Evolution of Jewish Music, Y-Studs, Arranged by Ben Bram, 2017.
Jewish music is one of the most diverse genres in the world. This is due to the fact that the people haven’t had a country to themselves for a long time. Jewish music can be divided into three sects; Ashkenazi (Western), Sephardi (Mediterranean), and Mizrahi (Eastern) (Denburg). Since Jewish music has been many places, it doesn’t necessarily have to be composed by a person of Jewish descent (Silver).
Mazal Tov Wedding Songs Medley, Various Authors.
Ashkenazi music has it’s roots in Europe and spread to North America (Denburg). This gives it a lighter polka feel with instruments not native to Israel, the current Jewish country, prominently the clarinet. The chords chosen give an urgent sense to the music.
The pace of the song is rather quick with emphasis on the off beats. This creates a song that generates a lot of “toe tapping” (Denburg). There is almost no deviation in the accompaniment which makes the melody stand out.
Sephardic Music, Unknown Author.
The Sephardic music has most of its influence come from Spain and other Mediterranean countries. Most instruments play a series of staccato notes rather than prolonged legato notes. There is no apparent melody that ties it all together yet the group plays in a controlled chaos.
There are myriad rhythms in this music, not one defining beat as in the Ashkenazi music. This music was based in “medieval Spain” which is why it has a folk rhythm (Denburg).
צלילי העוד-חנהל’ה התבלבלה, Unknown Date
Mizrahi music claims most influence from middle eastern countries. This song has a more smooth accompaniment and is sung in Yiddish. The vocals are drawn out and sound like they are remembering something from the past.
This music is a bit more fast paced like Ashkenazi. The background is used less and a couple instruments take more intriguing rhythms in intervals. Since there are vocals, more of the rhythm is toned down to keep the focus on them.
I personally like the Ashkenazi music best, it is the interesting and catchy. The upbeat and fun melody makes for a fun song, funny that my favorite sect is influenced by western culture. Mizrahi is my least favorite sect, it seems to have no direction and has a random pattern.
Denburg, Moshe. “Jewish Music: An Overview.” Jewish Vitrual Library, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/an-overview-of-jewish-music.
Silver, Rivki. “What Makes Jewish Music ‘Jewish?”.” Rivki Silver ~ Thoughts & Music, 18 Mar. 2013, lifeinthemarriedlane.com/2013/03/18/what-makes-jewish-music-jewish/.