6. Climate and Environment in Idelsohn’s History of Hebrew Music
Shai Burstyn [+]
Tel Aviv University (retired)
In this article I focus attention on A.Z. Idelsohn's views on climate and nature as shaping forces of national musics in general and of Hebrew music in particular. Idelsohn, the foremost ethnomusicologist of Jewish music in the early 20th century, completed a three-volume History of Hebrew Music, the first volume of which appeared in 1924 in Hebrew. It showed him to be very much a man of his time: on the one hand he held conservative anthropological views current in the two preceding centuries, but on the other hand he adopted positions typical to the modern thinking of his time. His rather selective use of theoretical writers such as Pitta, Buckle and Jabotinsky, served his main purpose: to form a solid foundation to his claim for the survival of ancient Hebrew music in Biblical cantillation.