Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
NeoHasid is looking for nigunim from diverse Chasidic streams and traditions, presented in a simple format, which people can use to teach themselves and others. E-mail your music file to Reb Duvid.
NeoHasid.org focuses on presenting renditions that are plain nigun, in a simple voice. Many people will be singing these songs on Shabbat without instruments, and they will motsly be learning them without musical training, so any added arrangements end up making that more difficult. For some musicians, a way to keep it simple while expressing your talents might be to record using a single instrument, like fiddle or clarinet, to record a nigun.
Many nigunim are used in more than one setting in davening, i.e., a nigun may fit more than one prayer or set of words. A nigun may have been written for one prayer but may then have "migrated" to another setting - for example, Reb Shlomo's "Yah Ribon" is often used for "Shokhen Ad" in Pesukei D'zimra on Shabbat, as well as for "L'kha Dodi". We are interested in recording nigunim without words, and also recording various settings of nigunim to specific prayers. You may also have used a nigun in a new or special context that you would like to share with people.
Neohasid.org may sometimes present produced versions of songs, with instrumentation and chords. Written musical notation can be helpful to a few people if you want to include or contribute that. So far we have only shared more traditional music, and the general rule of thumb I've been using is that until a nigun gets sung by people devotionally (especially when people forget who wrote it), it's not ready to be here. That means Neohasid.org does not take songs contributed by their composers. You could think of this as the inverse of "traditional" Jewish Renewal, where every person is selling their own CD. However, as the gravity of the site grows with more and more songs, we may start loosening up a bit. What I am especially excited about sharing are songs that stretch people out of the American folk idiom which is the language of so much newly-composed music.
Concerning rights, most older nigunim can be recorded without issue. If you are a musician who has already recorded a nigun, and would like to include your copyrighted version (or a clip of your version) on the site, we are happy to do that. If you have a CD that includes a particular song, Neohasid.org will link to whatever information or site that allows visitors to buy your CD.
Most computers have mic inputs, and a simple mic can often create a good enough music file for use on NeoHasid. Cheap computer mics that are used strictly for transmitting coversation are usually not good enough, but even cheap mics designed for singing should work OK. If you don't already have a recording program on your computer, you can use Audacity, which is freeware, though it is somewhat technical.* Windows comes with Sound Recorder, which will work for recording short songs. We can fix any files you send us in any file format to fit our format. Don't hesitate to ask for help if you have something to share!
If you do record a nigun for NeoHasid.org, please also write a few sentences about it. This could include:
~ how you learned the nigun, who taught it to you, etc.
Thanks for your interest!
* Note that in order to translate a sound file into an mp3 you need to also download a small file called a "lame encoder", which you can find through links on the Audacity site.
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006