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SMC103Y1 Lecture Notes - Lowkey

St. Michael's College Courses
Course Code
Michael O Connor

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January 21, 2013
Look on YouTube: Pythagoras: Donald Duck in mathmajic land
Music in the bible
Begbie calls it music in action in biblical times because he wants to stress that music
is something that is done, it is about activities that are musical
We have little evidence of what biblical music sounded like, no recordings, little
archeological evidence, we are in the dark about the musical sound in the bible
Two streams of thought:
Jewish stream: all the first Christians were Jews. First Christians worshiped in
Jewish ways
Where did Jewish people make music?
The temple: two temples. First built by Solomon 1000bce destroyed by
Babylonians 400 years later. The Greeks and Romans gave permission for the
Jews to rebuild when they knocked the Babylonians off. It was built by Herod
around Jesus birth. The temple was a place of sacrifice (animals, food, burn
things) people who deal in sacrifice are priests. Place of ritual. Place of
hierarchal construction. Constructed of courtyards outer: Gentiles then women,
then men, then, holy people, then the holy of the holy - meant to reflect the
variation of the whole of creation and the path to god. Music was performed by
trained specialists.
Heterophonic: signing the same harmony but then you throw in your own
touches in the group. All singing the same tune but not all together.
Synagogue: there were lots of synagogues, because Jews were scattered
throughout the empire. Worship more low-key. Leaders were lay people. No
instruments, loose in the structure. No evidence that people who sang were
specialists. It was a very lyrical culture. Worship was word centred. More about
the reading of scripture and the teaching of scripture.
Home: in tents when they are wandering people. Focus for prayer in the home
is the meal, the sabbath dinner begins with a prayer, chanting of prayer, lighting
of the candles. Passover is worship in the home. Passover-mystery of salvation
is reancted- makes the event present
Greco-roman culture: had a big impact on how Christians thought about things.
The bible and scripture and business was in Greek
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