Shofar Playing

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Boplicity, May 6, 2008.

  1. Boplicity

    Boplicity New Friend

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    Apr 28, 2008
    Guilford, CT
    I've been asked to "blow the shofar" at a friends wedding. Any one with experience out there got any advice or suggestions? I'd like to go beyond just sounding a single tone.
     
  2. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    Like any brass instrument, it depends how long it is to see how many partials you can get out of it. i have a shofar that is quite small, about six inches long and I can get two, maybe three notes out of it. It takes a bit of trial and error to find out how to orient your lips to the instrument.
     
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity New Friend

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    Apr 28, 2008
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    Thanks for responding. The shofar I have is an actual ram's horn and I'd say it's something like 36''. I can get lots of partials from it but as you say it is hard to get the lips oriented to the small "mouthpiece". What have you tried to get a dependable sound? Do you know if there "traditional" melodies or forms?
     
  4. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    My shofar has no mouthpiece, just the flat small end of the horn. It is an oblong hole, so I orient it on my face to get as much buzzing as possible. As for tunes, got me! I grew up methodist. My Shofar came from one of my students who was having his Bar Mitzva in Israel and I told him to bring me back something!
    As for melodies, hmmmmmmmmmmmm, ask at your local Synagogue, watch some epic movies The Ten Commandments, and try to fake something regal for a wedding? I'll bet that the congregation will not know the difference. A lot of it will be in the presentation. I have friends who play bagpipes(willingly!) and they are pretty much for show at weddings. I'm sure that they could play most anything and it would go over well. Pomp is pomp! (When done well).
     
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity New Friend

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    Apr 28, 2008
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    Danke Schein!
     
  6. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    Try this link. It says you don't play music on a shophar (shofar).

    A few short blasts is all you need. Don't play too many notes.
    Talk to the rabbi and get approval of what you play.

    Sounding the Shofar
     
  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity New Friend

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    Apr 28, 2008
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    Thanks stchasking! Much apppreciated.
     
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    The Shofar had but two functions: to assemble the people or to sound an alarm. For the former a "Do-Sooooooooooooool", and for the latter a series of nine notes. Since it is a wedding, I presume that no alarm is needed. A long blast will suffice.

    Have fun!
     
  9. tromj

    tromj Piano User

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    Jun 4, 2005
    Teaneck, NJ
    Vulgano, are you saying you shouldn't play the alarm at a wedding? :)

    Seriously, make sure you play the Shofar you are going to use a few times. It's different enough from the trumpet that it can be a bit uncomfortable. I blow Shofar in my synagogue, and start practicing about a month before Rosh Hashana, when it is used traditionally. The sounds are varied by length, not pitch.
     
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I got an interest in Jewish liturgical music and did find some shofar calls notated (for organ perhaps?). The "imitation" shofar call did have two notes--maybe to simulate a "frack?" ;-)
     

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