San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble
Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura's version of
The Priestly / Aaronic Blessing
Numbers 6: 22-27
French composer/scholar Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura believes that she has deciphered musical notations in the original text of the Bible. The notations are found in what are called "te'amin," which are accent marks found above and below the main text in all Hebrew manuscripts.
Haïk-Vantoura began working on deciphering these symbols around 1970. It was a slow, laborious process, involving much trial and error. One important part of her work revolved around the ancient art of chironomy, an ancient method in which hand signs are used to transmit music.
Haïk-Vantourareports that once she began to look at the te'amin as possibly representing graphical representations of chirometric hand signs, a key to deciphering the the Biblical notation began to emerge from her work. Eventually she created a deciphering key in which each of the Biblical symbols can be translated into notes on a scale.
One interesting thing about Haïk-Vantoura's deciphering key is that, when applied to the Biblical notation, it always yields coherent music, not music sometimes and noise another. Also, the music is always well suited to the mood of the words it accompanies in the text.
Ms. Haïk-Vantoura's work has been acclaimed by some scholars as a definite breakthrough, but is rejected by other scholars as still leaving too much room for subjective interpretation.
Most of the Psalms have now been deciphered using Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura's key, and several recordings of the resulting music have been made.