Klezmer Style Guide


  • Klezmer music might sound like this example of Veretski Pass, a trio of sometime KlezCalifornia workshop teachers Cookie Segelstein, Josh Horowitz, and Stu Brotman, emphasizing a eastern European sound:
  • A klezmer jam is a gathering of musicians to learn tunes while they are played and to experience playing with other musicians. A leader guides the choice of tunes and their tempos, keeping the musicians together and moving on to another tune after sufficient repetitions of the previous one. Once the session is moving along, other players call out tunes they would like to play. See 

WHAT IS A JAM SESSION? — by Stuart Brotman

  • A slow jam is a klezmer jam in which tunes are played by ear, but much more slowly than usual. Sometimes this is accompanied by teaching of some songs (call and response). See  

WHAT IS A SLOW JAM? — by Stuart Brotman

  • A klezmer instrumental workshop is a gathering in which participants learn klezmer tunes and techniques from a teacher, sometimes with the use of musical charts. There is ample time for repetition and discussion. 
  • A KlezCalifornia Yiddish sing-along is a get-together to sing Yiddish songs, relying on the KlezCalifornia SongBook or on song sheets provided by participants. Specific songs are chosen by a leader or by participants.
  • Learning by ear rather than from written music has specific benefits. 
WHY WE LEARN BY EAR — by Joshua Horowitz


This resource for instrumentalists who wish to learn how to perform klezmer music in a traditional style includes links to instrument-specific materials and related audio and video files.


  • Sherry Mayrent, KlezmerAcademy.com
  • Keith Wolzinger, podcasts, KlezmerPodcast.com
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jewish Music Research Centre, Lexicon of Klezmer Terminology (LKT), www.jewish-music.huji.ac.il/lkt. The LKT compiles a wide array of source materials that shed light on the historical and contemporary state of knowledge about klezmer music. Each entry includes a number of citations from primary and secondary sources that include or refer to the term in question. It also indicates whether musical notation or sound recordings are included in the source. By clicking on the bibliographic hyperlink at the end of each citation, you get the full reference.

General Publications with Stylistic Information

  • Henry Sapoznik & Pete Sokolow, The Compleat Klezmer - book with CD, amazon.com
  • Stacy Phillips, Mel Bay's Klezmer Collection - book amazon.com C amazon.com Bb other sources
  • Josh Horowitz, ed., The Ultimate Klezmer - book, modern edition of Nat Kostowsky, International Hebrew Wedding Music (1916) amazon.com
  • Kurt Bjorling, ed., Beregovsky, Jewish Instrumental Music - book
  • Kammen International Dance Folio No.1  & 9 - books
  • Velvel Pasternak, The Big Klezmer Fake Book, amazon.com
  • Pete Sokolow, Klezmer Guide - book, jewishmusic.com/search?q=sokolow
  • Andy Statman, Learn to Play Klezmer - DVD, homespun.com
  • Yale Strom, ed., Shpil – The Art of Playing Klezmer, amazon.com

Klezmer Transcriptions on the Web


  • Cookie Segelstein, six lessons:
    1. Intro: A Classical Violist Discovers Klezmer Violin 
    2. Jewish and Klezmer Violin Style
    3. Main Klezmer Modes
    4. The Freygish Mode in Klezmer Music
    5. The Mishebeyrakh Mode in Klezmer Music
    6. The Doina in Klezmer Music





  • Michèle Gingras, Klezmer for Klarinettistsdolmetsch.com/klezmer
  • Dave Tarras, one-hour concert (in 1978 at age 81), youtu.be/V6zKleJSYi4
  • Joel Rubin, The art of the klezmer: improvisation and ornamentation in the commercial recordings of New York clarinetists Naftule Brandwein and Dave Tarras, 1922-1929, unpublished doctoral thesis (2001), PDF, openaccess.city.ac.uk/8393/
  • Robin Seletsky, Klezmer Clarinet Tutorials on YouTube: 
    1. The Krekht
    2. The Krekht continued
    3. The Laughing/Crying Sound; see also Oleg Lapidus video on Laughing Effect
    4. Grace Notes and Trills
    5. The Doina
    6. Sliding Between Notes
    7. The Growl
    8. Extreme High Notes






Cantorial Models

Hasidic Nigunim


  • Jeff Warschauer and Alan Bern on klezmer accompaniment, youtu.be/Qr3phAsDN0A 
  • "Klezmer!" BBC documentary in five parts: