cantillation

cantillate

[kan-tl-eyt]
verb (used with object), cantillated, cantillating.
to chant; intone.

Origin:
1860–65; < Late Latin cantillātus sung low, hummed (past participle of cantillāre), equivalent to cant- sing (see cant1) + -ill- diminutive suffix + -ātus -ate1

cantillation, noun
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cantillate (ˈkæntɪˌleɪt)
 
vb
1.  to chant (passages of the Hebrew Scriptures) according to the traditional Jewish melody
2.  to intone or chant
 
[C19: from Late Latin cantillāre to sing softly, from Latin cantāre to sing]

cantillation (ˌkæntɪˈleɪʃən)
 
n
1.  the traditional notation representing the various traditional Jewish melodies to which scriptural passages are chanted
2.  chanting or intonation

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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

cantillation

in music, intoned liturgical recitation of scriptural texts, guided by signs originally devised as textual accents, punctuations, and indications of emphasis. Such signs, termed ecphonetic signs, appear in manuscripts of the 7th-9th century, both Jewish and Christian (Syrian, Byzantine, Armenian, Coptic). Although first intended to clarify the reading of the texts, they were apparently adopted as mnemonic devices to help the singer recall various melodic formulas. Their musical interpretation is thus dependent on a knowledge of the oral tradition through which the melodic formulas are transmitted. Today cantillation refers almost exclusively to the Jewish service

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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