Singing and Chanting!

By: Benjamin Maron

You’ve decided to start a minyan or havurah, treat and you want the davening (prayer) to be musical, sales you want to highlight some great signing for extra ruach (spirit). But maybe you don’t know which tunes to pick. No problem. There are many resources available to help you learn to sing (and lead) different tunes:

  • Kol Zimrah has recorded tunes used on Friday nights “with the intention of enabling individuals and communities to lead and participate in their own exuberant and melodious Friday Night Services.” You will find Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming the Sabbath) and Ma’ariv (Evening) services there, usually with more than one version of each prayer/psalm, plus some songs for singing around the dinner table. Guitar chords are included for some of the songs.
  • Tikkun Leil Shabbat has assembled two Word documents of guitar chords: Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming the Sabbath) [doc] and Ma’ariv (Evening) [doc]. (Both are collected from Kol Zimrah, NFTY Chordster, and Rob Levy.)
  • A large collection of audio recordings of niggunim (songs without words), prayers, and other songs can be found on sixthirteen.
  • Siddur Audio is a site for learning how to daven (pray).
  • Virtual Cantor aims to teach nusach (style, melody) for davening.
  • NeoHasid offers niggunim and songs for holidays and Shabbat, categorized by Hasidic lineage.
  • Ellie’s Torah Trope Tutor is a resource for learning to chant (leyn) Torah, Haftorah, and Megillot (scrolls).

Benjamin Maron attended his first NHC Summer Institute as an Everett Fellow in 2006. He is on the NHC Board of Directors. He is chairing the 2010 Chesapeake Retreat.


1 LREVS { 05.17.11 at 8:41 pm } goes to a German site — don’t know what it says, but no niggunim there. Thanks for developing these resources.

2 Erica { 11.09.11 at 10:49 pm }

The sixthirteen site is It has promotional videos for the a cappella group by that name with niggunim.

3 Tufan Chakraborty { 06.06.20 at 12:13 am }

Your article is very informative. It’s a welcome change from other supposed informational content. Your points are unique and original in my opinion. I agree with many of your points.

Leave a Comment