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Michigan State University

Music Theory Lecture with Yonatan Malin

103 Music Practice Building, 12:45 PM

March 21, 2024

Performing Arts


Thursday, March 21, 12:45 PM, 103 Music Practice Building

Distinguished Lecturers in Music Theory Series
(Free and open to the public)

Exemplars in Music Theory: A Case Study from My Work on Klezmer Music

Dr. Yonatan Malin Associate Professor of Music University of Colorado—Boulder

In this talk, I give an overview of my work on klezmer music, developed over a period of several years. Klezmer is Jewish instrumental music from Eastern Europe, which circulates in an international network of bands, musicians, festivals, and online communities. I will make use of a single tune and recording (“Hora and Doina” recorded by Jacob Hoffman with Kandel’s Orchestra in 1923) as an exemplar for statistical properties of the klezmer modes, melodic and harmonic schemata, and performance practice. The talk draws on ethnography as well as analysis; I discuss and play recordings from a workshop that I attended with two leading musicians in the field, the klezmer violinist Deborah Strauss and trombonist Dan Blacksberg. I also reflect on the use of exemplars in music theory and explore their potential for a more expansive and culturally informed discipline. The statistical analysis in this talk draws on work developed together with Daniel Shanahan (Northwestern University).