Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer is both a history of this popular form of traditional Jewish music and an instructional book for professional and amateur musicians. Since the revival of klezmer music in the United States in the mid-1970s, klezmer and Yiddish song now serve as the soundtrack for the resurgence of interest in European Jewish culture across the globe. Its high energy, emotionally-driven sound and evocative Yiddish lyrics have found audiences everywhere.
Shpil offers an expansive history of klezmer, from its medieval origins to the present era. Individual chapters concentrate on the most common instruments found in a typical klezmer ensemble: violin, clarinet, accordion, bass, percussion, and even voice.
Contributors include a cast of musicians who have recorded, performed, and studied klezmer for years and have performed throughout the world.. They are Norbert Stachel (clarinet), Peter Stan (accordion), Jeff Pekarek (bass), David Licht (drums), Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals) and Yale Strom (violin). They are all members of the klezmer ensemble HOT PSTROMI. Each chapter concludes with a selection of three songs that illustrate and exemplify the history and techniques already described. Shpil includes a “klezmer glossary” of mostly musical terms and a discography of both classic and new klezmer and Yiddish recordings, all designed to guide readers in the appreciation of this remarkable musical genre and the art of playing and singing klezmer tunes.
Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer is ideal for students, amateur enthusiasts, musical scholars, beginning artists, and professional musicians—anyone who wants to experience the joy of listening to and playing this thousand-year-old folk genre.
Yale Strom is one of the world’s leading ethnographers of klezmer culture. He has been doing field research among the Jews and Roma in Central and Eastern Europe on the topic since 1981. He is a graduate of San Diego State University and New York University and currently is artist-in-residence in the Jewish Studies Program at SDSU.
October 2012 • 160 pages
$45.00 • Paperback
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