Sheet Music: Hatikvah

Alternate titlesha-Tiḳṿah
The Hope
National Anthem of Israel
ComposerSamuel Cohen (1870–1940)
InstrumentationFlute and Piano
KeyD minor
Time signature2/4
Tempo72 BPM
Performance time1:10
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (75 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (962 kB)
Play-along accompanimentMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (987 kB)
Date added2009-12-17
Last updated2009-12-17
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 2.3 (above average)
Jewish music, National anthems, Patriotic


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Thursday 17 December 2009

Tune of the Day: Hatikvah

National anthem of Israel

The theme of “Hatikvah” (which means “The Hope”) revolves around the nearly 2000-year-old hope of the Jewish people to be a free and sovereign people in the Land of Israel, a national dream that would eventually be realized with the founding of the modern State of Israel in 1948.

The melody for the anthem derives from “La Mantovana”, a 17th-century Italian song originally written by Giuseppino del Biado. It was later known in early 17th-century Italy as “Ballo di Mantova”, and gained wide currency in Renaissance Europe. This melody was also famously used by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana in his set of symphonic poems celebrating Bohemia, Má vlast, as “Vltava” (which is also known by its German name “Die Moldau”).

The adaptation of the music for Hatikvah is believed to have been done in 1888 by Samuel Cohen, a Jewish Palestinian immigrant from Bessarabia (now Moldova). Cohen himself recalled many years later that he had adapted the melody from a Romanian folk song, possibly “Carul cu boi” (“Carriage with Oxen”), which shares a few structural elements with Hatikvah.

The tune is mostly in the minor mode, which is often perceived as mournful in tone and is therefore seldom encountered in national anthems. However, as the title “The Hope” suggests, the import of the song should be optimistic, and the overall spirit uplifting.