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The meter of the Jewish zhok

In a recent reply to Lino Messina, Fred Jacobowitz described the meter of
the Jewish zhok or slow hora as 5/16. What the zhok meter actually is has
been a matter of some discussion among modern-day klezmorim. I am sure it
is not 5/16. Here's my take on it:

The zhok is "metronomically" in 7/16 or 7/8 time. But because the beats are
grouped 2+2+3, it is not felt as "seven," but "almost" like three (you might
call it a "limping" three), the last beat being a tiny bit longer. On the other
hand, because the second beat in this rhythmic support is always silent, the
metric figure tends to subdivide very easily into two,  so what you hear is two
stressed beats, of which the FIRST one is slightly longer. This playoff between
a slightly irregular three with the "drag" on the last beat, and a slightly
irregular two with the "drag" on the first beat, is what produces the extremely
subtle and beautiful cross-metric effect of this dance-form.

Itzik-Leyb Volokh (jeffrey Wollock)

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