The prayer leader in the synagogue. In Rabbinic times, many people were unfamiliar with the prayers, and so in public worship a man well versed in the liturgy would recite the prayers aloud with the congregation responding to his benedictions with Amen, this being considered as if they themselves had offered the prayers. Even after the wide dissemination of the Prayer Book, the institution of the prayer leader was continued, so that the prayers were then recited by both the congregation and the reader.
A number of modern Cantors have been very gifted musically, some being also expert composers whose liturgical compositions were collected and used by Cantors all over the world. With the invention of the gramophone, there was a proliferation of Cantorial records and, later, tapes, enjoyed by Jews in their own homes.
Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.