high holidays

Shofar Sounds

Shofars come in many shapes and sizes, and can make a variety of sounds.

The shofar is a ram’s horn that is blown on the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Blowing the shofar follows a specific pattern. It is composed of three sets of blasts, each consisting of three repetitions of three notes.

Each set is different from the other. The various notes of the shofar that are blown are:

teki’ah–one long blast

shevarim–three broken sounds

teru’ah‑-nine staccato notes.

The shofar blasts follow a prescribed pattern:

teki’ah‑shevarim teru’ah‑tekiah;



The final tekiah is prolonged (it is called teki’ah gedolah, a “great blast”). Some people have been known to watch the clock during the teki’ah gedolah and time how long it lasts. Trumpet players seem especially good at this one!

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