Friday, August 22, 2008

Jewish Wedding Music: Thoughts

I've been wondering how the latest Jewish Music actually is effecting the latest Jewish Wedding Music scene. Lipa Schmeltzer has made his mark with Rabosai etc.. Usually when a new album comes out the songs although perhaps great to listen to, are often too difficult to duplicate at a live Jewish wedding. In other words, the musical arrangement of the song are so complex you can only play it with the original score which almost never happens. When it comes to the Jewish wedding scene, musicians deal with the music differently. Some know it all and also have great musical "ears" and play everything without reading any music at all. Many musicians read whats known as a lead sheet: Sheet music that shows the chords and melody line only. This is usually adequate for many musicians however I used to hate the fact that the trumpet players only would play melody lines and nothing else. On an album horns and other instruments are backing the vocalist and that's what makes the arrangement sound great. Many horn players only know how to play whats in front of them and never bother to learn any arrangement horn lines. This makes for a lot of empty space and does not recreate the song in a fashion that gives it it's full effect. Some orchestras have horn lines written into their lead sheets but there is only so much space you can fit on one sheet and it costs money. You will find many non-Jewish musicians playing all sorts of instruments at Jewish weddings i.e. sax, trumpet, drums. The one instrument that you will almost never see a gentile playing at an orthodox Jewish wedding is a Keyboard. One reason is, no matter how well you can read music the keyboard, which at many times seconds as the bass player must know the music real well since he's one of the key instruments keeping everything together. I've seen keyboard players who were not familiar with orthodox Jewish music attempt to read off a sheet and even though they read well it was a disaster. Another reason it's difficult for Keyboardist to play well of sheet music: some of the sheet music is not written perfectly and some times the time signatures which might give the impression the song sounds a certain way might be off to some degree. It's interesting that many of the old time songs are making their way back into the Jewish wedding music scene partly because a lot of the new stuff for a while was not any good. Don't forget a great place to find Live Jewish Music entertainment is


Anonymous said...

as a frum sax player i agree with your analysis. some non- jewish horn players do show the "yiddishe qvetch" .

JoeFlix said...

Great post. I have nothing to add.

Jewish Blogmeister said...


Anonymous said...

Interesting article....Nice blog post. Kind Regards
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