Ch 35:15 is called "the king's seer," a term which is applied to Heman (1Ch 25:5) and Asaph (2Ch 29:30) as musicians, as well as to Gad the prophet (2Sa 24:11; 1Ch 29:29). The spirit of Jehovah came upon Jahaziel, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the reign of Jehoshaphat, and he foretold the success of the royal army (2Ch 20:14). From all these instances it is evident that the same Hebrew root (נבא) is used to denote the inspiration under which the prophets spoke and the minstrels sang. Gesenius assigns the later as a secondary meaning. In the case of Elisha, the minstrel and the prophet are distinct personages, but it is not till the minstrel has played that the hand of Jehovah comes upon the prophet (2Ki 3:15). This influence of music has been explained as follows by a learned divine of the Platonist school: "These divine enthusiasts were commonly wont to compose their songs and hymns at the sounding of some one musical instrument or other, as we find it often suggested in the Psalms. So Plutarch... describes the dictate of the oracle anciently, 'how that it was uttered in verse, in pomp of words, similitudes, and metaphors, at the sound of a pipe.' Thus we have Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun set forth in this prophetical preparation (1Ch 25:1). Thus R. Sal. expounds the passage, 'When they played upon their musical instruments they prophesied after the manner of Elisha.' And this sense of this place, I think, is much more genuine than that which a late author of our own would fasten upon it, viz. that this prophesying was nothing but the singing of psalms. For it is manifest that these prophets were not mere singers, but composers, and such as were truly called prophets or enthusiasts" (Smith, Select Discourses, 6, chapter 7, page 238, 239 [ed. 1660]). All that can be safely concluded is, that in their external manifestations the effect of music in exciting the emotions of the sensitive Hebrews, the frenzy of Saul's madness (1Sa 18:10), and the religious enthusiasm of the prophets, whether of Baal or Jehovah, were so nearly alike as to be described by the same word. The case of Saul is the most difficult. We are not admitted to the secret of his dark malady. Two turning-points in his history are the two interviews with Samuel, the first and the last, if we except that dread encounter which the despairing monarch challenged before the fatal day of Gilboa. On the first of these Samuel foretold his meeting with the company of prophets with their minstrelsy, the external means by which the spirit of Jehovah should come upon him, and he should be changed into another man (1Sa 10:5). The last occasion of their meeting was the disobedience of Saul in sparing the Amalekites, for which he was rejected from being king (1Sa 15:26). Immediately after this we are told the Spirit of Jehovah departed from Saul, and an "evil spirit from Jehovah troubled him" (1Sa 16:14); and his attendants, who had perhaps witnessed the strange transformation wrought upon him by the music of the prophets, suggested-that the same means should be employed for his restoration. "Let our lord now command thy servants before thee to seek out a man, a cunning player on a harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well... And it came to pass when the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp and played with his hand. So Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him" (1Sa 16:16,23). But on two occasions, when anger and jealousy supervened, the remedy which had soothed the frenzy of insanity had lost its charm (1Sa 18:10-11; 1Sa 19:9-10). It seems, therefore, that the passage of Seneca, which has often been quoted in explanation of this phenomenon, "Pythagoras perturbationes lyra componebat" (De Ira, 3:9), is but generally applicable.
On the scientific character of Hebrew music much has been written, but to very little purpose, and with extremely meagre results. The truth is that no adequate data exist to enable, us to arrive at any satisfactory conclusions upon it. The Hebrews never were in possession of any system of notation, by which their musical traditions might have been fixed, and handed down to posterity; and in the absence of this it is hopeless to attempt to determine more than a very few points of a quite general kind. Several attempts, however, have been made by ingenious and learned men to overcome this insuperable barrier by converting the accentual system of the Psalter into a musical notation. One of the earliest of these writers was Speidel (Unverwerfliche Spuren von der alten Davidischen Singkunst ). Another was Anton (in Paulus's Neues Repertorium fs h biblisch. und morgenlzd. Literatur [1790-91]). The latest is Haupt (1854), who discovers in the accents viewed as marks of number, when combined with the arithmetical values of the Hebrew letters, all the notes of the diatonic scale, and sees in the series of notes thus indicated the original psalm- melodies. But however ingenious all these attempts may be, they all issue, as Delitzsch remarks, in self-illusion. For the accents, as Saalschitz urges, were not designed to serve any such musical use. 'It is plain that the Masoretes had no other object in view in devising them than the preservation of the right pronunciation and understanding of the text. If the accents set forth a melody, it was only the melody of declamation, which among southern nations approaches nearer to proper singing than among the northern peoples. It was not the Temple music which the accents set forth, the communication of which could have no interest to the Masoretes, who were mere linguists. It would have been strange, besides, if they had made use of so many musical notes as the accents, when seven might have sufficed. Of the ancient Temple music not a trace remains, either in the text of Holy Scripture or anywhere else" (Saalschutz, Von der Form der Hebraischen Poesie, nebst einer Abhandlung uber die Musik der Hebraier, 1825). Proceeding on the same false assumption that the poetical accents were of the nature of a musical notation, Forkel, the German historian of music, drew a conclusion very different from those of the authors now referred to. He inferred from the manifest imperfection and inadequacy of such a musical language how extremely rude and imperfect must have been the musical science and art which it represented. He concluded, in fact, that the Hebrew music was nothing more than a species of cantilation or intoned recitative, and that it never was able to advance beyond this rudimentary stage (Geschichte der Musik, 1:148). This was an absurd extreme; for how is it conceivable that a people who made such splendid progress in the art of lyric poetry, i.e., of poetry expressly designed to be married to music — to music expressive of the same emotions which were expressed in the poetry — should have lagged so far behind the other nations of antiquity in the sister science and art? See Saalschttz. On such a subject it is not safe to argue from the practice of the modern Jews (Shilte hug-gib. 2); and as singing is something so exceedingly simple and natural, it is difficult to believe that in the solemn services of their religion they stopped at the point of cantilation (Ewald, Hebr. Poesie, page 166).
The nature of the Hebrew music was doubtless of the same essential character as that of other ancient nations, and of all the present Oriental nations; consisting not so much in harmony (in the modern sense of the term) as in unison or melody (Volney, Trav. 2:325). This is the music of nature, and for a long time after the more ancient period was common among the Greeks and Romans. From the Hebrews themselves we have no definite accounts in reference to this subject; but the history of the art among other nations must here also serve as our guide. It was not the harmony of differing or dissonant sounds, but the voice formed after the tones of the lyre, that constituted the beauty of the ancient music (see Philo, Opp. 2, page 484 sq.). This so enraptured the Arabian servant of Niebuhr that he cried out, in contempt of European music, "By Allah, that is fine! God bless you!" (Reisebeschreib. nach Arabien, page 176). The whole of antiquity is full of stories in praise of this music. By its means battles were won, cities conquered, mutinies quelled, diseases cured (Plutarch, De Musica). Effects similar to these occur in the Scriptures, and have already been indicated. The different parts which we now have are the invention of modern times. SEE ALAMOTH; SEE GITTITH; SEE SHEMINITH, etc. Respecting the base, treble, etc., very few discriminating remarks had then been made. The old, the young, maidens, etc., appear to have sung one part. The beauty of their music consisted altogether in melody. The instruments by which, in singing, this melody was accompanied occupied the part of a sustained base; and if we are disposed to apply in this case what Niebuhr has told us, the beauty of the concerts consisted in this, that other persons repeated the music which had just been sung three, four, or five notes lower or higher. Such, for instance, was the concert which Miriam held with her musical fellows, and to which the "toph," or tabret, furnished the continued base; just as Niebuhr has also remarked of the Arabian women of the present day, "that when they dance or sing in their harem they always beat the corresponding time upon this drum" (Reisebesch. 1:181). To this mode of performance belongs the 24th Psalm, which rests altogether upon the varied representation; in like- manner, also, the 20th and 21st Psalms. This was all the change it admitted; and although it is very possible that this monotonous, or rather unisonous music, might not be interesting to ears tuned to musical progressions, modulations, and cadences, there is something in it with which the Orientals are well pleased. They love it for the very reason that it is monotonous or unisonous, and from Morocco to China we meet with no other. Even the cultivated Chinese, whose civilization offers so many points of resemblance to that of the ancient Egyptians, like their own music, which consists entirely of melody, better than ours, although it is not wholly despised by them (Du Halde's China, 3:216). A music of this description could easily dispense with the compositions which mark the time by notes; and the Hebrews do not appear to have known anything of musical notation; for that the accents served that purpose is a position which yet remains to be proved. At the best, the accent must have been a very imperfect means for this purpose, however high its antiquity. Europeans had not yet attained to musical notes in the 11th century, and the Orientals do not profess to have known them: till the 17th. On the other hand, the word סֵלָה, selah, which occurs in the Psalms and Habakkuk, may very possibly be a mark for the change of time, or for repeating the melody a few tones higher, or, as some think, for an accompaniment or after-piece of entirely instrumental music (see De Wette, Comment. ub. d. Psalm page 32 sq.; Saalschuitz, Form der Hebr. Poesie, p. 353 sq.; Ewald, Hebr. Poesie page 178 sq.). SEE SELAH. The Hebrew music is judged to have been of a shrill character (see Redslob, in Illgen's Zeitschr. 1839, 2:1 sq.), for this would result from the nature of the instruments-harps, flutes, and cymbals-which were employed in the Temple service (comp. Mishna, Erach. 2:3, 5, and 6).
The manner of singing single songs was, it seems, ruled by that of others in the same measure, and it is usually supposed that many of the titles of the Psalms are intended to indicate the names of other son-s according to which these were to lie sung (see Vensky, in Mitzler's Musikal Biblioth. 3:666 sq.; Eichhorn, Einl. 1:245; Jahn, Einl. 1:353; Gesenius, Gesch. d. Hebr. Sprache, page 220 sq.). SEE PSALMS.
Engel (Music of the most Ancient Nations, particularly of the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Hebrewes ) observes that the Hebrews had various kinds of sacred and secular musical compositions, differing according to the occasions on which they were employed. These he enumerates as follows:
(a) Sacred music in divine worship, which was evidently regarded as of the highest importance;
(b) Sacred songs, and instrumental compositions, which were performed also in family circles (Isa 30:29; Jas 5:13);
(c) Military music, sacred as well as secular (2Ch 20:21; 2Ch 13:12,14);
(d) Triumphal songs (Ex 15; Jude 1:5; 2Ch 20:27-28);
(e) Erotic songs, alluded to in title of Psalm 45, "A song of loves" (Isa 5:1);
(f) Music at bridal processions (Jer 7:34);
(g) Funeral songs (2Ch 35:25; Ec 12:5; Am 5:16; 2Sa 1:19);
(h) Popular secular songs, such as the songs of the vintners (Isa 16:10; Jer 48:33)
(i) Convivial songs (Isa 24:8-9; Lu 15:25; Isa 5:11-12; Am 6:4-5);
(j) Performances of itinerant musicians (Isa 23:15-16; Ec 9:4).
For the literature of the subject, SEE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.