Mishkan ha-Echad

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Ritual Voice, Part 2

Frequently I am reminded of the importance of how we deliver our lines during ritual. In addition to the points made in my previous post there is the matter of how we pronounce different words in the ritual.

I do not mean that we need to employ a certain accent or correct imperfections in our general pronunciation (though such corrections may also help), but more that we pronounce the words with the sound that represents the meaning behind them.

For example, if the word "whisper" appears in the text, it should be whispered. There should be a softness, a sound of a breeze billowing through the Hall, as if sounded by some ethereal voice. In contrast the word "cry" should be cried aloud, forceful and full of emotion. The word "roar" should be roared (not to say that you let everyone in the city hear, but that you encapsulate the sound of a roar within a smaller setting).

It helps, therefore, to spend some time considering the sounds that each word makes and what these sounds suggest to you, because sound affects us in ritual just as much as colour, smell and movement do. Harking back to our school lessons on onomatopoeia can pay dividends in this regard.
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