Shofar – Review

On September 28, 2008

App Type: Uncategorized

Shofar – Review

Our rating:

By: Barry Schwartz

Version #: 1.0

Date Released: 2008-09-15


Price: 0.00

User Rating:

The new Jewish year 5769 starts at sunset tomorrow. With it begins the holiest period in the year for the Jewish community. It is a time of prayer, looking inward, emotional and spiritual repair, and, one of the most ancient instruments… the shofar (ram’s horn).

The shofar has a long history. It is mentioned through the Bible, was used in antiquity to announce the New Moon, called people together for holidays and warned of military threat and the start of a battle. It was also used to announce at the Jewish New Year, and it is this use that continues until this very day.

The sound of the shofar, while memorable, is more than a bit harsh. According to the biblical story, Joshua used its sound to destroy the walls of Jericho and, if you have actually ever heard the shofar, it is not too difficult to envision.

The shofar was the height of its technology in its day. Now, thanks to the iPhone, ancient technology meets current technology.

Shofar is a little app that lets you easily hear the three (four if you count the final long blast) sounds traditionally part of the shofar’s repertoire.

After a splash screen of a a shofar’s image, the app displays the Hebrew and English text of the 3/4 sounds made by the ram’s horn. When touched, the app plays a sound file of each different sound. There is: The Tekiah, a single blast; The Shevarim a series of three blasts, Teruah a combination of nine blasts and the Tekiah-Gedolah, one long, single, final blast.

Even through the iPhone or 2nd Generation iPod Touch’s small speaker the app does a nice job of sharing the sound. Moreover, when one sound is “playing” you can tap a different one and make it “play” as well, creating the illusion of multiple shofrot.

It would be nice if the app provided a brief history of the shofar or “played” one of the series of sound combinations that are part of the ritual of sounding the shofar. It does neither but, for hearing the basic sounds it is more than acceptable.

Quick Take

Value: It is free.
Would I Buy Again: Sure but only the day before Rosh Hashannah
Learning Curve: Low
Who is it for: Anyone who wants to hear this ancient instrument
What I like: Captures the real sound of the shofar well
What I Don’t:  Doesn’t offer a combination of calls that are part of the Shofar Service

Final Statement:  Shofar gives a taste of the holiday and, as a free app, is an interesting offset of ancient and new.

Read the Developer's Notes:
You can listen to the Shofar sounds right on your iPhone or iPod Touch with this application. Just click on the Shofar sound you want to hear, i.e. Tekiah, Shavarim, Teruah or Tekiah Gedolah and listen to a recording of a Tokea (Shofar blaster).O U R   T A K E . . .

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