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Vocal music occupies an important place in Scripture, both in religious worship (1 Chron. vi. 32), public rejoicings (1 Sam. xviii. 6), and social festivities (Is. v. 1; liv. 1). It is mentioned among the earliest expressions of joy (Ex. xv. 21), and was accompanied by dancing (2 Sam. vi. 16), and clapping of hands, especially in the "chorus" (Ps. xlvii. 1). For worship David chose a body of singers (1 Chron. xvi. 41); Jehoshaphat appointed a band of singers to praise God in front of his army (2 Chron. xx. 21). After the Captivity we find an equal number of male and female voices (Ezra ii. 65), who sang alternately. They formed a distinguished class, had a separate maintenance (Neh. xi. 23), had cities assigned to them (Neh. vii. 73), and chambers for those in attendance at the Temple (Ezek. xl. 44). From the dedication of some Psalms there would seem to have been a written musical notation, but no certain record of it is extant.

Musical instruments are among the earliest recorded human inventions (Gen. iv. 21). In Scripture their use seems to be confined to religious worship and social festivities, except that the sound of the trumpet served as a battle-call. The earliest kinds were a tabret, a stringed instrument (incipient harp), cymbals, and pipe. From these germs all others are developments. As the Hebrew names were obscure, or unintelligible to the translators of our Bible, one general term, expressing a well-known instrument, often does duty for several species of the same genus; while the same Hebrew generic word is translated sometimes by different English specific ones, and in other cases the translation is erroneous. The following Table will exhibit all the names that occur, either in the English or Hebrew text.

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