Klezmer is exotic, thrilling and evocative music, and the violin is one of the most expressive instruments used in its performance
Since the late 1970ís, klezmer as an artform has risen from decades of obscurity to its present state where artists such as the Klezmatics and Giora Feidman can tour the concert stages of the world, and even classical artists such as Itzhak Perlman have turned their hand to this fascinating branch of music. Klezmer has an entrancing story to tell, with roots and branches woven throughout the history of central and eastern Europe. Where once it was simply the workaday music of professional Jewish musicians, now it is available to all.
This book aims to give the fiddle player a thorough understanding of the genre, a sizeable and representative sample of the repertoire to study and play, and a clear idea of the techniques required to play with an authentic feel.
The book was written with the help of interviews with many contemporary klezmer fiddlers including Alicia Svigals, Cookie Segelstein, Yale Strom and Steve Greenman.
This folk fiddlebook comes with 33 studio band tracks on CD, and 63 solo fiddle tracks on mp3. The studio musicians are Chris Haigh (fiddle), Stewart Curtis (clarinet), Rob Terry (piano), Paul Tkachenko (bass and tuba), Alan Dunn (accordion and piano), Ronen Kozokaro (drums) and Jon Banks (cymbalom)
author: Chris Haigh
Publisher: Schott Music (2015)
Edition: edition with CD
Series: Schott Pop-Styles
"Chris Haigh's New book on klezmer fiddle is the latest in an excellent series that has so far included jazz, folk and rock. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the traditional Ahkenazi fiddle style with a great mix of repertoire, technique and cultural history. Haigh has certainly done his research for this book, bringing together for the first time in print valuable contributions from some of the greatest educators and performers of the klezmer violin, including Alicia Svigals, Cookie Segelstein and Steven Greenman.
As with any oral tradition, the notion of learning klezmer from a printed textbook is somewhat jarring. However, Haigh does a good job of mitigating this with, for instance, well notated examples or how authentic klezmer style deviates from standard notated rhythms and with aural illustrations provided on the accompanying cd. The book is built around an excellent historical narrative that provides excellent context to the music and gives important background on the social function of different klezmer pieces and dance genres. It contains an extensive selection of tunes combining well-known standards with some lesser known pieces from more obscure sources.
Haigh's approach is highly accessible. He begins by explaining dance genres and modes and scales, adding in more advanced elements, such as ornamentation, in later chapters. There's a particulalry useful section that focuses on the secund or rhythmic chordal accompanimentstyle that's a feature of klezmer violin technique, and a helpful glossary of terms. The book concludes with an entire chapter on the doina, a free-form style that can be challenging to master, offering bite-size snippets of example phrases that demonstrate how different patterns can be used to navigate the natural chord progression of an improvisation. A particulalry nice touch is the section focussing on the story of assimilation of klezmer into American musical styles in the early 20thC, with a practical example of two different versions of the song Der Shtiller Bulgar- one in a straight klezmer arrangement and the other in a jazz improv style.
This book is a fantastically rich introduction and reference book for klezmer violin, but would be perhaps best used in combination with some practical tuition or hands-on experience at a klezmer jam session."
-Sophie Solomon; The Strad
"Great way for a budding klezmer student to hone their skills and play violin along with the accompanying CD for well known klezmer pieces. Easy to read signatures and guides for playing ornaments. History of styles interesting and helpful. Has improved my playing and love for the genre significantly. Would recommend wholeheartedly. Delivery from Amazon was quick as promised."- Stephen Stern- Amazon review
Chris Haigh is a freelance fiddle player based in London. His playing covers a huge range of styles, all played with commitment and authority. He has played on over 70 albums. He has two book published by Spartan Press; "Fiddling around the World" and "Any fool can write Fiddle Tunes", and "The Fiddle Handbook" is published by Backbeat/Hal Leonard."Discovering Rock Violin", "Exploring Folk Fiddle", "Exploring Folk Fiddle" and Hungarian Fiddle Tunes" are all published by Schott .