Klezmer is the traditional folk music that originated amongst the Jewish peoples of Eastern Europe beginning in the Middle Ages. Having all but disappeared, it is currently in a spirited revival as a new generation discovers the soul and beauty of this music.
Like many other traditional folk styles, the inflections and ornaments are key to unlocking its mysteries. In the Old World, klezmer was primarily wedding music and included freylekhs, bulgars and zhoks for dancing as well as improvisatory doinas for the seating of the bride. Today one is as likely to hear the music in a concert hall as at a celebratory event.
The scales used in klezmer bear a resemblance to some of the Persian modes but do not employ specific quarter tones. Mishaberach and Freygish (sometimes called Ahava Raba) are the names of two of the most commonly used klezmer modes.
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