Negotiation of Musical Remembrance within Jewish Ritual Performances in Prague’s Old-New Synagogue


  • Veronika Seidlová Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Czech Republic



Ethnomusicology, Music, Memory, Jewish, Ritual, Performance, Prague, Negotiation


Prague’s Jewish Town has become an important site of remembering for both Jewish and non-Jewish visitors. This ethnographic case study aims to show that global flows of people influence the sound of the ritual in the legendary, medieval Old-New Synagogue in Prague, where multiple Jewish cohorts negotiate their ways of remembering. Based on the understanding of remembrance as socially constructed in the present and of music as a reflection, as well as co-creator of social reality, the essay reveals certain aspects of the social process of negotiation of music remembrance within ritual performance (as observed, e.g., in the case of a strategic choice of the tune of the Lekhah dodi hymn in Friday evening service). As specific melodic motifs and tunes within the Ashkenazi ritual chant system and its local traditions are understood as symbols, ‘melodic codes’, bearing specific spatial and temporal connotations and other meanings recognizable by insiders, they become both the ‘subject’ and the ‘means of remembering’ - the performative means of establishing certain imagined culturally specific continuities from the past in the present.




How to Cite

Seidlová, Veronika. 2018. “Negotiation of Musical Remembrance Within Jewish Ritual Performances in Prague’s Old-New Synagogue”. Journal of Urban Culture Research 16 (July):44-62.