Original Research

Music, singing and dancing in relation to the use of the harp and the ram’s horn or shofar in the Bible: What do we know about this?

Morakeng E.K. Lebaka
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 3 | a2664 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2664 | © 2014 Morakeng E.K. Lebaka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 March 2014 | Published: 16 October 2014


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Abstract

There are many possible approaches to describing the effects and uses of music in a particular society. It would be a mistake to assume that music in the Bible is not the cement of social life and has no liturgical significance. The present study seeks to explore how people in ancient times employed music using the harp and the ram’s horn (shofar), to cope with roles that were open or never-ending in their demands. In particular, it focuses upon the role played by music in secular life as well as religious rituals, as described in the Bible. The method used was an extensive literature study of the Old and New Testament, textbooks and relevant peer reviewed journals, with a focus on both secular and religious reasons for singing, dancing and playing instruments. It was found that the Bible described the use of the harp and the ram’s horn associated with singing and dancing during celebrations, for military use, as well as mourning or lamentation. It was concluded that music using different instruments, including the harp and shofar, helped people to cope with the demands of everyday life and thus played an important role in both secular life and religious rituals in biblical times.

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