The history of Arab music (Touma)

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Arabian music, roughly according to Professor Habib Hassan Touma. Note that Touma tends to project Arab ethnicity clearly into the past. Amnon Shiloah's treatment, by contrast, tends to recognize diversity and connection within a broader "Islamicate" (Islamic civilizational) category, subsuming musics of the core (early-Islamized) region, mainly the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Pre-Islamic types in the Arabian jahiliyya: urban and nomadic (ahl al-hadar, bedouin)
    • the qayna as courtesan (like geisha?), in hana or royal palaces. Sinad (complex) and hazaj (simple) songs. Stringed instrument (lute?): mizhar, kiran, muwattar, or sanj. Wind instruments: quassab, mizmar; percussion: duff; jalajil.
    • Beduin song: huda' (camel driver's song) and nasb (individual rider's song, more elaborate)
  • Early Arabian school, in Medina, Damascus
    • Multiple influences of Islam: as moral system, as civilizational catalyst
    • Persian influence (e.g. Nashit)
    • Rise of al-ghina' al-mutqan ("perfect singing") - Tuways, Sa`ib Khathir
    • Rise of Medina as musical center
    • mukhannathun, esp. Tuways (632-710)
    • little systematization of theory (finger modes)
    • some treatises, now lost (e.g. Yunus al-Katib, d. 765)
    • multicultural influences in Arabia
  • New music of Baghdad
    • Persian influence
    • Traditionalists: Ishaq al-Mawsili (767-850), student Ziryab.
    • Modernists: Ibrahim al-Mahdi (779-839)
    • Bayt al-Hikma produced music treatises translated from the Greek.
    • Appearance of new scholarly music treatises in Arabic.
      • Systematic scientific and philosophical music theory (e.g. Abu Nasr Muhammad al-Farabi (b. c 872): Kitab al-Musiqa al-Kabir); strongly influenced by Greek music theory.
      • Ethnographic and historical compendia (e.g. Abu Faraj al-Isfahani (d. 967): Kitab al-Aghani al-Kabir)
  • Music of Andalusia
    • Ziryab flees Ishaq's jealousy, lands in Cordoba (Umayyad Spain) in 822, develops new musical system (24 nawba)
    • Transfer to North African art musics (Ala, nawba, san`a, ma'luf)
  • Decline of Arab music: 13th to 19th c
  • 19th c awakening and liberation (nahda)
    • Tarab
    • Takht
    • Turkish and Persian influence
    • Varied traditions (North Africa, Levant, Egypt, Iraq, Arabia)
    • New theory (Mikha'il Mishaqah
  • 20th c decline (westernization, globalization)