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Re: The meter of the Jewish zhok

Khaver Volokh,
        I respectfully beg to differ. I don't know if we are talking about 
the same dance. I don't see how the Zhok could be in a seven. (As far as I 
know there are no Romanian dances in seven, although those parts of  
Romania near the Bulgarian border may possibly adopt the Bulgarian type of 
quick dances in a 2+2+3 or 3+2+2 rhythms - the former called a 
'ruchenitza' and the latter called a 'chetvorno'). Some examples of a Zhok 
the melodies "Nokh A Glezl Vein", "Firn Di Mekhutonim Aheym" and "Kandel's 
Hora", to name a few. There are easily-available recordings of Naftuli 
Brandwein playing these tunes which are clearly in 5/16 (or 5/8 if one 
prefers). Dave Tarras, on the other hand, preferred to play the Zhok in a 
definite 3/8. I suspect that this is due to his being from a slightly 
earlier era than Tarras and playing in an older style. 

Fred Jacobowitz
Clarinet/Sax Instructor, Peabody Preparatory

On Tue, 15 Oct 1996, Solidarity Foundation wrote:

> 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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