Hanukka Notebook


An excerpt from the introductory preface to the book by Noa Eshkol

..Tirza presented me with the original material of this publication at the close of the academic year 1986. It represented a summary of her work done both at Karmia and at the Training College. Originally there were two notebooks, one comprised of relatively simple studies for children in the third, fourth and sixth grades; and the other, for adult students. The children’s studies were accompanied by music and words on themes associated with Hanukka. These are reflected in the titles: Maccabee (the heroes), Menorah (the many-branched candlestick), Candle, Pitcher for oil, Light and Fire, and Spinning Top (the traditional plaything for children at

These, however, are depictive and literary associations, and from the movement point of view, the subject does not lie in the names given to the studies but in the concepts of movement involved. These concepts were the subjects of study in movement classes throughout the year – and in some cases, over several years. The versions designed for adult students were taught without music and without any mention of the above associations, purely as studies in movement. On perusal of the booklets, it seemed to me that they could be worked into a single movement notation reader from which teachers and students could derive profit. The way chosen was by the juxtaposition of the children’s and adults’ versions of the studies to facilitate comparison, and by the addition of explanatory notes.

The first part of the book consists of some general notes on EW movement notation. This is followed by the scores: six pairs of movement studies. The first of each pair (version I), is designed for children or beginners. Although music is given, they may be performed with no other accompaniment than a metronome, and this was often the case when they were originally taught. The second version in each pair, for adults (II), has features in common with the first. It is always a more complex variation of the original idea, sometimes more extended – three of the six are double the length of the first versions. In EW notation there are usually two or three valid ways of symbolising a movement, all of which result in the same performance of it. Focussing on one feature or another, each specific symbolic expression sheds a different light on the same event. In view of the similarity of the corresponding versions of the studies, it was worthwhile, for didactic purposes, giving alternative formulations of identical passages.

Each of the six pairs of studies is preceded by elucidatory notes and suggestions for ways of working on the movement material and developing the concepts latent in the work. The aim is to provide hints of a fruitful technique of abstraction and development of themes in the teaching and composition of movement with movement notation. The melodies accompanying the children’s versions of the studies are given, but the Hebrew words are omitted. The handwritten Hebrew titles preserve a little of the authentic notebook style of the original source.

January 1987