The book of Klezmer, The History, The Music the Folklore. Henry Sapoznik, 1987, The Complete Klezmer, Cedarhurst, New York Jontef, 1995. A touch of Klezmer: Klezmer music and Yiddish songs. Yiddish klezmer Music, 1991, Arc Music Productions.
Klezmer is a musical tradition which parallels Hasidic and Ashkenazic Judaism. There is also a separate Sephardic tradition whose origins of the music go back to the 15th century particularly when all Jews were expelled from Spain. Musicians who played secular music for celebrations were called Klezmorim.
Originally Klezmer referred to the instruments - but then began to be associated with the music. Lots of early 20th century recordings established what it was meant to sound like. The music is particularly associated with marriages and the musical traditions of the Jewish weddings. The European traditions of Yiddish speaking communities of Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine are particularly important in the tradition. Jewish Wedding - utube
Sephardic Jews - Sephardic music was born in medieval Spain, with the Courts of the medieval kings. It has influences of Spain, Morocco, Argentina, Turkey, Greece where-ever Sepharic Jews went. Also the Balkans, Ottoman Empire, Greece and Egypt. There are 3 types of songs topical, romance and spiritual or ceremonial songs.
Klezmer today is really a revivalist music based on American amalgamation of Jewish traditions since the 1970s and 80s. Using old recordings in particular and musicians from old Europe who had escaped the holocaust new developments occurred. Klezmer bands have sprung up using traditional instruments and pieces but developing and progressing techniques.
Klezmer also developed in Southeastern Europe, predominately in Moldova, Bessarabia, Romanian part of Bucovina and in Southern Ukraine. It has absorbed forms and rhythms and forms from the Roma, Greek, Turkish and Romanian traditions.
The Jews of Ashkenaz, are the descended from the medieval Jewish communities of the Rhineland valley (in the west of Germany) and northern France. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for the region which in modern times encompasses the country of Germany and German-speaking borderland areas.
Ashkenazim or Ashkenazi Jews are literally "German Jews. Many Ashkenazi Jews later migrated, largely eastward, forming communities in non German-speaking areas, including Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Bielorussia, Russia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere between the 10th and 19th centuries.
Violin Cymbalom Clarinet Accordion Trombone Trumpet Piano Viola String Bass
Klezmer is easily identifiable by its characteristic expressive melodies, reminiscent of the human voice, complete with laughing and weeping. The style is meant to imitate khazone and para- liturgical singing. Techniques of sobs krekhts, which a like an ornament or turn. Hora example
Freylekhs (also Bulgar, bulgarish literally "Bulgaria is a 3 + 3 + 2 = 8 circle dance in the is Ahava Rabboh melodic mode. Typically piano, accordion, or bass plays a duple oom-pah beat. These are by far the most popular klezmer dances.
Sher is a set dance in 2/4. It is one of the most common klezmer dances. Its name comes from the straight-legged, quick movements of the legs, reminiscent of the shears (Yiddish: sher) of tailors.
Hora or zhok is a Romanian-style dance in a hobbling 3/8 time with beats on 1 and 3, and is even more embellished. The Israeli hora derives its roots from the Romanian hora.
Terkish is a 4/4 dance like the habanera. As its name indicates, it recalls Turkish styles. Skotshne ("hopping") could be an instrumental display piece, but also a dance piece, like a more elaborate freylekhs.
Waltzes were very popular, whether classical, Russian, or Polish. A padespan was a sort of Russian/Spanish waltz known to klezmers. Mazurka and polka, Polish and Czech dances, respectively, were often played for both Jews and Gentiles. Csrds is a Hungarian dance popular among the Jews of Hungary, Slovakia, and the Carpathians. It started off slowly and gradually increased in tempo. Sirba a Romanian dance in 2/3 or 2/4. It features hopping steps and short bursts of running, accompanied by triplets in the melody.
The Doina is an improvisational lament usually performed solo, and is extremely important in weddings. Its basis is the Romanian shepherd's lament, so it has an expressive vocal quality, like the singing of the khazn. Although it has no form, it is not just random sounds in a Jewish modethe musician works with very particular references to Jewish prayer and East European laments. Often these references might occur in the form of harmonic movements or modal maneuvers which quote or otherwise invoke traditional Jewish cantorial practices.
Typically it is performed on violin (Yiddish "fidl"), cymbalom (Yiddish "tsimbl") or clarinet, though has been done on everything fro banjoes to xylophones. Often it is the first of a 3-part set, followed by a hora, then either freylekhs or khusidl. Taksim is a freeform prelude that introduces the motifs of the following piece, which is usually a freylekhs; it was largely supplanted by the doina.
Klezmer is generally instrumental, although at weddings klezmorim traditionally accompany the wedding entertainer. A typical 19th century European orchestra would have included a first violin, a contra-violin, a tsimbl, a bass or cello, and flute. Lead violin usually has the tune. Rest give harmony and rhythm and counterpoint. Brass were also included particularly those of 19th century military bands.
Ahavo Rabboh Ahavo Rabboh means "Abounding Love" in Hebrew, and refers to a prayer from the daily morning prayer service (shacharis). It is built on the fifth degree of the harmonic minor scale, with a descending tetrachord to the tonic being the most characteristic final cadence. Mi Shebeirach means "He who blessed" in Hebrew, from the Mi Shebeirach prayer, recited after the honor of being called to the Torah reading. It is also called the Ukrainian, Altered Ukrainian, Doina, or Altered Dorian. It has a raised fourth, and is used often for the doina or dance pieces, like the Odessa Bulgar.
It now a world-wide phenomena but particularly in Eastern Europe, USA, Israel and Germany. Takes influences from anywhere.