TUTORIAL: How to blow the Shofar?

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The most important Mitsva of Rosh HaShana is listening to the Shofar. The Shofar is an animal horn which was modified by (1) removing the inside material from inside the horn, and (2) opening a mouthpiece at the narrow end of the horn.
See here the whole process of manufacturing the Shofar.

 

When we want to blow the Shofar, we should not place it into our mouth, between the lips, the way we inflate a balloon. The Shofar must be placed against the closed lips, usually on one side of the mouth (most people use their right side) or in the center of the mouth.  Then you should blow air with your lips tightly closed. Buzzing the sound of the letter ‘P’ while vibrating your lips, as you release the air.

 

 

how to blow shofar /2

 

You should not inflate your cheeks or force your lungs. You should be breathing as normally as possible. The most challenging technique is to adjust the Shofar’s mouthpiece against the lips, preventing air from escaping from any other point of the mouth.

 

Again, the steps to keep in mind to blow the Shofar are:

 

1. Closing the lips.

2. The lips should vibrate with the letter “P”.

3. Place the mouthpiece of the Shofar on the lips.

4. Locate and re-locate the mouthpiece until the Shofar until it produces the desired sound.
THE VOICES of THE SHOFAR (qolot)

 

The Shofar normally produces one single “musical note”. During Rosh haShana we blow this note with three different “voices”. The first voice is called “teqi’a”. The “teqi’a” is a single uninterrupted sound. Then we have “shebarim”, here we divide the sound into three shorter voices, interrupting the airflow with the tongue. And finally we have the “teru’a” consisting of nine very short voices.

 

The typical combination of sounds on Rosh haShana is the following:

 

teqi’a / shebarim-teru’a / teqi’a (4 voices).

teqi’a / shebarim / teqi’a (3 voices)

teqi’a / teru’a / teqi’a (3 voices)

 

This formula has ten voices. And it is repeated ten times during Rosh haShana. Three times before Musaf, three times during Musaf, three times during the repetition of Musaf  and one time after Musaf.

 

In total, during each day of Rosh haShana we hear 100 voices of the Shofar (מאה קולות).