Friday, October 31, 2003

Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Noach

In honor of this week's Sidrah, Rabbi Josh Yuter gives us the lyrics and chords to
"Arky, Arky" or Rise and Shine."

His chord chart is missing the G7 though.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Chareidi Music Theory

Avraham over at at Protocols links to "Chareidi music theory" and comments:
"Its funny how its the rock music that caused the rebellion, as opposed to being a symptom of it (In Gush, this was the "siman" v. "sibah" chaqirah). Also, I wonder what type of music we're talking about. I mean, nobody in that universe is playing Aerosmith or U2 at weddings, right?"
I'll have some comments on the Deah V'dibbur article later, but to answer Avraham's question, yes, there is rock music being played at some of those affairs. I haven't heard any U2, but I have played with bands who did the riff from Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" at Chassidish affairs in Brooklyn. Other popular riffs taken from secular songs include the "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor, "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty, "Final Countdown" by Europe, as well as the licks from Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love", The Stone's "Jumping Jack Flash" , and Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water" which are frequently inserted into Keitzad M'rakdin. I've been on jobs in Boro Park, Williamsburg, and Monroe where the bandleader called these songs.

One story I've heard on the bandstand is that of a chassid who approached a certain bandleader to request that "the intro should be 'Bakery Street' with lots of extortion." He meant that the band should introduce the Chosson and Kallah with the riff from Baker Street with the guitarist playing a heavily distorted sound on the guitar.

Also, I once heard a Chassidish fellow request: "mebbe you know de teme from de movi di Titanic?"

Update:Josh Yuter also links to the Deah V'dibbur article and comments:
"Their posek in Rock Music is Mr. Phillip Ayache, a R' Tendler-esque professor of Baroque music - who by the way must have had some secular education."
I wonder what kind of "shimush" is required to become a posek in "Inyanei Rock v'Roll?"

This discussion reminds me of the kol koreh against secular music I once saw many years ago in Israel. It listed the genres of "treif"  music to be avoided which included Rock, Jazz, Pop, and of course, the most pernicious style of the bunch, "Roll." 

Favorite Bar Mitzvah Songs

The folks at Bar Mitzvah Disco report:
"We asked you to tell us your favorite bar and bat mitzvah songs and you have!! The people have spoken and it turns out the people like really cheesy music."

1. Celebration
2. Thats what Friends are For
3. Chicken Dance
4. Celebrate Good Times
5. Locomotion
6. Twist N' shout
7. Brown Eyed Girl
8. Stairway to Heaven
9. Lady In Red
10. YMCA

Update: On second glance, aren't numbers 1 and 4 the same song?
Take a look at the lyrics for Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" and judge for yourselves. As I've noted in the past, people will often refer to the same song by different names.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Teen Heartthrob Cantors?

The yada, yada, yada blog wants to know who the "Justin Timberlake of the cantorial world is."

Breaking News!

Blog in Dm's investigative reporters are hearing from sources that one of the big wedding band offices is considering bankruptcy.

I hope things work out for those guys -- I do work for them sometimes -- but I can't say that I'm surprised that they're having financial difficulties. They've evolved into a bloated organization with artificially high costs.

OK, so no blender...

How about a Singing Bass Keychain performing a Chinese dance song???

The Singing Blender

Want to buy a Singing Blender?

Voices for Israel

Here's an interesting article about an album that's being released to support victims of terror in Israel.

Music Appreciation???

In a letter published in this week's edition of the Jewish Week, Jay Danzig of JAMS -Jewish Music As A Second Language writes:
"It is discouraging that the thank you I received after nine years of directing music at a Jewish day school was a plastic light-up pen and an unsigned card wishing me well in future endeavors."
It's a sad but true fact that many Jewish organizations don't appreciate the musicians who work or volunteer for them. I've spoken with many musicians who have performed either for free or at significantly reduced rates for major Jewish organizations only to be passed over without even being considered when the organization plans an event with a budget for music.

Say It Ain't So, Eli!

I just can't believe it!

Update: Apparently, it is true!

Public Service Announcement

Remember, always drive home carefully after the gig.

Ah, the well-known dangers of bagpiping.

Via Dave Barry

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Students Burn School in Protest Over Disco Ban

Here's an interesting story from Yahoo! News.

The story leaves out the names of the artists whose music has been banned, but Blog in Dm is happy to correct the ommision. The students were obviously rioting over the fact that they could no longer bring Shloime Dachs, Yehuda!, and Michoel PruzanskyCD's to class.

This Isn't Me - Part IV

The musician who played the music for this site is not me!

Unfortunately, the music is representative of many of the one-man bands that are out there now. Note the cheesy keyboard sounds, the wrong chords, and the embellishments of the melody. There are some good one-man-bands around, but this sort of thing is more typical.

Imagine having to sit through 5 hours of this at an affair!!!

The Angry DJ

What a conundrum! Here's a story about a DJ with an international audience who's afraid of flying.

Monday, October 27, 2003

World's Largest Hora

Some people have way too much free time.

Via KlezmerShack

More on Carlebach-style Minyanim

Here's my reader's response to my last post on the issue:
"Ok, now I understand much better at what you are getting at. Though I don't agree 100%, I certainly understand where you are coming from. The shul I used to daven in when I lived in chutz laaretz (we can leave your remaining in chu"l for later) had a monthly Carlebach minyan, so I thought you were referring to those types of minyanim where they did it occasionally to liven things up (although in my old shul it was a separate minyan in the beis medresh). Perhaps you should clarify that in your comments."
"I totally agree with you about bringing in guest chazanim. I haven't actually seen anyone you mention daven before. In fact I have never been at a Carlebach minyan with a professional chazzan. I do know Elie Kranzler, and he is a very holy man, and I know that his heart is in the right place. In fact I have heard that he finds it odd that people will pay to have a chazzan."
"I was at a Carlebach Shabbos that Elie Kranzler was hired to lead in New York. It is not my intent to criticize him personally -- he does seem to be sincere. However, the behavior of the participants in the minyan -- some of which I described in my earlier post—as well as the general spirit in the room caused me to feel that the davening wasn't sincere. Again, this is not a comment about Kranzler himself. I'm describing my impressions of the congregation as a whole.
"I was at one slichos of Kranzler's (in his shul), and while it was a little bit too much for me, I think for the not so connected youth in our times, this flavor of davening will keep them going to shul. In general many people find tefilos dry and boring."
I agree that for some people, this approach to tefila makes sense and turns an otherwise dry experience into a spiritually moving one.
"That said, I would say that this entertainment value in davening preceeds Carlebach by 100 years. Ever hear a real Chazan? In my old shul, a group of wealthy influential members used to bring in professional chazanim of all types. While the events brought in much money for the shul there was a higher price to pay. These guys would come in, repeat words and turn the tefilos into meaningless statements."
I've seen this to and am opossed to it as well. Davening should never be turned into entertainment.
"One "frum" chazan even used a tuning fork on shabbos!"
I can't remember the sources, but I do believe that there are reliable poskim who are "matir" the use of a tuning fork by a Chazzan on Shabbos. I think the logic was that since it is "huktzeh (set aside) for this purpose before Shabbos it is not considered muktzeh. I'll try to track down the sources on this.
"The lack of respect you describe of those immature gentleman looking over the mechitza is just that, immaturity. Hopefully it will go away some day, but sadly, it often does not. Many people are taught from childhood to disrespect a shul (eating cheerios, candy, reading non torah books or playing with toys in shul). I don't think it has much to do with the davening itself, but these "events" will draw those people not particularly interested in davening to begin with. I don't mean here non-frum people, I mean the frum people who may even wear black hats, and even though they won't admit it they are truly bored by davening (usually you can observe certain behaivors of people with this problem, for instance much talking and laughing, or even talking or learning torah when they should be davening). Perhaps those who attend the events are the ones who realize some sort of conviction to find more meaning in tefilah."
"I also very much agree with you on the dancing and kavod issue. I find for the first time, that in the Carlebach minayn I attent semi-regularly now in Ramat Bet Shemesh, there is actually a true urge to dance (just a little). The shul has a set time, route, and duration for the hakafah around the shul. I again observe that many of those who show disrespect during davening, by dancing, are those in the age of late teens early 20's. Clearly, many of these people are looking for some sort of spiritual outlet, and they are not properly focused."
These are essentially the points I was making in my earlier post
"The yeshiva I davened in for RH and YK has several young madrichim of this new kind of Carlebach/Breslover chasidim (I don't know if they have these in NY yet, they where the big white yarmulka's, colored talis, and often have long hair). These guys were dancing with the aron hakodesh open (best left for simchas torah or Dovid Hamelech), they feel the need to clap during Shmoneh Esrei and disturb the entire tzibbur, and they have something about jumping up and down and moving side to side so quickly that they constantly slap people with their tzitzis. Now I am ranting."
I like the description of the Carlebach/Breslover Chassidim. These are becoming more and more common here too, although they usually don't wear colored taleisim. And, they are annoying.
"My point is, I think you need to clarify your post, and not judge all these things so broadly."
OK, I thought I'd been pretty clear, but consider this a clarification.
"What kind of sources do you have for preserving the nusach? I have thought about that a bit."
This is something I will IY'H take up in a future post.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Dang Blogger!

I've been having some trouble with Blogger of late. Some posts don't show up while others take a while to post. The problem seems to have corrected itself now though.

No to Hasheyvanu!

But spirituals are ok!

Via EphShap

Yet more reader email

"I drifted on to your page and saw your comments about the Carlebach Minyanim. I am trying to figure out what you could possibly mean by "entertaining". I have been to many Carlebach Minyanim and I can't understand by what you mean when you say that they become entertainment. Maybe there is some sort shtick that I am not familiar with."

My response:

Thanks for your comments.

I am referring to the new practice of having a “Carlebach style” davening at a shul where this is not the regular mode of tefilah. It’s kind of like having a guest singer/performer during during Tefilah and it turns the focus of the event from communicating with Hashem towards achieving entertainment satisfaction.

I’ve been at many of these, and my perception is that most often these events are — for a significant number of the attendees — a way to make a boring service interesting. And I don’t mean interesting in the sense of making a dry service more meaningful. Instead, they bring in guest singers like Yisroel Williger, Elie Kranzler, Shloime Dachs, and others to entertain the crowd.

At these ‘events” there is always the obligatory dancing during Kabbolas Shabbos, but it feels forced instead of being a natural outgrowth of the davening. It doesn’t feel like people are caught up in the Tefilah experience to the point where they need to express their feelings of simcha and hiskarvus to Hakadosh Baruch Hu through song and dance. Instead, the atmosphere created is a lack of respect for Kedushas Beis Hakneses as people add singing and dancing to a davening simply to make it less boring.

One example:

At one such davening, when the chazzan left the bimah during Mizmor L’david and started a dance line snaking through the crowd, I watched two guys dancing with each other. They were shmoozing as they danced and kept sneaking furtive glances towards the ladies section to see if the women were watching. (I don’t know that this was their motivation, but it was definitely the impression my friends and I got. At the conclusion of the dancing, they gave each other "hi-fives." Now, I think that this is a lack of respect for Tefilah.

I’m not criticizing everyone who davens in this way. There are many people who sincerely relate better to Hashem through davening in this manner. For them, this experimental approach to Tefilah makes it more meaningful and helps them to feel closer to Hashem and for those for whom this approach works, kol hakavod lachem. (There is a side point that can be made here about the importance of preserving the traditional Nusach, but that’s for another time.) I’m condemning those who choose this form of davening because they’re bored by the Tefilah and choose to have a Carlebach-style davening instead of actually working on making the Tefilah, their own "avodah shebalev", meaningful.

Should Nice Jewish Girls Dig Hip Hop?

Pretentious article via Jewschool.

About Robert Zimmerman's Faith

Bob Dylan's unshakeable monotheism -- Part I: The 1960s

Shadchan needed!

Jewish rapper 50 Shekel seeks his Lil' Spenda.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Toy Symphony

Here's an interesting site about Todd Machover's "Toy Symphony."

There are a ton of interesting video clips. The interfaces seem cool and the kids seem to be learning alot about music -- albeit on a non-traditional way.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Chol Hamoed Giveaway - Part V

Here are some selected recitatives of Yossele Rosenblatt!

Once again, brought to you free by Blog in Dm - supplying free jewish sheet music to the J-blogosphere.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Chol Hamoed Giveaway - Part IV

Interested in Chazzonus? Here are over 2,000 pages of scanned sheet music!

I'm not even going to attempt to calculate an estimated retail value!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Chol Hamoed Giveaway - Part III

In honor of Chol Hamoed, Blog in Dm is proud to present Shloime Dachs sheet music!

The regular retail price for this lead sheet is $7.50.

Hamotzee or Mezonos?

Dancing Bagels!!!

Monday, October 13, 2003

Chol Hamoed Giveaway - Part II

In honor of Chol Hamoed, Blog in Dm is proud to present free Yehuda! sheet music!

At regular retail price these sheets would cost $270.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Chol Hamoed Giveaway! Part 1

In honor of Chol Hamoed, Blog in Dm is proud to present free Shalsheles sheet music!

This is a great value, as at regular retail price these sheets would cost $142.50

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Hard Rockin' in Hebrew

This old Forward article on Yossi Piamenta is interesting.

Notable grafs:
"But while the music may not quite compare to that coming out of the more secular world, if you're looking for an authentic subculture in indie rock you probably couldn't do better than New York's quietly growing chasidic rock community. Some of the bands, like Moshe Antelis' Rikud, are hardly rocking; they're the sort of wedding outfit that mildly plays reggae versions of traditional Hebrew ballads and a lounge music-tinged "Hine Ma Tov." The band Rock B'Simcha, on the other hand, proudly bills itself as "Zep on Torah," even though their heavy metal has more in common with bands like Helmet or Metallica (that is, if Helmet or Metallica took to singing in Hebrew and dedicating songs to Jonathan Pollard). You almost have to love a heavy metal band that between songs tells the crowd, "Alright, now we're gonna do some horas!"
I've never heard of Rock B'simcha aside from that one show they did with Piamenta and Rikud. Anyone know anything about them?
"Despite these differences, in some very conventional ways the fans of these bands fit the indie rock stereotype. For one, they smoke a lot: the girls, the guys, the bands, all of them light up. They work the bar, drinking their Coronas and Rolling Rocks. They like their music loud, and even if the women tend to line dance regardless of the tune, a few of the men have managed to get the head-banging motion down pat. If they aren't quite up to par on the indie fashion front - at Mr. Piamenta's most recent show ties, sweater vests and yarmulkes were the order of the day - they have some things figured out: this is a community, after all, that wears that hip downtown black a lot.
The smoking and drinking at these bar performances are part of the reason I think the marketing of such concerts to "frum" youth is inappropriate.
"And if chasidic rockers and their fans aren't quite rebels in the conventional rock sense, they're certainly rebels in the broader sense of the word. Appreciating - let alone playing - hard rock is not common in the tightly knit, ultra-Orthodox community, and almost all of the musicians have had to overcome serious doubts. 'Eventually, I realized that God had given me a gift,' says one, 'and that there was nothing wrong with playing rock.'"
Oftentimes, this gift of musical creativity is viewed by some in the "frum" community as a Yetzer Hara (negative impulse) that needs to be conquered rather than a positive impulse that should be directed appropriately.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Thursday, October 02, 2003