You can sing this to anything (part 2 of 3)

(This is an audio-visual post. Follow along with the YouTube video of me posting here:


In my last post, I looked at the idea of mash-ups of songs, as well as medleys. Today, I’d like to consider when a certain set of lyrics can be sung to many different tunes.


Maybe this is an unfamiliar thing in English, but in Hebrew, and in the worship services, there are several recitations that can reasonably be sung to almost any tune, because things fit just that well.

The portions of the service that are fit well to almost any melody include לכה דודי (L’kha Dodi) from the Friday night service, אדון עולם (Adon Olam) from the end of services, and to a lesser extent, יגדל (Yigdal) at the end of a Friday night or holiday evening service. There are others as well, but these ones are the most salient.

Ever since my second year at Northwestern, I have been used to singing לכה דודי with two different tunes. The song has nine stanzas, spread over two pages in most סידורים (prayer books). At NU, the tune frequently shifted after the fifth stanza and refrain. Last week, when I was davening (praying) the Friday evening service in my apartment, I continued that tradition. Why not I reproduce what I sang then? This will very nicely lead in to my next blog post.

(Oh, and before I sing, I must mention the half-and-half. It also reminded me of my family’s tradition to have a חלה (challah bread) during שבת meals that had half of the side with sesame seeds and half the side plain. Why? Presenting my first homemade חלה!)

(Noah sings the tunes on the recording in Hebrew)

The first part of the song was from כי אשמרה שבת (If I Keep The Sabbath), which is a song sung around the Shabbat dinner or lunch table. Children of the late ’90s may recognize the song from the last four verses… it’s the tune of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys.

Both לכה דודי and the Backstreet Boys relate to “Unwriting Off The Written Off.” That will be Part 3 of this sequence–look for it in the next few days.

See you soon!


NU at Madison: 7 days.

Ides of March: 31 days.

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