Sephardisches Liederbuch (The Sephardic Songbook): 51 Judenspanische Lieder (51 Judeo-Spanish Songs)

Collected and edited by Aron Saltiel With Transcriptions and an introduction by Joshua Horowitz

Frankfurt: Edition Peters, 2001. Nr. 10849

The Sephardic Songbook is an academic work, based on original fieldwork taken between 1976 and 1996 in Bat-Yam, Sarajevo, Thessaloniki, and Istanbul among other places. The transcriptions are based on vocal traditions taken from informants, usually performed without any accompaniment. The book attempts to “be true to” the performance style of the informants. Standard notation is used. Harmonies are not provided in order to preserve the “modal character of most of the songs”.

An extensive and detailed introduction discusses the difficult issues surround vocal style, modal performance practicies, tempi, meter and rhythm, vocal ornamentation, microtonality and other factors affecting the true nature of the works.

The Songbook is completely bilingual in German and English, providing translations into both German and English for each song, as well as the text of the Introduction and the ‘Annotations’ description section at the back of the book. There are brief biographical sketches provided about the informants as well Saltiel and Horowitz.
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The Sephardic Songbook is a strong academic work that provides readers of Western notation easy access to this important folk heritage.