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The Doina in Klezmer Music Article 5

May 2010 One Comment

by Cookie Segelstein

One of the forms in klezmer music that uses the character of MISHEBEYRAKH (the mode covered in the previous article) is the doina . Here is an explanation of Doina from the introduction by Joshua Horowitz of Kale Bazetsns and Doinas, by Cookie Segelstein and Joshua Horowitz*:

Doina is the Romanian term used to denote families of both vocal and instrumental pieces with a recitative character. There exist countless thousands of doinas throughout all the states of Romania, some of which show specific regional characteristics, while others are shared irrespective of boundaries. Doinas are declamatory in nature, so their motivic and rhythmic patterns are more closely related to poetic meter and forms than to dance forms, although there are many doinas that have definite binary and tertiary musical forms as well as discernible meters.

To Jews, the doina came to represent the simplicity of peasant life as represented by the shepherd and his tune, and the instrumental style of one particular type of doina fit easily into the general lamenting quality of klezmer music, particularly as an evocation of prayer. Yet its Romanian character was never forsaken and the acceptance of the genre as “Romanian” is obvious in light of the fact that sheet music and record cover iconography depict rural shepherds and reliably call the music “Romanian.”

What follows is a transcription and a recording of a doina played by Josef Solinski This is one of the handful of examples we have on record of Jewish/klezmer violin playing from the early 19th Century.

Reprinted with permission from, Kale Bazetzns and Doinas, by Cookie Segelstein and Joshua Horowitz, ©2004 (available at www.veretskipass.com)

Orig: Joseph Solinsky, Orientalische Motive I, Favorite I-24056 mx. 5101-o. Also credited to Oskar Zehngut as Orientalische Motive I Victor 63828-A mx. 536ab, 1908?

Solinski Doina.pdf | Solinski Doina.mp3

About the Author

Cookie Segelstein, acknowledged as one of the very top tier of klezmer violinists, received her Masters degree in viola from The Yale School of Music. She has taught klezmer fiddling at KlezKamp and The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes.   Her band, Veretski Pass, has two CD’s on Golden Horn, the newest titled Trafik  (www.goldenhorn.com)

For more information visit     www.veretskipass.com

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One Comment »

  • Ben said: