“Klezmer Duets” by Deborah Strauss and Alan Bern is an ideal introduction to this traditional music. Although the clarinet is now associated with klezmer music, the violin was actually used centuries before the clarinet was even invented. Over that time, violinists developed special techniques of bowing, articulation, ornamentation, phrasing and timing to express the nuances of the music. These nuances cannot exactly be written down in standard notation and klezmer can be thought of as a kind of semi-improvised music. In their arrangements, Strauss and Bern have offered one way of playing each piece, not a definitive way.
An appendix explains the way these variations and ornamentations can be applied to the bare bones of other pieces; another appendix gives help to the accordion player. The authors have also provided free articles and videos online to assist the players further.
Treat this book as a stepping off point to explore this evocative music; it’s a gateway to the amazing world of klezmer music!