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National College Credit Recommendation Service

Board of Regents  |  University of the State of New York

Rechtschaffen Institute of Judaic Studies | Evaluated Learning Experience

Sociology of Jewish Music (MUS 310)

Formerly The Music of the Orthodox Jew from Antiquity through the Twentieth Century (MUS 301)

Varies (self-study; self-paced).

Various; distance learning format.

June 2017 - Present.

Instructional delivery format: 
Online/distance learning
Hybrid course/exam
Learner Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to: identify the role music has played in the Judaic social structure; articulate the significance of music in Jewish society dating from ancient times when music was an integral part of the Temple service from as early as 500 B.C.E. all the way to modern times where music is at the forefront of every Jewish service, both in Synagogue and out. Students will be able to compare and contrast the different styles of modern music and their significance; trace back these styles to ancient times to understand their origin; and identify what makes Jewish music unique in its role in Judaic culture and society.


This course is taught in various formats. The recommended online format consists of a module-based format (with a required textbook) including on-going and cumulative competency-based assessments (quizzes and final exam), open-ended essays, student activities and observations/reflections.  Listening to samples of the music discussed in the course is a significant part of the course. The final grade is based on a final exam.  Study materials are provided in the form of both a comprehensive study guide which generally follows the textbook closely, and other study aids such as PowerPoint presentations and other digital media to aid in conveying the material. Major topics include: the music of the Orthodox Jew from antiquity through the end of the twentieth century, including the instruments known from the First and Second Temple and how they were used, the history of synagogue music for prayer and cantillation of the Bible and traces the development of the art of Chazzanus and the folk song, numerous Jewish cultures, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic, how Jewish music developed in different circumstances and how the music of the Orthodox community became what it is today.

Credit recommendation: 

In the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 3 semester hours in Judaic Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Music Education, Religion or Cultural Studies (8/21).