The Jewish Cantillation of the Bible

This page presents the traditional cantillation melodies, as used in the synagogue for the chanting of the scriptural readings from the Pentateuch (Torah, "Five Books of Moses") and the Prophets, a section from which is chanted as a "conclusion" - "Haftarah" - of the Torah reading on Sabbaths and festivals.

These signs, which (like the vowels) are not written down in the "official" scrolls used in the synagogue, indicate both the syntactic structure and the musicial rendering of the Biblical verses, and often the accenting of the words as well.

They are divided into three main types:

Some of the accents perform more than one function, and hence have been placed between columns.

The musical rendering demonstrated here follow the Eastern European customs, found in most North American synagogues. Other communities, such as the German, Spanish or Yemenite Jews, have different versions (though the signs themselves and their syntactic functions) are universal. In addition, there are special renderings in use for other books of the Bible (e.g., Esther and Lamentations), or for special occasions (e.g., festivals).

Though the same cantillation signs are used (for the most part) for different books of the Bible, and they have the same accent and syntactical roles wherever they appear, they are actually chanted in different ways. This page presents samples of the main tunes used for the reading of the Torah and Prophets. Different tunes exist for other books or for certain festivals.

How to Use this Page

Click on the accent that you are interested in, indicating whether you wish to hear the Torah or the Haftarah tune associated with it. The music (MIDI-based) should begin playing automatically.

If you would like to hear a real Cantor performing Trope after you have learned the basics here, visit and position your mouse over the text at the bottom of the page under "Common Note Grouping" to hear the cantillation examples. You can also select any text from the prayer to hear examples of that Trope as it is sung by the Cantor. Also, look to the left of the page to listen to the same prayer sung according to Haftarot Trope.

Notes that connect to the next word
Notes that separate from the next word: pauses
Notes that stand alone



Zaqef Gadol

(preceding "Zaqef Gadol")

Zaqef Qaton


(Preceding another Munah)


Telisha Gedolah

Telishah Qetanah

(Preceding a Revia')



Merkha Kefullah








(Sof Pasuq)


(Sof Parashah)

Qadma ve'Azla





Yerah Ben Yomo

Qarnei Parah

© 2008, Temple Emanu-El of San Jose, except as noted for additional content used with permission and/or as attributed to original author. All Rights Reserved.