Jewish Music Sometimes Rubs Me the Wrong Way

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  • #619186

    flatbusher
    Participant

    I happened to be listening to the radio on which was playing a Jewish station, and I was rather appalled to hear a version of Kaddish with a modern music and beat. It rubbed me the wrong way, and wonder if anyone else gets bothered when revered texts get a modern Jewish music treatment.

    #1216769

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    It depends on the music. Sometimes it bothers me, other times not.

    #1216770

    catch yourself
    Participant

    This doesn’t bother me, even when the tune in question is not to my taste.

    What does bother me is when the singer exploits the text, and sings a song simply because one of the words sounds like his name, or similar childish reasons.

    According to the Gemara, in such cases, ????? ????? ?? ??????? ???? ???”?, and this is the source of much suffering. Even ??? ???? was punished for saying ?????? ??? ?? ?????.

    In my opinion, much of the “Goyish-sounding music” about which people love to complain is actually preferable to a lot of the songs these people prefer, if only because their lyrics are not inherently disrespectful of the Torah. It’s better to sing words of your own composition than to abuse the ??? ???.

    #1216771

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    It depends on the words also. In general, one has to be careful with Pesukim, but Kaddish and Shema are more problematic if the tunes aren’t appropriate, imho (Shema is not my opinion – it’s brought down somewhere, but I haven’t specifically seen anything about Kaddish – it just seems obvious).

    The main question is – does the song (combination of words and tune) bring you closer to Hashem? Does the tune help you to internalize the meaning of the words? Different people will have different answers for different songs. It also depends on sensitivity levels.

    Personally, I’m not as sensitive as some are, but I’m more sensitive than others. I like music that is somewhat modern and rocky – it makes me happy and gives me energy- but I don’t like it when it is too much so and especially, if it doesn’t fit the words.

    I feel like sometimes people just throw together tunes and words that have nothing to do with each other.

    #1216772

    flatbusher
    Participant

    catch yourself: I agree with you on that. I am surprised though that no one in Torah leadership seems to comment on this

    #1216773

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    flatbusher, you must be kidding. Rabbonim have tried in vain to stop the downward trend of our music and have been made into a laughing stock ever since.

    #1216774

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    People often argue that what we call goyishe music is subjective and only relative to your own childhood. I would like to point out that there is a very visible measuring stick which is the kind of dancing out evokes. This stuff has instant results. You put it on and you watch people go Meshuga.

    #1216775

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I guess they saw that: a) it was a lost cause & b) there are so many more important issues to deal with

    #1216776

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    It bothers me when a songwriter can’t write his own lyrics and has to plagiarize from ancient ones.

    #1216777

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    As to more important issues, the effect such music has on the eidelkite of a house that has this playing is way too underestimated, or under-understood.

    #1216778

    Little Froggie
    Participant

    It’s so interesting.. this conversation is coming out precisely now, Shabbos Shira!!

    #1216779

    Little Froggie
    Participant

    Here’s another example I bet would qualify. There’s this new “chassidic” actually pure goyish, grub, pust and prost, wild disco trance to the holy words of the Zemer written by the holy R. Aharon Hagadol, of Karlin. I’m sure you’ve heard it (from five mile away), I’m sure you’re seen the ‘swaying’, trance dance motions to ???? ???? ??????. Sure is, and this dicso noise will “express” it!!

    #1216780

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    What do you people have against exercise?

    #1216781

    tobs
    Participant

    it’s not exercise that we’re against it’s just the way that people dance to these inappropriate songs that is a little problematic

    #1216782

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Isn’t it possible that the song as you know it being traditional was once a non-traditional version of the song?

    Back in the day someone thought that the version that you prefer was new and rubbed one the wrong way. Now that’s all you know.

    #1216783

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    When people dance to what you might call traditional music, they are actually just nodding their heads slightly.

    #1216784

    ShmuelHaNavi
    Member

    I agree with the OP, but for a different reason. My problem with using modern-sounding beats in Jewish music is not that I think it’s ossur (I don’t), but because it’s so often poorly done and used as a cheap marketing gimmick to appeal to “the kids”, who often aren’t interested anyway. I would almost rather go back to everything being chazzanus and klezmer, as that at least would sound more genuine. Failing that, I think Jewish musicians should focus on making music they enjoy and think is cool, and let the yiddishkeit and Torah messages happen naturally. If the music doesn’t sound good, no one’s going to listen to the message anyway.

    #1216785

    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    flatbusher- I know exactly what song you are refering to, it’s actually one of my favorite’s. It’s supposed to show the happiniess of the neshoma that’s being elavated, I guess. For me, it’s definitely a song I use to connect to Hashem. So people connect through different types of music, that’s ok.

    #1216786

    tiawd
    Participant

    I think Lilmod made an excellent point- shouldn’t the purpose of Jewish music be to inspire people and give them his’orerus? If the words and the tune work together to accomplish that, then great. But if one or the other doesn’t inspire people, but is just the Jewish equivalent of a goyish dance beat, then what type of chutzpah is it to take words from Torah sources and exploit them to that end?

    Obviously, each person has different sensitivities, but I think most people can tell if a song was meant to be me’orer people or not.

    #1216787

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Then just take out the words and replace them with neutral ones.

    #1216788

    flatbusher
    Participant

    Shopping613: I’m glad it works for you, but it may be a generational thing. As an older person who spent 11 months saying kaddish for each of my parents, I relate to Kaddish in a different way, and maybe others who have to recite Kaddish can appreciate what I am saying or why I react as such. But I have a similar reaction to what I regard as sacred text being what I feel is trivialized with music that obviously has been influenced by non-holy origins.

    #1216789

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    flatbusher – I hadn’t even thought of it from that perspective (of Kaddish being said for someone who was nifter). I was thinking of it from the perspective of the kedusha of the words.

    I am not the type who is usually bothered by modern/rocky Jewish music. But there is one song that I was bothered by that was to the words of Kaddish. It bothered me because Kaddish is something that is very kadosh, and I felt the tune was not appropriate.

    At least that was how I felt when the song first came out. It is possible that today I have already become desensitized and would no longer feel that way.

    #1216790

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I don’t know of a type tune that would be appropriate for using the words as a song.

    #1216791

    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    flatbusher- You make a lot of sense, I know there is kedusha to that. And I immediately thought about someone who was niftar when after the 200th time I heard the song I actually figured out the words, which does add to your point that such songs re only made for this generation and we don’t even know what we are listening to.

    But hey, it works for them. They make money. I don’t know if it’s proper or not…

    #1216792

    yungermanS
    Participant

    Jewish music today is not the same as the previous generation.

    it has become pure rocken goyish music with a goyish taam-that effects our & our tiere childrens neshamos & ruchnius-with just the words changed into hebrew words ….

    how gedolim allow it shocks me. theres a sefer on all the kinds of different music & how it effects you negatively depending on the kind of music

    #1216793

    HockPurposesOnly
    Participant

    People have to understand that everyone has a different taste in music. Just because you dont like a certain style, doesnt mean its bad. In fact it is uplifting to others and brings them closer to Hashem. Most (if not all) of the frum singers making modern sounding music are doing so in order that the younger generation will not go to non jewish music, since old jewish music does not sound good to most of them. And btw the jewish sounding music of nowadays was considered crazy not so long ago.

    #1216794

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    What is Rocken music? The people of Rocken have never been known for their music.

    #1216795

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    RY – How do you know? Do you know them personally? Have you ever listened to their music?

    #1216796

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I haven’t heard of any songs from the people of Rocken, even after searching for 64 seconds. And as far as I know, exactly zero Jewish songs are or are inspired by Rocken music.

    #1216797

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    64 seconds 🙂

    #1216798

    catch yourself
    Participant

    The music with a “Yiddishe taam” about which many peole love to reminisce was also influenced by the popular music of its day. Some of the most “hartzige” tunes actually turn out to have been composed by non-Jews.

    It is not a coincidence that Sefardi music sounds so middle-eastern, and Ashkenazi music sounds so Eastern European. That today’s music sounds so American is par for the course. Don’t be such a fuddy duddy.

    #1216799

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I googled it, and it’s actually a real place!! It’s in Germany. Did you know that, RebYidd? I thought you were joking.

    I couldn’t find anything about their music though. But I’m not sure if I searched for a full 64 seconds, as I didn’t actually time it.

    #1216800

    huju
    Participant

    <edited>

    Can someone tell me whether a classical symphony, even if not by a Jewish composer, and performed by gentiles and non-frum Jews, is assur?

    #1216801

    catch yourself
    Participant

    Huju, I am not a very musical person, so I can not really comment on the technical quality of the music. I do know that it sounds like music to me, and I enjoy it much better than most classical stuff. I don’t mind if you consider me an uncultured member of the proletariat because of this.

    <edited response to above edit>

    As far as the lyrics, I don’t know to which singers it is that you refer, but the ones I listen to use mostly Pesukim, Ma’amarei Chazal, or Sifrei Kodesh as sources for their lyrics. Those songs which are original lyrics are also quite “Jewish”.

    #1216802

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Only those songs that have original lyrics (or none at all) are Jewish. Plagiarism is not cool, even when it is legal.

    #1216803

    huju
    Participant

    To catch yourself: If you like the so-called Jewish music, enjoy it. But I think it is an embarrassment (but not a Chillul Hashem) to yiddishkeit. My children (under age 8) make “Jewish” drawings and paintings at cheder, but it is not art – at least not yet.

    #1216804

    catch yourself
    Participant

    Huju, I’m duly impressed with your musical sophistication. I bow to your cultural superiority. Nevertheless, I must remind you again that comments which denigrate a person or group of people are strictly prohibited by the Halacha.

    Mods…?

    It was originally left because it seemed very non-specific.

    #1216805

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Catch Yourself – maskim

    #1216806

    huju
    Participant

    To catch yourself: I hear sarcasm in your praise of my musical sophistication. I am not musically sophisticated, but so-called Jewish music always rubs me the wrong way. I have no idea why the moderators edited my first comment. Maybe YWN gets ad revenue from Jewish music producers – I can understand that.

    But I really would like an answer to my question about classical music.

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