High Holiday Melodies

Shir Shacharit Music NotesOn Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, our daily and weekly liturgy is expanded to include the themes of the days: taking note of Divine majesty, reflecting on our actions as individuals and as a community, acknowledging fragility and mortality, and hoping for blessing. For some, tunes from childhood resonate through these days, evoking earlier generations and experiences. For others, the words and music of the liturgy are new. Our shlichei tzibur (prayer leaders) on the High Holy Days use the nusach (the musical modes and melodies) particular to the days. This year, our shlichei tzibur gathered to choose some musical motifs that they will use throughout these Days of Awe, beginning with Selichot and continuing through Yom Kippur. Below is a selection of recordings (some by our shlichei tzibur, some by others) that you can listen to, to evoke the mood of the holidays or to learn some of the music ahead of time so you can join in singing heartily in the moment. These musical selections reflect both the solemnity and the joy of the days ahead – some are particular to these days and others we use all year. With gratitude for the honor of leading this holy community in prayer on these particularly holy days and with blessings for a sweet and healthy new year, Rabbi Morris Allen Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman Sheldon Berkowitz, Merrill Beil, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Wendy Goldberg, Rabbi Yosi Gordon, Jonathan Ehrlich, Benjamin Kamm, Sara Lynn Newberger, Natan Paradise

Page numbers indicated are in the Mahzor Lev Shalem.

Click to play; Right-click to download. Download all here (33.7 MB)

Nigunim and musical motifs we will draw on in multiple services:

  • Bina’s Nigun (some of us learned this from Joey Weisenberg last winter; this recording is from his CD “Live in the Choir Loft”)
  • Beshem Hashem (nigun; this’ll likely show up without the words, just as a tune)
  • Meloch al Kol Haolam (nigun; this’ll show up without the words, just as a tune)
  • Zochreinu Lechayim (in the first blessing of each Amidah; p. 82, 141, 253, 313, 375)
  • Ata Vechartanu (beginning of the middle blessing of each Amidah; p. 88, 151, 259, 323, 378)
  • Sim Shalom (prayer for peace at the end of each Amidah; we’ll use this tune sometimes; p. 91, 169, 270, 357, 388)
  • Kaddish Shaleim (marks the end of each service; p. 19, 94, 171, 245, 272, 359, 390)

From Shacharit (the early part of the services):

From Musaf (the later part of the services):

From Kol Nidre:

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