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KlezmerMusic, History, and Memory$
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Walter Zev Feldman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190244514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190244514.001.0001

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The Klezmer Ensemble

The Klezmer Ensemble

(p.99) 3 The Klezmer Ensemble

Walter Zev Feldman

Oxford University Press

The remarkable continuity of the seventeenth-century klezmer ensemble featuring first violin, cimbalom, second violin, and bass into the later nineteenth century, and even into the pre-Holocaust era in some parts of Eastern Europe. However, following the 1870s, this venerable ensemble was replaced by a variety of string and brass instruments, culminating in the large Jewish orchestras documented by the Russian musicologist Ivan Lipaev at the beginning of the twentieth century. America produced a few documents of the earlier klezmer string ensemble, but many more recordings of Jewish “orchestras.” By the mid-twentieth century in America these orchestras were replaced by smaller groups, always led by a clarinet, sometimes in conjunction with a trumpet, trombone or (later) saxophone and other instruments. From this time until the klezmer revitalization in the last quarter of the century, the older traditional instruments of the music—violin and cimbalom—disappeared almost entirely.

Keywords:   violin, cimbalom, string ensemble, orchestra, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, commercial recording, field recording

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