Eighteenth-Century Yiddish Lyric and Narrative Folk Songs
This chapter traces “Yiddish servant romances” back to the eighteenth century. It examines the formal characteristics of melodies and texts typical of servant romances and shows how its emergence can be correlated with verbal folklore, various musical genres, social history, and non-Jewish folk poetry. It also explains the term “Yiddish folk songs,” which is often used to refer to the entire complex of both folk and popular songs performed by the Yiddish-speaking population. The chapter uses the designation “Yiddish folk songs” in line with Bogatyrev and Jakobson's theory of crystallization processes in the development of folklore. It points out how the servant romances revolves around unrequited love and are characterized by the fusion of archaic traits with the markers of day-to-day life in the late modern period.
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