I’ve been a Bar Mitzvah tutor for many years. A few days ago one of my students asked a very interesting question. I was slightly embarrassed, since I didn’t know the answer. I would appreciate your help. When, in our history, were Ta’amai HaMikra added to the inyan of Kriyat HaTorah? How did we read the Torah before the Ta’amim were added?
The Talmud (Megila 3a, Nedarim 37b) mentions Pisuk Ta'amim, which might be translated as punctuation through musical notes. In the Gemarah itself there is a discussion as to whether these types of punctuation are from the Torah or rabbinic. In any case the Talmud does not have a listing of the Ta'amim as we know them but they are found in the Zohar and Rishonim. Presumably the Ta'amim were known and part of the oral tradition that came from Bavel.