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Re: Boehm & Albert systems

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Joshua Horowitz <horowitz (at) styria(dot)com>
An: World music from a Jewish slant <jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org>
Gesendet: Dienstag, 28. März 2000 13:49
Betreff: Re: Boehm & Albert systems

>>³(1)The clarinet - its inventor is attributed to the Nürnberg instrument
maker, Johann Christoph Denner ca. 1690 (2) found its way into the Letsonim
ensemble relatively late. (3)As performers of the instrument which today is
considered the embodiment of klezmer music, (4) five Jews are listed around
1800 from Märkisch-Friedland with side jobs as merchants, whose main
occupations were musicians, (5) among them a clarinetist.²30

Herein we find a lesson for accordionists on how to fake a history for
itself, in order to render it, once and for all, a bonafide klezmer
instrument. In analyzing the above ³fakelore,² this is what we find:

1) First, the authors prepare the reader with the date of the earliest maker
of the instrument (here, 1690. Denner¹s instruments actually had little in
common with the instrument which became common in klezmer ensembles more
than 200 years later). This would be analogous to using the sheng, the
portativ organ, or Michael Praetorius¹ 1619  exposé on free reeds as proof
of the ³early accordion.²

2) Next, the term ³Letsonim² is used - an antiquated term last found to have
been used in Frankfurt, 1716, to designate wedding jesters, some of whom
played instruments. It is being used here to give the passage an archaic
ring. Tellingly, however, there were no Jewish clarinet players during the
period in which the term ³Letsonim² was used.

3) Now, the authors establish the instrument retroactively as ³the
embodiment of klezmer music,²

4) Next, through clever syntactic placment (found also in the original
German) a clause is constructed which makes it sound as though five Jews
played the clarinet (actually there were 2 violins, a hackbrett [dulcimer]
and cello).

5) Finally, in the addended clause, we see that one of them played the
clarinet. No subsequent attempts are made by the authors to present examples
of historical continuity or to explain what happened to the instrument in
the decades to follow. Nor is an explanation offered as to why we are
suddenly using an area north of Dresden, which clearly falls outside of the
Pale of Settlement, which the authors themselves repeatedly propose as the
definitive klezmer region.

What the reader is not provided, is the fact that the instrument does not
become popular in the klezmer ensemble until the 2nd half of the 19th
Century. Nor that the earliest European recordings of klezmer clarinet we
have are from 1911, and in the U.S, from 1915.<<

Thank you, Josh, for this excellent analysis of the text. Let me just add
that this principle of ideological manipulation is used through large parts
of the book. Heiko.

---------------------- jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org ---------------------+

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