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Shofar

The Jewish shofar is a traditional and religious instrument played at auspicious and religious Jewish ceremonies. The shofar sound is distinct and can be noticed miles away.

How it is made

Various kosher animals’ horns are used to make the Jewish shofar. These include animals such as ram, gazelle, antelope etc. The essential criteria to make Yemenite shofar is that the horn used is not comprised of solid bone. Instead, it should be made of cartilage. First, the horn is boiled in water for several hours. Then it is cleaned by eliminating all cartilage traces from the inside of the horn. Next, the rams horn needs to be cut and drilled to ensure the proper shape and texture. Finally, the Jewish shofar is carved with a special knife. The mouth piece end is shaped so that it is conducive to playing.

Types of sounds

The Yemenite shofar or Jewish shofar is so ancient that it was used even during Biblical times. There are four kinds of shofar sound namely Tekiah, Teruah, Shevarim and Tekiah Gedolah. The Tekiah is like a blasting sound and is played at one stretch. The Teruah is sort of an alarm shofar sound and is made with very short notes played nine times or more. The Shevarim shofar sound is broken in nature and is made of three calls. It almost resembles the sound of a sigh. The Tekiah Gedolah shofar sound is the most distinct one and needs lots of experience. It is like a blasting noise and lasts a very long time. The proper sequence of shofar sound would be Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah and Tekiah Gedolah.

How to choose the best Shofar

There are many shops online, which offer shofar sale regularly. However, as a customer you need to know which one is perfect for you. Never purchase at a shofar sale where they claim the Jewish shofar has no smell or can be tuned. The Yemenite shofar cannot be tuned and note alternations happen only through the mouthpiece alteration. In addition, since the Jewish shofar is made from rams horn or some such kosher animal, it will contain some smell. It often takes years for the smell to go completely. Always make sure to test the Jewish shofar for the sound and ideally pick the larger ones. The larger is the Yemenite shofar the better is the sound and the easier it is to play it. Always take your own time to choose the Jewish shofar as it will last you a long time. Also, only purchase the Jewish shofar from a reputed online company.

How to play the shofar properly

The best way to master playing the Jewish shofar is through practice. You need to keep at it till you are able to make the long stretch of sound, also called the Tekiah Gedolah. Make sure to place the Yemenite shofar properly at the point where your lips vibrate. The air should come right from your mouth and not from sideways. By practicing regularly this way, you can master playing the Jewish shofar!

 

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