Pastukhel (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 refers 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.


“Pastuchel. A tune composed in the style of a pastoral, perhaps from French pastourelle. The hazanim would sing a pastuchel when it was required by the text, e.g. in K’vakorath roeh edro and others.” Avenary 1960, p. 192

“[America is] a strange land with strange weddings... [where] a wedding-feast [happens] without a ‘volekhl,’ or a ‘pastukhel’...” [Byten, Grodno province, Russia, c. 1905-1911]. Rabinovitch 1940, p. 203

“The theme of the lost and then found sheep formed the basis for the popular folk song ‘Dos pastekhl’ or ‘a pastekh’ (‘The/A Sheperd’). which is sung to two different melodies [Kipnis 1918:129, 1925: 135; Jaldati 1969:28, 196-97]. In the Yiddish version the plot is much more elaborate than in the Moldavian original...The structure of the melody correspondings [sic]” to the unfolding of the plot: first it has a narrative character, then it becomes more dramatic...The concluding part is a dance melody. ‘Dos pastekhl’ is one of the richest and most beautiful of Yiddish folk songs. A certain non-Jewish influence heard in the melody is probably Ukrainian. In the middle part of the meoldy one also hears the intonations of synaogue recitative. It is surpisring, but true: both melodies to ‘Dos pastukhel’ were composed in the Ukraine and not in Moldavia, as we can see, among other things, from the mixed Yiddish-Ukrainain text of the song. This means that the Moldavian theme of the lost and then found sheep as well as the doina itself were also well known in the Ukraine.” Goldin 1989, pp. 27-28

See Doyne and Volekh.