Woodwind.OrgThe Ethnic ClarinetThe C4 standard

  BBoard Equipment Study Resources Music General    
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 what is klezmer exactly?
Author: otherthanchip 
Date:   2003-04-09 02:49

Can someone give me a very basic explanation of the definition and structure of klezmer music? I know nothing. Is there a special kind of scale used? Or a common theme in all klezmer music?

Reply To Message
 Re: what is klezmer exactly?
Author: Ralph Katz 
Date:   2003-04-09 16:28

The word "klezmer" is an abbrevation of the Hebrew expression "kaley zemer", literally "instruments of song" or idiomatically "musical instruments". It at various times refers to instruments, musicians, and a type of music. Klezmer is typically Jewish non-liturgical music from eastern Europe, but there is plenty of Klezmer material with liturgical roots. Traditional Cantorial modes figure importantly in Klezmer music.

In this country, through the middle of this century, the children of immigrants typically wanted to fit in and appear American, and thus gravitated to American popular music, pretty much abandoning this type of music.

The term "klezmer" was historically not a kind one when applied to musicians. It conjured up pennyless people walking from town to town, lugging their instruments, sleeping in barns, and looking for work. The term was reincarnated in America with a Jewish traditional music revival that got a head of steam in the late 1970's, with people like Andy Statman, who studied from and renewed interest in older, immigrant players like Dave Tarras.

The "freygish" or "hejaz" scale is used frequently, as it is in much near eastern (greek, bulgarian, etc.) music. "Yoshke, Yoskhe" a.k.a. "Tantz, Tantz, Yiddelekh", a.k.a. etc. is representative of this mode. See Henry Sapoznik's "Compleat Klezmer" from Tara Publications for a more extended introduction to the music and its various modalities. (I am not connected with them.)

There are a lot of sources of Klezmer music. A lot of it is genuine folk music, but there are also a lot of composed pieces which are mistakenly identified as folk pieces (such as the composed tune "Dona, Dona, Dona", or in another genre the Russian composed tune used in "Those Were The Days"). Many, many Klezmer tunes could be found in every Jewish community throughout Eastern Europe, but then again many tunes were found only locally. Some tunes were unique pieces, others were taken from other cultures and adapted. By and large though, lyrics in Klezmer songs are all in Yiddish, a derivative of Middle German and Hebrew, whose roots began about the year 900 CE. Up until and after World War II this was the lingua franca of Jews in the world.

Most Klezmer groups today have a lot of Israeli repertoire, which may or may not be considered Klezmer by purists and other grouchy people. For example, historically a Hora will be in 3/8 (this is also called Rumanian Hora or Zhok,) but Israeli horas are in duple meter. Modern Israeli lyrics are Hebrew, which was traditionally used for religious purposes only until the 1920's when it began to be revived in Israel as a secular language.

The big thing about this music is that it historically took and still takes material from a lot of different sources.


Reply To Message
 Re: what is klezmer exactly?
Author: Alan Glick 
Date:   2003-05-26 18:29

The Freygish scale is the 5th mode of the harmonic minor scale. Because of it's construction it is called "altered phrygian"

D Eb F# G A Bb C D

Ourside of klezmer music, the most famous example of this scale is in Saint-Saen's Baccanale:

A Bb A G F# F# A G F# Eb D D

The Misheberach scale is the 4th mode of the harmonic minor scale. It is also called "altered lydian"

D E F G# A B C D

These are the most common scales in Klezmer music.

Reply To Message
 Re: what is klezmer exactly?
Author: wyatt 
Date:   2003-08-04 17:55

Giora Feidman said "I aman an instrument of song. When I pick up the clainet. I contnie to be a singer,and sing through my instrument."
So Klezmer is a state of mind, a way of life. If you sing through your clarinet--you are playing Klezmer.

bob gardner}ÜJ

Reply To Message
 Re: what is klezmer exactly?
Author: ChrisC 
Date:   2003-08-04 21:20

FWIW, Feidman's philosophy is not taken very seriously at all by many people.

Reply To Message
 Re: what is klezmer exactly?
Author: wyatt 
Date:   2003-08-04 22:22

i told him that I believed that Klezmers had a Jewish root to it, and told me i was wrong.
What can i say--he's the King.
The bottom line is that he is a great performer and i enjoyed meeting him.m

bob gardner}ÜJ

Reply To Message
 Re: what is klezmer exactly?
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2003-08-04 23:39

ChrisC wrote:

> FWIW, Feidman's philosophy is not taken very seriously at all
> by many people.

I'm not sure it was the philosophy so much as it was the lack of demonstration of technique during his master class. It's all fine and well to describe your philosophy, but for those wishing to work on Klezmer there are many techniques that have been handed down that could have been shared. He is, however, a very fine performer.

http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/students/scott/musproj/klez.html says more about the scales used than Giora did.

Reply To Message
 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 

 Avail. Forums  |  Need a Login? Register Here 
 User Login
 User Name:
 Remember my login:
 Forgot Your Password?
Enter your email address or user name below and a new password will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.
Search Woodwind.Org

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

The Clarinet Pages
For Sale
Put your ads for items you'd like to sell here. Free! Please, no more than two at a time - ads removed after two weeks.

     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact charette@woodwind.org