(Shtayger) of the Klezmer music are the same used in
the Askenazi Synagogue . That is to say that the recognizable Jewish character of melodic patterns is
borrowed from the liturgic and hazzanut (cantor) modes. Each mode is the reflection of a mood and it is the
changing intervals that defines the melodic motives.
To find the origins of the modes used in the cantorial singing we must refer to the
aural tradition of the singing of the Levitical Choir in the Temple of Jerusalem.
There is 5 modes or scales some of them named after the synagogue mode name.
Similar to the
D E F# G A D B C# D
The major scale is not frequently used in klezmer music.
Minor, harmonic minor or natural
The harmonic minor is generally adopted by klezmer musicians.
(Great Love or Abounding Love) (altered
Phrygian according to Beregovski) Freygish harmonic minor centering on the dominant, with lowered second and
raised third, creating an augmented second interval. Usually, pieces in ahava raba are written in the key of
the subdominant minor. This is the most common mode used in Klezmer music and its Biblical origin is
unquestionable (although Idelsohn point out that the Ahava Raba mode may be of tartar origin).The 7th can be
a major or a minor second. Abounded love are the first words of the
Shabbat Musaf Prayer.
D Eb F# G A Bb C(C#) D
(He Who Blessed)(altered
Dorian according to Beregovski or Ukrainian mode according to Idelsohn) It is the raised 4th that gives to
this mode its particular blend and it is commonly used in the doina.
D E F G# A B C D
Is King) (modified Mixolydian), or major with lowered seventh and, in the upper extension, lowered
Adonai Molokh, in Hebrew The Lord Is King is excerpt from the opening prayer of the
Friday night Shabbat service.
(C#) D E F# G A B C D
The most used keys are C and D but the modes can start on any given notes as long as
the intervals stays unchanged. It is important to understand that a mode is more than a scale, more than the 7
notes of the heptatonic system, because it entangles the way the notes making it up are used.
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