Klezmer: Music, History, and Memory

Klezmer: Music, History, and Memory

by Walter Zev Feldman


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Klezmer: Music, History, and Memory is the first comprehensive study of the musical structure and social history of klezmer music, the music of the Jewish musicians' guild of Eastern Europe. Emerging in 16th century Prague, the klezmer became a central cultural feature of the largest transnational Jewish community of modern times - the Ashkenazim of Eastern Europe. Much of the musical and choreographic history of the Ashkenazim is embedded in the klezmer repertoire, which functioned as a kind of non-verbal communal memory. The complex of speech, dance, and musical gesture is deeply rooted in Jewish expressive culture, and reached its highest development in Eastern Europe. Klezmer: Music, History, and Memory reveals the artistic transformations of the liturgy of the Ashkenazic synagogue in klezmer wedding melodies, and presents the most extended study available in any language of the relationship of Jewish dance to the rich and varied klezmer music of Eastern Europe.

Author Walter Zev Feldman expertly examines the major written sources—principally in Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Romanian—from the 16th to the 20th centuries. He draws upon the foundational notated collections of the late Tsarist and early Soviet periods, as well as rare cantorial and klezmer manuscripts from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries. He has conducted interviews with authoritative European-born klezmorim over a period of more than thirty years, in America, Europe, and Israel. Thus, his analysis reveals both the musical and cultural systems underlying the klezmer music of Eastern Europe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190244514
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Pages: 440
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Walter Zev Feldman is Visiting Professor of Music at New York University Abu Dhabi, Director of the An-sky Institute for Traditional Jewish Expressive Culture at the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (NYC), and Board Member of Corpus Musicae Ottomanicae (University of M nster).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

About the Companion Website


Part 1: The Klezmer Profession: Social and Artistic Function

Chapter 1: The Music of the Klezmer Within East Ashkenazic Music
Chapter 2: What's in a Name? The Word Klezmer and Jewish Professional Musicians.
Chapter 3: The Klezmer Ensemble
Chapter 4: The Role of Russia in the Study of Klezmer Music
Chapter 5: The Jewish Wedding and its Musical Repertoire
Chapter 6: East European Jewish Dance

Part 2: Genre and Style in Klezmer Music

Chapter 7: The Genres and Repertoires of Klezmer Music
Chapter 8: Moralishe Niggunim, the Musical Genres of the Wedding
Chapter 9: Rhythmic Melody Among the Ashkenazim: Nign and Zmires
Chapter 10: Older European Components in the Core Dance Repertoire
Chapter 11: The Sher: History and Choreography
Chapter 12: North and South in Klezmer Music: Northern Redl and Southern Freylekhs
Chapter 13: Skotshne and Freylekhs
Chapter 14: The Khosidl at the Interface of Mystical and Secular Expression
Chapter 15: Bulgar: a Transnational Klezmer Dance Genre:
Chapter 16: Postlude: a Klezmer Legacy

Appendix I: Overview of Modal Usage in Klezmer Music

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