History of music in the biblical period
According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, Jubal was named by the Bible as the inventor of musical instruments. The Hebrews were much given to the cultivation of music. Their whole history and literature afford abundant evidence of this. After the Deluge, the first mention of music is in the account of Laban's interview with Jacob . After their triumphal passage of the Red Sea, Moses and the children of Israel sang their song of deliverance. But the period of Samuel, David, and Solomon was the golden age of Hebrew music, as it was of Hebrew poetry. Music was now for the first time systematically cultivated. It was an essential part of training in the schools of the prophets . There now arose also a class of professional singers. Solomon's Temple, however, was the great school of music. In the conducting of its services large bands of trained singers and players on instruments were constantly employed . In private life also music seems to have held an important place among the Hebrews.
Music and theatre scholars studying the history and anthropology of Semitic and early Judeo-Christian culture, have also discovered common links between theatrical and musical activity in the classical cultures of the Hebrews with those of the later cultures of the Greeks and Romans. The common area of performance is found in a "social phenomenon called litany," a form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supplications. The Journal of Religion and Theatre notes that among the earliest forms of litany, "Hebrew litany was accompanied by a rich musical tradition:"
"While Genesis 4.21 identifies Jubal as the "father of all such as handle the harp and pipe," the Pentateuch is nearly silent about the practice and instruction of music in the early life of Israel. Then, in I Samuel 10 and the texts which follow, a curious thing happens. "One finds in the biblical text," writes Alfred Sendrey, "a sudden and unexplained upsurge of large choirs and orchestras, consisting of thoroughly organized and trained musical groups, which would be virtually inconceivable without lengthy, methodical preparation." This has led some scholars to believe that the prophet Samuel was the patriarch of a school which taught not only prophets and holy men, but also sacred-rite musicians. This public music school, perhaps the earliest in recorded history, was not restricted to a priestly class--which is how the shepherd boy David appears on the scene as a minstrel to King Saul."
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