Vocal Chords: Polina Shepherd on Modes of Yiddish Song

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Polina Shepherd is a wonderful Yiddish and Russian singer/performer. http://www.polinashepherd.co.uk/choirs/

Polina is also the choir leader of the award-winning Russian Choir, Brighton & Hove and The London Yiddish Choir and The London Russian Choir. Polina plays piano and also teaches workshops in Russian and Yiddish singing and songs. Our Vocal Chords producer Robert Hope met her during one of her work sessions which will feature in our series Vocal Chords for RTE Lyric fm but here is an exclusive sample from inside one of her workshops. Polina talks about the modal system of Yiddish song and how to sing it.

Have a listen and share.

© Athena Media Ltd.

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Transcript:

00:00

*Piano plays and Polina Shepherd sings a few notes of a scale*

Polina Shepherd: Hear that? What mode is this, do you know? In Yiddish music, in classical music we use modes,there’s a mode major, mode minor. They are slightly different, this is one of them it is called ‘*song name*’ I think. Eh and the names of the modes come from prayers, from Cantorial music, from the Synagogue.

00:28

So, Yiddish music has it’s own musical components that are not classical and they’re specifically Yiddish. But these modes exist in other folk cultures..in Romanian music, in Hungarian music, in Ukrainian music, in..Turkish music *cough in background* if you know the system of em Makomat, he jazzes very close to one of the Jewish modes.

00:53

When we sing these songs, we don’t sing classically, so we don’t sing *sings short example and plays piano accompaniment* ..em *sings three more notes* em.. the way to embellish it if you’re a performer, if you’re a singer who wants to perform the song solo for example and if you don’t want to sing everything the same way *starts to play piano* you just jump in the mode.. *sings example with piano accompaniment* rather than doing some.. y’know, arrangement..you just play with the mode. Ok..

01:35

Polina Shepherd: *continues talking as sound fades out*

01:41

END.

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Photo Credit: © Paul Bogomazov

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http://www.vocalchords.ie

over 2 years ago
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