Music in Lubavitcher Life
- List Price: $39.95
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
- Publish date: 10/01/2000
- ISBN: 9780252025914
- ISBN10: 0252025911
Lubavitcher music centers on nigunim, a body of paraliturgical melodies that Lubavitchers regard as a primary form of spiritual communication with the divine. For a song to be included in the repertory of nigunim, it must conform to Hasidic religious and aesthetic principles. If brought in from the outside, it must be purified: stripped of its coarse outer shell (usually the text) and recomposed in accordance with coded musical structures (including certain melody types, ornamentation, and formal organization). Performance of nigunim adheres, among other things, to a process associated with the spirituality of the great Hasidic leaders of the past.
Along with vivid descriptions of musical performance in religious contexts and private gatherings, Koskoff details the musical sounds and structures that symbolize Lubavitcher social relations. In particular, she examines the differences between Lubavitcher women's and men's music making and the underlying beliefs and assumptions that give rise to gendered musical behaviors, such as the dictum that prohibits men from hearing a woman sing.
An insightful portrait of a distinctive community's musical and religious life, this volume is also a candid view ofethnographic research and of fieldwork's illusory objectivity.