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Re: The meter of the Jewish zhok

On Wed, 16 Oct 1996 17:34:03 -0700 (PDT) Jeffrey Wollock
<svzandt (at) igc(dot)apc(dot)org> wrote:

>       Finally, let me emphasize that these are analytical observations only.
>I don't believe it's possible to play any of these figures, or at least play
>them with the right "feel," by literally counting out the units. Just as with
>jazz, it is possible only to feel the various groupings in the right
>proportions and syncopations.

Khaverim Jacobowitz & Wollock,

I agree with the above statement - it seems to me that musical analysis is
useful only insofar as it gives one a handle on an unwieldy situation. To
overanalyse, however intellectually appealing this may be, may not serve the
purpose for which it was intended, in this case ostensibly to make the Zhok
more playable.

I totally agree. But if my purpose had been to make the zhok more playable, I
would have first and foremost listed a few recordings to listen to --
"National Hora" and "Oriental Hora," as recorded by Abe Schwartz (violin)
accompanied by his daughter Sylvia on piano, "Nokh a Gleyzl Vayn", which Bill
Phillips mentioned (I think he means the recording by Dave Tarras), and others.
And I don't think I could have done much more by e-mail.  In fact, all I was
trying to do was correct a statement, which I believe to be erroneous, that
the zhok is in 5/16 meter. I did this out of concern that anyone who gives
credit to that statement might find the zhok a good deal less playable!

Though your analysis is, imho, well thought out, and a valid description of
your musical experience, the question for musicians remains: how does this
help me make music?

Thank you. Speaking for myself, I intended my analysis as not only a valid
description of my musical EXPERIENCE, but also a valid description of a
musical form that exists independently of my experience. Just as, if someone
had stated that a waltz is in 4/4, I would have attempted to demonstrate
(to the extent possible on e-mail) that it is in 3/4. The attempt to prevent
other musicians from trying to play a waltz in 4/4, or to spare them the
perplexity of trying to figure out how "The Blue Danube" could be considered
4/4, would be the only way this might help anyone make music.

This is not a criticism as much as a reminder, if you will, from one
musician to another, that music is a living breathing sound first, an
intellectual construct a respectable second.

I couldn't agree more. 

Itzik-Leyb Volokh (jeffrey Wollock)

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