Terkish (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.


Bulgar was the American Jewish name for a dance genre which had come to epitomize the entire klezmer dance repertoire... [Andre] Hadju also confuses the terms ‘bulgar’ and ‘terkishe.’ Although, as I note below, several items of south Balkan origin were played by the Jews as ‘bulgar,’ they were not called “terkishe,’ and the latter was not used as a synonym for bulgar...” Feldman 1994, pp. 10-27

“In the repertoire of the American klezmer, a parallel genre appears called bulgar or terkish which, on our opinion, constitutes a sister-repertoire of the niggun-Meron of Israel.” Hadju, 1971, p. 73

“Grichesher Tantz...is based on the 1929 accordion solo in terkishe rhythm by Mishka Tsiganoff...(What has been referred to as terkishe rhythm is the same as the Greek sirto dance rhythm.).” Phillips 1996a, p. 19. (Musical notation and recording references included). 

“Kaleh Bazetsen Terkishe. This terkishe from the medley, The Bride is Seated can be heard on ‘Andy Statman Orchestra.’" Phillips 1996a, p. 20. (Musical notation and recording references included). 

“Kishniev #1. This stately terkishe...is based on the stylings of Dave Tarras...In the second half of the medley Tarras leaps into a freylakh that is transcribed in that chapter under Kishiniev #2. He then plays Kishiniev #1 in a freylakh rhythm.” Phillips 1996a, p. 30. (Musical notation and recording references included). 

“Terkishe Melody from ‘Doina’ Medley #1. This is the furst tune of a medley by S. Kosch... It exhibits the typical terkishe (Actually Greek sirto) back up rhythm, albeit at a slow pace.” Phillips 1996a, p. 46. (Musical notation and recording references included). 

“Terkisher Yale Ve-Yove. This quick terikishe is vechicle for...Naftule Barndwein’s clarinet recorded in 1923...The title refers to a Hebrew prayer, possibly the source of the basic melody. He explores three D scales, shifting with each new section... This rhythm is the same as the Greek sirto and suggests connections between the Jews of Eastern Europe and the Greek inhabitants of the Turkish Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries.” Phillips 1996a, p. 48. (Musical notation and recording references included). 

“The Terkish / A quasi-Oriental piece in duple meter, slow-moderate in tempo, using a Habanera-like rhythm....” Sokolow 1987, 19.

“The Terkish, as it sounds, a dance in Turkish rhythm, utilizes a Spanish ‘habanera’ beat, without variation Dum, da Dum Dum.” Sokolow 1991, p. 5.