Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World

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"Klezmer is a Yiddish word for professional folk instrumentalist-the flutist, fiddler, and bass player that made brides weep and guests dance at weddings throughout Jewish eastern Europe before the culture was destroyed in the Holocaust, silenced under Stalin, and lost out to assimilation in America. Klezmer music is now experiencing a tremendous new spurt of interest worldwide with both Jews and non-Jews recreating this restless volatile, and vibrant musical culture. Firmly centered in the United States, klezmer has paradoxically moved back across the Atlantic as a distinctly ""American"" music, played throughout central and eastern Europe, as well as in many other parts of the world. Fiddler on the Move places klezmer music squarely within American music studies, cultural studies, and ethnomusicology. Neither a chronology nor a comprehensive survey, the book describes a variety of approaches and perspectives for coming to terms with the highly diverse array of activities found under the klezmer umbrella. Bringing to his subject the insights of an accomplished ethnomusicologist, Slobin addresses such questions as: How does klezmer overlap with, and differ from, the many other contemporary ""heritage"" musics based on an assumed connection with a group identity and links to a tradition? How do economics, artistic expression, and the evocation of the past interact in motivating klezmer performers and audiences? In what kinds of environment does klezmer flourish? How do stylistic features such as genre, form, and ornamentation help to define the technique, affect, and aesthetic of klezmer? Featuring a music CD with many of the archival and contemporary recordings discussed in thetext, this fascinating study will interest scholars, students, musicians, and music lovers"
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In an introductory disclaimer, author Slobin, a faculty member at Wesleyan University, explains that his book does not aim to be a chronology or a comprehensive survey of Klezmer. (Readers searching for those would do well to read Seth Rogovoy's recent tome, The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover's Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul Music from the Old World to the Jazz Age to the Downtown Avant-Garde, LJ 6/15/00.) Compared to Rogovoy's book, Slobin's is more academic in tone, somewhat drier, and not quite as current. Nonetheless, Klezmer fans will find a great deal of valuable material. Slobin focuses on several different perspectives, which make up the central four chapters: "Klezmer as a Heritage Music," "Klezmer as an Urge," "Klezmer as Community," and "Klezmer Style as a Statement." The latter section includes some systematic musicological analyses--including sonograms of melodic ornaments--that may perplex the lay reader. In general, though, the book is well researched and rich in anecdotes and makes a compelling case for the importance of Klezmer in American musical and cultural studies.--Larry Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
-- Randy L. Abbott, University of Evansville Library, Indiana
-- Randy L. Abbott, University of Evansville Library, Indiana
— Maurice Taylor, Brunswick County Library, Southport, N.C.
— Maurice Taylor, Brunswick County Library, Southport, N.C.
— Maurice Taylor, Brunswick County Library, Southport, N.C.
— Maurice Taylor, Brunswick County Library, Southport, N.C.
— Maurice Taylor, Brunswick County Library, Southport, N.C.
— Maurice Taylor, Brunswick County Library, Southport, N.C.
— Maurice Taylor, Brunswick County Library, Southport, N.C.
— Maurice Taylor, Brunswick County Library, Southport, N.C.
From the Publisher

"Slobin's metaphorical style and ease in writing soften the complex dialogue he creates between theoretical concerns and a diverse examination of klezmer. He has a knack for flowing in and out of specific lives and events as they relate to larger issues. This gives this book a textured yet comparative feel, a good example for how to go about doing ethnography."--Journal of American Folklore

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195161809
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Series: American Musicspheres Series
  • Edition description: BOOK & CD
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Slobin is Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at Wesleyan University. A former president of the Society of Ethnomusicology, Mark Slobin is also the author of Subcultural Sounds: Micromusics of the West, Chosen Voices: The Story of the American Cantorate, and Tenement Songs: The Popular Music of the Jewish Immigrants.

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Table of Contents


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