Rhythm in Yemenite Cantillation: Masoretic Accents and Syllabic Time

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This study, based on years of research in Yemenite synagogues, presents a new view of Yemenite biblical cantillation. It shows that the masoretic accents are realized in this tradition through syllabic rhythm, to which the melody serves mostly as a secondary ornament. This insight may lead to new directions in research on masoretic accentuation. The study also demonstrates that rhythmic pattern is often the sole determinant of vowel length in Yemenite Biblical Hebrew. This fact calls attention to rhythm as a linguistic factor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-351
Number of pages55
JournalHebrew Union College Annual
StatePublished - 2017


  • Bible -- Accents and accentuation
  • Cantillation -- History and criticism
  • Judaism -- Yemenite rite
  • Hebrew language -- Rhythm


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