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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000274.txt from 2000/04

From: Audrey Travis <>
Subj: Re: [kl] The Jewish scale vs. several Arabic Scales
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 18:11:39 -0400

Being Jewish, and having lived in Israel for 10 years, I'm not at all sure
what you even mean by a "Jewish scale". As far as I know (which may not be
much), there is no such thing. But if you mean Jewish music influenced or
played-sung by Jews who are from Arabic countries, then they'd be using Arabic
scales. There was, indeed, lots of Israeli pop music that was performed by
Sephardic Jews (Jews whose ancestors lived in Arabic countries or Spain) and
their music used a combo of Western and Arabic scales.My understanding and
memory of Arabic music is that the scale is in quarter tones. I must confess
that while in Israel, I didn't hang out with Arabic musicians and don't even
know how their music is notated. I can't comment at all on connections to
Indian ragas but will note that in and around India there is a great deal of
Moslem influence and many prayers or the calling of the faithful to worship is
sung using Arabic scales.

By the way, your first sentence was unclear to me - not really sure what
you're asking. Does any of this help?

Best wishes,


Topper wrote:

> Please no jokes on the title.. :-)
> But seriously,
> Is there a noteable difference between what Western music writes as a
> Jewish Scale as opposed to the Arabic scale which is played the same way in
> Western notation? I have noticed that there are different variations and
> tunings that at least to my ear and without naming the scales use
> pitchbends and fractional intervals to make them sound what seems to feel
> authentic. Not Klesmer but old corridor marketplace from an old
> "on-location" movie soundtrack.
> Also I notice a gradual similarity from the Arabic scales to some of the
> more developed Ragas of Hindu and as you travel further East it like a
> continual intervallic tuning adjustment that gradually flows.
> Cheers, Leo
> Autions' Underway:
> "You Take The High Notes" Our musical
> instruments, parts, tools, classical LP, 1800's and 1900's piano music and
> with violin editions. A family collection for sale and auction. Items for
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> Please email me with interesting links. Thank you:-) Leo
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