Kozatshok (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.


“Sometimes, however, certain [Ukrainian, non-Jewish] melodies are deliberately adopted as extraethnic. In Jewish folk music we have a certain number of melodies adopted from the Ukrainian (e.g., the very widespread dance tune kozačok) and a great number of folk songs sung to the melodies of popular Ukrainian songs.” Beregovski 1935 [= Beregovski/Slobin 1982, p. 525]

“Jewish musicians used to play frequently at non-Jewish weddings and festivities where they undoubtedly played Jewish tunes in addition to the Ukrainian dance-repertoire. In the same way they brought their Ukrainian repertoire to Jewish weddings (e.g. kozačkesskočnas). Beregovski 1935 [= Beregovski/Slobin 1982, p. 526]. (Musical notation included). 

“Let us introduce another example, a dance such as the kozak (kozačok), which was and still is widespread among Ukrainian Jews and also in Poland. There can be no doubt about the Ukrainian origin of this dance among Jews outside the Ukraine (in Poland) and to determine those features introduced by the Jews; we find such features in this music... It is noteworthy that in both belles lettres and folklore the kozačok is mentioned much more frequently than the šer. Is this perhaps because the kozačok was a male dance (though also a female dance) that was performed at the wedding in the presence of all the guests? The kozačok was basically a solo dance in which the more talented dancers could distinguish themselves.” Beregovski 1937 [= Beregovski/Slobin 1982, p. 535]

“The co-territorial repertoire consisted of local dance tunes of non-Jewish origin played by klezmorim for non-Jews, and also, at times, for Jews within a limited geographical region (such as the Polish mazurka, Ruthenian kolomeyka and Ukrainian kozachok).” Feldman 1994, pp. 9-10

“The karkazi [described in a memoir of a Jerusalem wedding] must be the koztshok-dance of the first aliyah.” Fridhaber 1990, p. 146, n. 26

“[Quoted]... I danced with my sister the kotzhok dance and the beroyges dances.” Fridhaber 1990, p. 149

“Klezmers knew Ukrainian folk dances very well and played them both for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. Their favorite dance was the kazachok, as we can see from the use of the name for many instrumental pieces. The popularity of the kozachok is also reflected in folk songs. One of them begins with the following words, addressed to the sole musician invited to a modest wedding: ‘Khatskele, Khatskele, play me a kazatskele, even if it’s a simple one, as long as it’s a merry one’)... Jewish kozachok melodies were borrowed, but in the klezmer interpretation they were given near-virtuoso features. Moreover they became multi-part works.” Goldin 1989, p. 15

“The follwing kozachoks served as the basis for a number of klezmer pieces...’’ Goldin 1989, pp. 18-19. (Musical notation included). 

“On the whole we should not exaggerate the significance of Ukrainian borrowings in the klezmer repertoire. They did not acquire a Jewish sound. The kozachoks and hopaks that were adopted are only a small part of the non-native element in klezmer music. Very often under Ukrainian titles we find purely Jewish pieces.” Goldin 1989, p. 19

“After the wedding-feast they began to dance. The dances were varied according to generation... Middle-aged Jews would dance ‘balgareske,’ ‘kozatshok,’ and especially the ‘sher.’” [Podalia, c. 1909]. Tshernovetski 1946, pp. 97-114

See Kozatske and Kozak.