Reply To: Jewish music? Mah zeh?

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notasheep: I typed up two whole responses and then decided to change my tack on this one.

First of all, I’m not sure I entirely see what you’re saying. I think there’s a gestalt element to music and I’m not sure how that fits into play with what you’re saying.

It all depends on what kind of impurity you mean. Can miritchka (or anyone, I really don’t mean to use her as an example) be impacted by impurity even as she feels uplifted? Is this some kind of unconscious tarnish? If it is, then maybe, but we really don’t know. It’s not something we can measure. It’s a bit like sechar va’onesh in that respect- it’s hard to gauge in olam hazeh. And if this is true, the ramifications in our lives in general are of a much greater scope than just music.

If it’s a real, conscious feeling of “I’m unclean,” then I think that would be more from associating the Jewish song with its treif counterpart than from the inherent tamei aspect of the tune. Your example from Phantom relies on the assumption that you already know the original song- play an instrumental recording to people who don’t know the musical and the thoughts of tumah will never even approach their minds. If you listen to the brand new hit single “Shema Yisrael” and think, oh, that sounds like that song I heard in Forever 21, that would rain buckets on anyone’s parade. But I find it hard to believe that it would TANGIBLY impact someone who had no concept of the original music.

You could very well be right that some music has an inherently harmful impact- but that brings up a question of which and why that I’d rather not get into at 11:04 pm. Basically, I’m just wondering whether such a blanket statement can really be made.

I agree with oomis in a completely different way- I don’t think that there is an objective way to measure pure or impure music. I’ve heard Piano Guys covers of songs from who knows where that have touched me deep down and I’ve heard nice frum music that leaves me cold. Shira is a special way of connecting to Hashem, and just as we all connect to Hashem in unique ways, we use unique shira.