Hopke (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.


Hopke.” Beregovski/Goldin 1987, #103. (Musical notation included). 

“This is a hopke-tants following the khupe, afterwards a chorus [is sung] without words.” Cahan 1938, p. 305 (#81)

“Break up a rubel for me/into kopeks,/I am paying the klezmer,/he’s playing hopkes for me.” [Tshimerovits, Podalia, pre-World War II]. Cahan 1957, p. 267-68 (# 295)

“Sung to a hopketants”. [Warsaw, Poland, pre-World War I]. Cahan 1957, p. 491 (#255)

“Other dances performed at weddings in East European communities were:... Redl, Frailachs, Karahod, Hopke, vigorous circle dances done by men.” EncyJud 1971, pp. 1265-66

“Alongside of the kozachok the klezmers aso played the hopak. (The name hopak was folklorized into hopke.) Jewish kozachok melodies were borrowed, but in the klezmer interpretation they were given near-virtuoso features. Moreover they became multipart works. The borrowed hopak tunes did not keep their name. Alongside of literal transfers of Ukrainian kozachoks and hopaks, the klezmer repertoire also contained more or less modified ones and even freely transformed versions... A number of klezmer transformations are based on an intonational fragment -- from a popular hopak... 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. 15.

Hopke. dance.” Harkavi 1928, p. 185.

The Redl, Karahod, Hopke: Circle dances danced by men.” Lapson 1943, p. 461

“An ambiguous term used mostly by Polish Hasidim like the Modzhitz community. Some informants use it as a synonym for tenzl, a dance tune. In other cases it refers to a shrot, joyful and rhythmic dance tune in two of [sic] three sections. Vinaver (pp. 191-92) argues that hopkalach and tentzalach are two levels of complexity in dance tunes. The first term refers to short simple tunes which may have only one musical phrase. The term may have been derived from the Polish dance Hopka or the Ukrainian folk dance Hopak. According to the Modzhitz menaggen Fishbein from Bene Berak, this term may also apply to niggunim of rejoicing, sung to liturgical texts.” Mazor and Seroussi 1990/91, p. 124

“Hopke. Yiddish term meaning ‘hop,’ signifying a lively dance in duple or quadruple time that includes leaping, jumping, or skipping. Jewish dances of ancient and medieval times have been characterized as consisting of gesticulations, violent leaps and bounds, and hopping in a circle, rather than graceful pose or soft rhythmic movement. The hopke is danced by Hassidim at weddings, Simhat Torah (Rejoicing of the Law), and other special occasions.” Nulman 1975, pp. 112-13

Hopke -- A happy dance, sometimes for men and sometimes for women. Reyzen 1945, p. 3

Hopke — from the Ukrainian folk dance hopak (mus. ex. 21).” Stutschewsky 1959, p. 170. (Musical notation included). 

“Dance niggunim. These are usually much simpler than the previous ones. A valuable attempt to classify these niggunim has been carried out in Mazor-Hadju-Bayer. For our purpose it is important to note that according to Vinaver, the Hassidim themselves would distinguish two levels of dance tunes; namely hopkalach and tentzalach. Tunes of the first kind are very simple. They would sometimes contain just one musical phrase with syncopated or bouncy rhythm and that phrase would be repeated endlessly. Vinaver apparently did not hold such tunes in great esteem, and one may find disparaging hints about them in his writings. Tunes of the second kind are more sophis, usually consisting of a few sections built together as a small musical piece of art. Most of the dance niggunim in this volume are of thse second kind (e.g. no. 79).” Vinaver 1985, pp. 191-92

“During the meal they played and danced, particularly interesting are the last minutes... they fortified themselves [against tears] with a freylekhs, with a marsh, [and] a hopke-tants...” [Vilna, Lithania, c. 1880-90s]. Zizmor 1922b, p. 876

See Freylekhs and Hopak.