Klezmer Archive Blog

About the Klezmer Archive Project #

Klezmer, the instrumental music of Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe, was and continues to be a transnational music based in oral tradition. For decades members of the klezmer community have dreamt of a centralized repository for klezmer tunes and their historical/ethnographic context, but creating such a resource within current archival structures leaves out a critical source of knowledge—klezmer culture bearers. These individuals have a deep understanding of repertoire, history, and folklore that is highly valued within the international klezmer community, but it is only available to the whole community when it is collected and organized. With this in mind, the Klezmer Archive project aims to create a universally accessible, useful resource for interaction, discovery, and research on all available information about klezmer music.

This resource will bridge the gap between oral history and archives by being a space where culture bearers and community members can engage with archival items and one another as musicians do—by drawing connections between tunes, discussing genre classifications, searching for unnamed melodies, and comparing recorded versions of the same tune—while maintaining quality standards on par with institutional collections. The project seeks to create a novel resource that combines attributes of both institutional archive structures and community-based collections and that integrates computational music analysis tools to facilitate further study.

We are planning to use this blog as a space to document our research and development process, as we work towards creating the Klezmer Archive. We intend to write about issues in computational musicology, corpus studies, digital humanities, and more, as we confront these problems.