Tag Archives: Resources

Idelsohn’s “Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental melodies”

The First Committee of the Hebrew Language, Jerusalem 1912. Sitting (from right to left): Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Joseph Klausner, David Yellin, and Eliezer Meir Lifshitz; standing: Chaim Aryeh Zuta, Kadish Yehuda Silman, Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, Abraham Jacob Brawer. Photo by Ya’ackov Ben-Dov (Widener Library, Cambridge, public domain)

 

Upon settling in Jerusalem in 1906, the Latvian cantor Abraham Zvi Idelsohn (1882–1938) was deeply impressed by the diversity of the Jewish communities in Palestine and embarked on a massive project. Supported by the Academy of Science in Vienna and supplied with a phonograph for his fieldwork, Idelsohn recorded the unique musical and linguistic traditions of these communities. This ethnological work led to the publication of his Gesänge der jemenitischen Juden (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1914), which would become the first installment of his 10-volume Hebräisch-orientalischer Melodienschatz / Thesaurus of oriental Hebrew melodies (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel et al., 1914–32).

In its final form, the thesaurus covers a universe of over 8000 Jewish melodies including the musical traditions of Yemenite, Babylonian, Persian, Bukharan, Oriental Sephardi, Moroccan, German, Eastern European, and Hassidic Jewish communities in Palestine and throughout the Diaspora (as a cantor he had previously served in South Africa and in various cities in Germany). Idelsohn’s goal was to illuminate the “authentic” Hebrew elements in Jewish melodies. He firmly believed that neither geographical change nor outside influences could alter the basic spiritual mold of Jewish culture.

Both the original publication and the reprints of this exhaustive and seminal work are now accessible through RILM’s Index to Printed Music (IPM), the digital finding aid for locating musical works contained in printed collections, sets, and series. Researchers no longer have to cope with the print editions, working page by page through bulky tomes. For example, a search in IPM for Adon olam (Eternal Lord), a piyyut used in the Jewish liturgy since the 15th century, yields 58 renditions sprinkled throughout six of the volumes; these can now be easily located, along with page numbers and further details.

Below, a rendition of Adon olam that comes close to Idelsohn’s transcription no. 59 (Thesaurus. IV: Gesänge der orientalischen Sefardim / Songs of the Oriental Sephardim of 1923).

Leave a Comment

Filed under Resources

Jazzomat

 

The Jazzomat Research Project takes up the challenge of jazz research in the age of digitalization, opening up a new field of analytical exploration by providing computational tools as well as a comprehensive corpus of improvisations with MeloSpyGUI and the Weimar Jazz Database.

The volume Inside the Jazzomat: New perspectives for jazz research (Mainz: Schott, 2017; RILM Abstracts 2017-48411) presents the main concepts and approaches of the ongoing project, and includes several case studies that demonstrate how these approaches can be included in jazz analysis in various ways.

Above, a graphic related to Jazzomat’s DTL Pattern Similarity Search; below, Don Byas’s recording of Body and soul, one of the book’s case studies.

More posts about jazz are here.

1 Comment

Filed under Analysis, Jazz and blues, Resources

Creative improvised music: An international bibliography

In 2019 African Diaspora Press issued Creative improvised music: An international bibliography of the jazz avant-garde, 1959–present by John Gray, a companion volume to Gray’s Fire music (Westport: Greenwood, 1991).

Creative Improvised Music picks up where Fire music left off, focusing on the literature on American free jazz and European free improvisation published since the early 1990s, as well as older works and archival material not included in its predecessor. Users will find information on the music’s pioneers as well as hundreds of other improviser-composers, ensembles, and collectives that have emerged in recent years.

The volume includes a detailed subject index that offers a key to all of the book’s sections and a way to quickly pinpoint citations by topic, geographical location, personal name, and instrument.

Above and below, the Mary Halvorson Octet; Halvorson is one of the more recent musicians covered in the book.

Comments Off on Creative improvised music: An international bibliography

Filed under Uncategorized

Norient

 

Norient: Network for local and global sounds and media culture is an online resource that researches new music from around the globe and mediates it multi-modally via various platforms. The authors discuss current issues critically, from different perspectives, close to musicians and their networks.

Through the Norient online magazine, festivals, performances, books, documentary films, exhibitions, and radio programs, Norient hopes to orient and disorient readers, listeners, and spectators with information about strong, fragile, and challenging artistic positions in today’s fast moving, globalized, digitized and urbanized world. The core team is based in Bern, Berlin, and Milano, and the network of contributors is spread around 50 countries.

Below, the trailer for The African cypher, the subject of a recent article in the magazine.

Comments Off on Norient

Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Resources, World music