Fiddler on the Move

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 the text, this fascinating study will interest scholars, students, musicians, and music loversshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 166 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 12.7mm | 204.12g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 2 halftones & numerous music examples
  • 0195161807
  • 9780195161809
  • 1,461,383

About Mark Slobin

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 more

Review quote

"Fiddler on the Move is written in a style that is very accessible....Slobin is at once more understanding and more critical of the music's past and its future. He cares about why people are called to klezmer, and how it functions in an age of world music....[The book] provides a rich sense of klezmer's historical and cultural roots, of the meaning of the music in both the old and new worlds....[He] gives the reader a sense of the music as it is played, with a detailed look at how several players interpret a common tune....Slobin does a great job of describing...the impact of so much loss of material on our understanding of klezmer today. This book will appeal to readers looking for insight into why klezmer pulls in so many listeners, [and] why it is we-and so many others-have developed a love for this music at this time."-Kim Bates, The Green Man Review "Mark Slobin is probably the person best -placed to write about the klezmer revival. He has not only written extensively about Eastern European folk musics..., but may have been the first Jewish ethnomusicologist to see that the klezmer revival was relevant to Jewish music and Jewish community.....Here, Slobin puts the revival into a cultural and musical context that will be sheer delight to people engaged in playing the music, or wanting to understand that context better....Slobin's insights and breadth of understanding contribute to an enormously wonderful volume. ...this is the first book about klezmer music and about the klezmer revival that offers perspective and grounded historical fact....Once again, Mark Slobin writes the (so-far) definitive work. This is a book that was needed. Now I look forward to the next volume."-Ari Davidow, "Well researched and rich in anecdotes...makes a compelling case for the importance of Klezmer in American musical and cultural studies." -Library Journal "A beautifully written book on a timely topic....important for anyone interested in contemporary Jewish and American studies and current trends in ethnomusicology." -Notes "Written by one of the most distinguished ethnomusicologists working today and accompanied by an illustrative CD, Fiddler on the Move is a thoughtful, essay-like contemplation of klezmer music in contemporary US society and of its culture-historical background....Addressing music scholars and informed music lovers, Slobin synthesizes theoretical perspectives from which klezmer music may be studied and thus contributes to ethnomusicological method and theory as well as to American and Jewish studies."-Choiceshow more

Table of contents

Contents ; Foreward ; Under the Klezmer Umbrella ; 1. Klezmer as Heritage Music ; 2. Klezmer as an Urge ; 3. Klezmer as Community ; 4. Klezmer Style as Statement ; The Fiddler's Farewell ; Works cited ; Contents of the accompanying CD ; Indexshow more

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