Marsh (LKT)

This entry is part of the Lexicon of Klezmer Terminology (LKT). The LKT compiles a wide array of source materials that shed light on the historical and contemporary state of knowledge about klezmer music. Each entry includes a number of citations from primary and secondary sources that include or refer to the term in question. It also indicates whether musical notation or sound recordings are included in the source. By clicking on the bibliographic hyperlink at the end of each citation, you get the full reference.


“‘Khupe march.’ When they bring the bride and groom to the khupe the ‘tsu-der-khupe marsh’ is heard.” [Orgajev, Bessarabia, c. 1930s-40s]. Bik 1964. (Musical notation included). 

“From the distance could already be heard the strains of the khupe-march, played on a fiddle, a clarinet, a drum, and a cymbal and fife/whistle... After that the bridesmaids brought the bride with music accompanying them... People danced around the bride inside the house.” [Staro-Konstantin, Ukraine, 1820s-30s]. Fridkin 1925, p. 46

“A Jewish wedding in the shtetl was a holiday... When Arish the Klezmer with his band played a nign from ‘Kale’she, kale’she veyn’ or the march ‘sher’ for the bride’s badekns, everyone cried...” [Apt [Opatov], Poland, c. pre-World War I]. Glat 1966, p. 108

“For peasants it was customary, that when one of the important invited guests reached the doorstep, the band bid him farewell with a ‘marsh’, even when to do so meant interrupting the dances...” [Dubno, Poland, pre-World War II]. Katshke 1966, p. 672

"The entrance to the shtetl with the groom took place to the sound of music and song... Soon thereafter the badkhn introduced himself with the klezmorim, who played the first march. All present became serious, and they rose to the occasion.” [Frampol, Lublin, Poland, pre-World War II]. Kleydman 1966, p. 163

“1) In its common meaning it refers to a joyful niggun based on march tunes which were usually adopted from the surrounding non-Jewish cultures. The adoption of marches by Hasidim is part of the process of borrowing non-Jewish tunes in order to sanctify them... Hasidic marches are not intended for marching but for singing. Marches are introduced during the services to poetic texts, such as Lekhah dodi and El adon for the sabbath... As in the Hasidic waltzes, the marches are generally sung in a slower tempo than originally intended. Marches are found in several dynasties such as Belz, Biale, Gur, Karlin, Modzhitz, Sanz and Vizhnitz. The Vizhnitz marsh repertory includes niggunim with the characteristic triple meter of the waltz style... 2) Members of the Boyan community and young Hasidim of other communities use this term broadly to refer to joyful melodies and dance tunes. For these Hasidim marsh is synonymous with freilachs.” Mazor and Seroussi 1990/91, p. 128. (Musical notation and recording references included). 

“Klezmer bands have also been called upon to play waltzes and mazurkas (both in 3/4 meter), polkas (2/4), tangos (4/4) European military marches (2/4 and 6/8), and popular pieces from the Yiddish theatre, often in fox-trot, waltz, tango, and even rhumba rhythms.” Sokolow 1987, p. 20. (Musical notation included). 

"After the sentimental crying, the khupe-marsh (mus. ex. 8) announces the arrival of the men and it stops the wailing and sadness... to the sounds of the happy march, the bride and groom are led to the khupe... under the khupe the bride and groom approach each other... the kidushin ceremony is religious with musical accompaniment. When it is done, the melody bursts forth and from everywhere the cry ‘mazl tov’ is heard. The klezmorim play happy notes (mus. ex. 9) and accompany the guests and in-laws to the wedding-meal. Then everyone begins to eat, drink wine...” Stutschewsky 1959, p. 162. (Musical notation included). 

“According to Jewish tradition people bless the new moon each month, and every twenty-eight years the sun was blessed... In an earlier time people in the town said that when it would time to bless the sun, Arish [the town klezmer], Arish would create a special nign. On the arranged day, early in the morning, a happy march was heard throughout the town... The klezmorim first played the Polish anthem then ‘Hatikvah.’ To the sound of happy music the festive crowd was led through the wide streets.” [Apt [Opatov], Poland, c. 1890s]. Teytel 1966b, p. 138

Marsh. march.” Weinreich 1977, p. 558

"The groom was brought soon after the ‘bedecken’ with music -- a Marsch was played -- before the khupe... and the music stops and the ceremony begins...” [Brest Litovsk, Poland, 1848]. Wengeroff 1913, I, pp. 187-88

“Returning from synagogue the bride and groom were led together and the klezmorim played the usual march from the khupe [‘marsh fun der khupe’].” [Sarnaki, Poland, pre-World War II]. Zeyerman 1968, pp. 348-49

“The klezmorim drove into the shtetl, performing a happy march.” [Sarnaki, Poland, pre-World War II]. Zeyerman 1968, pp. 348-49

“The Friday before the wedding, the mekhutonim, meaning the bride and groom’s parents, used to send the klezmer with the badkhn to all of their closest friends and relatives to play a ‘kabalos-shabos.’ The badkhn would call out to whom, and the klezmorim would play a march... [On the wedding day, after the badekns,] the bridegrooms took the groom and all the in-laws in a march with the klezmer out to the khupe... [Later,] during the meal they played and danced, [but] particularly interesting are the last minutes... the klezmer played a gezegn-tants... they fortified themselves [against tears] with a freylekhs, with a march, a hopke-tants...” [Vilna, Lithuania, c. 1890s-1900s].” Zizmor 1922a, pp. 873-76