Hanukkah with the Viper, pt. 3

For the first night of Hanukkah, I posted a recent Paint Branch Ramblers recording of “Heyse Latke Kalte Latke.” And yesterday, I posted the cheat sheet for singing and playing along in accompaniment.

But what if you want to play the melody itself? Well, today’s post offers you a PDF of the handwritten lead sheet that Peter Jensen and I use to make our contribution on the violin and the cümbüş, respectively. Ignore the chord changes, which are hopelessly more complicated the ones we actually use. You can find the ones we use on the cheat sheet from yesterday’s post.

You should also note that we have made two small changes in the way that we actually play it and make those corrections on the music.

  • In measures 4 & 8, you can add a short cadenza to the final f# note, so that it runs down the D major scale (F#, E, D) following the same two-sixteenth one-eighth note figure that you’ll see at the start of measure 7. On this one, it creates a nicely heterophonous effect if NOT all the players do this every time.
  • The more important change is the reversal of the 2nd and 3rd notes in measure 7, so that it goes G, A, Bb rather than G, Bb, A. It’s a really small thing, but it makes a big difference in the way the textured pattern of that part works out.

    We don’t really solo over this, but if you wanted to try, the song basically uses two modes. I don’t know the names of either. For most of it – the parts where the chords is D major – it uses what I think of as the basic klezmer mode (i.e., the one that you’ll hear in “Hava Nagila” or “Misirlou”) of a scale built on D using the notes D, Eb, F#, G, A, Bb, C#, D. For measures 7 & 8, 11 & 12, and 15 & 16 (where the chords go D, C, C, D), it straightens out the scale a bit, so that you’re using D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C, D. Though, frankly, when I ad lib, I don’t worry about that.

    And we don’t think you should either. Come back tomorrow night for more latkes, served up hot and cold.

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