Learn to Lain – With Trope Trainer

“Laining” is the process of chanting or singing the weekly Torah reading in the synagogue. Every Bar and Bat Mitzvah student goes through the process in preparation of their first public Torah reading.

In Jewish liturgy, tropes are musical cantillations applied to the words of a sacred text during public readings. It also refers to the markings in some copies of those text to indicate the vocalization.

It is not known whether trope developed from a single form used in the ancient Temple. Following the destruction of the Temple and the dispersion of the Jews, diverse trope systems have developed regionally. So for example, Ashkeanzi and Sephardic will “cant” the Torah differently than Moroccan and Syrian Jews.

Within Judaism, the standard accepted text of Tanakh is the Hebrew Masoretic Text. Words in the Masoretic Text contain three sections: the letters (consonants), vowel points, and trope. These cantillation marks are called te’amim in Hebrew, and the markings are standard, even though the pitch contours they represent to the reader may differ.

In the example below, the letters are black, the nikud (vowels) are red, and the four trope symbols are blue.

Graphic with Hebrew letters in black, vowels in red, and trope symbols in blue

Example of me doing a homework exercise for my cantillation class at Hebrew College:

Numbers 28:9-15

Above: Hear Neal Walters sing or “chant” the Torah reading from Numbers 28:9-15. I think I was using the Jabobson style trope (see his book on Amazon – Chanting the Hebrew Bible