Niggunim and Klezmer

For Thursday, I am asking you to read this by ethnomusicologist Ellen Koskoff. It is an excerpt from her ethnography of musical life in Lubavitcher-Chabad communities in the United States. As you read this, keep in mind that Koskoff is writing from what she considers an outsider perspective –– although she was raised Jewish, she was never a member of this particular group. She argues in particular for the importance of niggunim. I hope that you arrive in class ready to talk about this very different version of musical ecstasy.

Looking ahead to Monday, I am asking you to read Mark Slobin’s “Klezmer Music: An American Ethnic Genre” from Yearbook for Traditional Music (1984). You should be able to find this article through JSTOR.


About kgoldschmitt
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at New College of Florida, music scholar for hire.

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