TUES NUS 701 Nusach
(Spring Termn 2011)
overview of all Nusach for all services of the year (pps)
last updated: 29-1-11
The Hebrew word "Nusach" means "version, formula, custom or style". In liturgical studies it denotes either a specific text version of a prayer (for example nusach ashkenaz, nusach sefarad) or a set of fixed musical motives for specific times of the Jewish liturgical year.
Nusah Tefillah is part of the Jewish tradition. We inherited not only the prayer texts but also liturgical melodies and motives for the prayers and the torah. 

Nusach is not about composed melodies, but about sets of motives. These motives were orally transmitted and the performance depends on the improvisations of the individual cantor/shaliach zibbur. Some famous cantors since the 18th century have, however, made notations of their own customs, partly in highly artistic style, so that today there are musical notatons available.

This course will give the theoretical background of the most important musical motives for the different Jewish services. It will also give an overview about the tools where to find help if a certain nusach is needed.

To learn how to use nusach takes a long time (at least a year) and requires a constant possibility to listen to a trained traditinal cantor. This course can therefore only give a limited first insight. At the end of this course students will understand the principles of nusah tefillah and will be able to apply it in a simple basic way to one or two parts of their choice of the Reform or Liberal service. We will learn by listening and imitating, with recordings and with musical notations. This course may be then a start to study nusach tefillah in depth over several years in institutions like EAJL.

As nusach is used in traditional services and sometimes relies on certain phrases or words in the traditional text, we will start learning with the orthodox texts and only later try to apply it to the Reform prayerbooks and discuss its usage with the liberal prayerbooks.

Students will need to bring a recording device, orthodox prayerbooks for the whole year and the prayerbooks they use in their own synagogues and curiosity. 

1 25.1. no class
2 1.2. Introduction: what is nusach tefillah, overview, introduction into sources Recommended resources to learn Nusach in the Internet.
3 8.2. no class
4 15.2. The musical motives of Shaharit Shabbat I (Pesuka deSimra Mode, Yishtabach Mode)
5 22.2. The musical motives of Shaharit Shabbat II (Shabbat Amida: Adonai Malach and Ahavah Rabba Mode)
6 1.3. The musical motives of Erev Shabbat (Magen Avot Mode)
7 8.3. The musical motives of Shaharit lechol (Study modes)
8 15.3. The musical motives of the Festivals I (Amida, Festival Mode)
9 22.3. The musical motives of the Festivals II (leitmotivs)
10 29.3. no class (JCM)
11 5.4. The musical motives of the High Holidays I (Mi Sinai Tunes and evening services)
12 12.4. The musical motives of the High Holidays II (Pesuke de Simra and Shema)
13 19.4. 1st Pessach (no class, Pessach Break)
14 26.4. 8th Pessach (no class, Pessach Break)
15 3.5. The musical motives of the High Holidays III (High Holiday Amida Tunes)
16 10.5. The musical motives of the High Holidays IV (Selicha Mode) and overview about rest of High Holidays that can't be dealt with in this course.