Our Gemara on Amud Aleph uses an interesting idiom. Abaye tells Rav Yosef, in response to his asking of what practical significance is his question, “Gemara Gemor, Zamorta Tehey? Shall the Gemara be as a song?” Meaning, even when there is no practical difference, understanding the Gemara in its depth is important, as it is not merely a song.

Pri Tzaddik (VaYikra 6:1) notes that they used to study in sing song in order to promote memorization.  Tiferes Yisroel (Boaz on Erchin 4:1) goes further to use this to explain how Chasure Mechsere works. Chasure Mechsere is a troubling feature of Talmudic process, where inconsistencies in Mishnas are explained by adding in missing words, which at times appears to be not very scholarly or scientific.  Tiferes Yisrael suggests that mishnayos were sung in meter, and the real reason for chasure mechsera, is that they left out words in order to be in accordance with the meter and facilitate memorization.  

One other idea, loosely based on Noam Elimelech (Shemos Terumah), is that if one completes his self development, that is “Gemara Gemor”, then keeping the mitzvos and living life will be as pleasant as a song, “zamorta”.

Some historical notes about sing song. We have evidence of ancient sing songs that are passed down from generation to generation. For example, Stone and Church in their famous work, Childhood and Adolescence, note that the school yard taunt that all children know, “Nyah, Nyah, Nyah...Nyah” is known to hail back from roman times (done to the tune of “ring around the rosey” or “it’s raining it’s pouring”.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyah_nyah_nyah_nyah_nyah_nyah

Also, similarly the Gemara sing song would seem to be very old. (Zelda Kahan Newman, "The Jewish Sound of Speech: Talmudic Chant, Yiddish Intonation and the Origins of Early Ashkenaz", The Jewish Quarterly Review Vol. 90, No. 3/4 (Jan. - Apr., 2000), pp. 293-336 jstor.org/stable/1454758?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents )

 The tune of Mah Nishtana resembles this ancient melody. I remember fondly from my youth even secular Jewish personalities, such as Mayor Edward Koch would speak in Jewishy Talmudic sing song.  “If you have a gun, you will go to JA-A-A-AYAL”  Today, we neither have Koch’s sing song, nor anyone going to jail .  

For Video versions of this click here, and look for title and daf.  

Translations Courtesy of Sefaria, (except when, sometimes, I disagree with the translation cool.)