Patsh Tants (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.


“Patch Dance.” Delakova and Berk 1948, pp. 23-24. (Musical notation included). 

“‘Women, clap! Take pleasure that both mothers-in-law are dancing a shemele’ If a man such as Eliokum Tzunser sang a dance song like this at weddings, it is certain that it was performed during the dances under the name ‘shemele.’ And we learn another thing from these two short verses, that it was a dance of the mothers-in-law and that it appears to have been of the style that is called... ‘patsh-tants,’ [which] would be danced with hand-clapping, a style of dances that was very widespread in Jewish weddings. The scholar and musicologist Moshe Beregovski, who brings these two verses from Zunser’s song, learns from it that this was apparently a solo dance for the mothers-in-law alone, and this leads him to the additional conclusion that, at least in the 70s and 80s of the previous century, this dance was widespread in the region of Vilna... [and all of] Eastern Europe...” Fridhaber 1972, pp. 32-33

“Patch Tanz. Dance (lit. ‘clap dance’) of Eastern European origin, In a slow duple meter, it is part of the Jewish wedding. While dancing in a circle, the participants stop at certain intervals to clap their hands in a given measure. Foot stamping is sometimes simultaneous or is substituted for hand clapping.” Nulman 1975, p. 194

“R. Unger brings there as well the ‘silent dance’ (shtiler- tants), which they danced without melody...[but] the ‘silent dance’ is nothing more than the ‘patsh-tants.’” Rivkind 1960, p. 33

“During the evening there were other dances such as the ‘Dance of Initiation,’ now called the ‘Patch Tants’ (‘Clap Dance’). This is performed only by married women in a circle with the bride in the center. The matrons walk with the handkerchiefs held downward in their hands. During a grand right-and-left the bride joins in, thus becoming one of them.” [New York, 1970s]. Seid 1975, p. 14

“Clapping dance (‘patsh-tants’). In certain places, during the dance music, the dancers would clap the appropriate dance rhythm... patsh-tants: The ways of this dance are, that the dancers hit hands at certain points of the meter.” Stutschewsky 1959, pp. 175, 214. (Musical notation included).