Compendium of Fiddle Styles/Klezmer

Klezmer (Yiddish:Klezmer (Yiddish כליזמר or קלעזמער, pl כליזמר ,כליזמרים, from Hebrew כלי זמר vesssel of song") is a genre of fiddle music rooted in the medieval shtetl (villages) of Eastern Europe where wandering Ashkenazi [1] musicians (Klezmorim) played at bar mitzvahs,weddiongs and holidays (simkhes). [2]ritual of rabbinic Judaism. [3]

Lubliner Klezmorim[Warsaw

Proponents of the style


Alicia Svigals Her band is Klezmatics and she is considered by many to be the world's foremost living klezmer fiddler.

Leon Schwartz Leon Schwartz (1901–1989) was a klezmer and classical music violinist

Bob Cohenalso a reviewer

Kenny Kosek Generalist, also plays bluegrass and country

Michael Alpert klezmer singer and multi-instrumentalist

The Kharkov Klezmer Band (Харьков Клезмер Бенд), also known as Kharkiv Klezmer

Alan Bern

Yale Strom

Sophie Solomon

Dave Tarras highly influential klezmer clarinetist, played with Claude "Fiddler" Williams ,who is also known as a jazz and swing fiddler

Roby Lakatos, billed as "The Devil's Fiddler", credits include "Klezmer Karma with the Franz Liszt Chamber"





Some academic musicology [4] suggests that ancient Semitic traditions preceded and influenced, along with Tanahk hymns, [5] Greek Pythagoran music praxis. (It was a blend of dance tunes, liturgy and meditative chant (nigunim). In Archeomusicology of the Ancient Near East, Richard J. Dumbrill of City University of New York traces evolution of Jewish harp, balags, lyre, lute and aerophone instrumental music. [6]. Following the destruction of the second Temple, all rejoicing and use of musical instruments was banned, with the exception of occasional use of the Rams Horn (Shofar).[citation needed]



Traditions blended ikn medieval klezmer include Greek, “Gypsy”, Turkish, Slavic and in the later phase, Jazz. Some modern bands|[7] incorporate " gospel, punk, and Arab, African, and Balkan rhythms"[8]



As per the above description, all klezmer is eclectic and thus the term fusion, as used with reference to combinations of disparate genres, may be redundant, but some klezmer musicians combine the specific eclecticism of klezmer with very specific genres such as rock, dub or reggae. [9]

Amsterdam Klezmer Band ft. Shantel - Sadagora Hot Dub [10]



Dissonance is frequently employed, harmonically, and klezmer uses accidentals quite freely, creating its signature mood tones. [citation needed]


  • Wiltrud Apfeld (Red.): klezmer. Hejmisch und hip. Klartext Verlag, Essen 2003, ISBN 3-89861-379-8 (Ausstellungskatalog mit 1 CD)
  • Alex Jacobowitz: Ein klassischer Klezmer. Reisegeschichten eines jüdischen Musikers. 2. Auflage. Tree of Life, München 2002, ISBN 3-00-003226-6.
  • Rita Ottens, Joel Rubin: Jüdische Musiktraditionen (Musikpraxis in der Schule; 4). Verlag Gustav Bosse, Kassel 2001, ISBN 3-7649-2694-5.
  • Rita Ottens, Joel Rubin: Klezmer-Musik. Bärenreiter, Kassel 2003, ISBN 3-7618-1400-3.
  • Seth Rogovoy: The essential klezmer. A music lover's guide to Jewish roots and soul music. Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, N.J. 2000, ISBN 1-56512-244-5.
  • Joan Sfar: Klezmer Band 1 Die Eroberung des Ostens. Avant-Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-939080-17-6.
  • Mark Slobin (Hrsg.): American Klezmer. Ita roots and offshoots. University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif. 2002, ISBN 0-520-22718-2.
  • Georg Winkler: Klezmer. Merkmale, Str
  • Fiddler on the Move : Exploring the Klezmer World by Mark Slobin
  • [1] Michael Levy traces the roots of Hebrew music in the ancient past, which is the "root of the olive tree".

See also


Ethnography of fiddle/Klezmer fiddle



  1. Hankus Netsky, "American Klezmer: A Brief History" from American Klezmer: Its Roots and Offshoots Ed. Mark Slobin, p.13
  2. ref name=/borzykowski|KLEZMER MUSIC IN A FEW WORDS|
  3. ref name= Haupt|
  4. refname=Dumbrill|The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East |Professor Richard J. Dumbrill|City University of New York||Preface|2005
  5. Old Testament/Tanahk|Book of Psalms|Attributed to King David and others|1000-2500[?]b.c.e.|King James Authorized Version|c.1600|Britain
  6. Dumbrill, p.179-386
  7. source= The Klezmatics| type=Online encyclopedic article|lang=German|source=German Wikipedia|url=
  8. Liner notes|The Klezmatics|Album=Jews With Horns"Nign"|Jada Jen|June 21,2010