Thursday, November 13, 2008

From the mailbag...

Avromy Ackerman forwards a link to a Nir Naaman saxophone solo.
I think you’ll get a kick out of this. At 6:38 in the link which I’m including, in the middle of a round of five saxophonists trading twos, Nir quotes a popular Jewish song for his full solo!

Mambo Inn
James Staudt writes:
I use both Finale and Sibelius. Personally, I find Finale easier to use, and I find that "real-time" entry from the keyboard is much more accurate with Finale. Sibelius is less forgiving, and frequently becomes very quirky by inventing its own rhythms on the manuscript. Has anybody else had this problem? An old DOS program, MusicPrinterPlus, had the best processor for "real-time" entry. Just thought I'd pass that along.
Personally, I've gotten better results from Sibelius vs. Finale in that regard.

Israel Zwick comments on "What Would Shlomo Say?":
This is the Niggun Done Right! Niggun Neshama - Shlomo Katz
Incidentally, for some strange reason, Hirhurim linked this post, rather than my substantative critique of Rabbi Luft's book, which immediately preceded it. I imagine that series would be of more interest to his readers.

A reader comments on "Vesamachta Lead Sheet Analysis- Trio":
What a treatise!

The only problem with your whole theory is that e natural is not part of the melody. Not how the song goes. Could be implied and suitable to the mode, but it’s an embellishment. I therefore still stand by what I said, that the fraygish mode takes its ingredient from the harmonic minor and if an e natural is introduced it is not germane to the mode but rather an anomaly, which is why it’s accidental is not in the signature.
Nope. It’s part of the melody. That’s my point. Some people sing it without and that’s the common variation, as I noted, but I think the original version had the E natural. I suspect that it evolved this way because of this non-familiarity with modes. Just like the wrong Gm ending to Eishes Chayil everybody sings, which is not that old a song, and clearly ends on D.

It’s an accidental because it’s different (natural or minor) depending on where in the mode you’re coming from/going to. In either event, the E natural is not suited to C Harmonic Minor.

We’ll have to agree to disagree.

On the same topic, Jordan Wosnick writes:
Just a note of appreciation about the blog. I am Jewish, and an occasionally-semi-pro jazz musician -- so the lead sheet idea is not foreign to me. But not a "Jewish musician" (I don't play Jewish events typically) so your analysis (especially the mode structure of the music) was interesting. I take turns at SHa"Tz duties at shul so the modes are "in my head", but I don't have a theoretical understanding of them -- at least not on the level of traditional jazz theory.

Can you recommend any books (in English) on traditional Jewish music theory?
Pete Sokolow has a very useful essay on Klezmer modes in The Compleat Klezmer. Amazon has it here:

Josh Horowitz wrote a wonderful article, The Main Klezmer Modes which is hosted at the Klezmer Shack.

Joe Flix forwards a link to his review of Dovid Stein's album.

Psachya comments on Rabbi Luft's sheet music:
I'll admit this to be a total nitpick, but I couldn't resist. In addition to everything else, Rabbi Luft owes an apology to all Bobover Chassidim for describing what is probably their most famous nigun as a "Vizhnitzer" chupa song. (I bet he probably loves Arkady's version...) :-)
J. comments on "Hachnasat Bar Mitzvah Bachur":
I can get you a band,,, just have someone cover the gas and tolls!
See, that wasn't too hard. There are now two public offers to cover the music for this event at no charge (assuming the details are as presented in the original post).