Music Theory in the Safavid Era: The taqsīm al-naġamāt, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Music Theory in the Safavid Era

The taqsīm al-naġamāt, 1st Edition

By Owen Wright


436 pages | 231 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138062436
pub: 2018-10-15
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315161624
pub: 2018-10-25
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The Safavid era (1501–1722) is one of the most important in the history of Persian culture, celebrated especially for its architecture and art, including miniature paintings that frequently represent singers and instrumentalists. Their presence reflects a sophisticated tradition of music making that was an integral part of court life, yet it is one that remains little known, for the musicological literature of the period is rather thin. There is, however, a significant exception: the text presented and analysed here, a hitherto unpublished and anonymous theoretical work probably of the middle of the sixteenth century. With a Sufi background inspiring the use of the nay as a tool of theoretical demonstration, it is exceptional in presenting descriptive accounts of the modes then in use and suggesting how these might be arranged in complex sequences. As it also gives an account of the corpus of rhythmic cycles it provides a unique insight into the basic structures of art-music during the first century of Safavid rule.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Fragments

3. Modes

4. Combinations

5. Retrospect 1

6. Conclusions

7. Rhythm

8. Retrospect 2

9. Prospect 1

10. Formal interlude

11. Prospect 2

12. Text

13. Bibliography

About the Author

Owen Wright is Emeritus Professor of Musicology of the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

About the Series

SOAS Studies in Music Series

SOAS Musicology Series is today one of the world’s leading series in the discipline of ethnomusicology. Our core mission is to produce high-quality, ethnographically rich studies of music-making in the world’s diverse musical cultures. We publish monographs and edited volumes that explore musical repertories and performance practice, critical issues in ethnomusicology, sound studies, historical and analytical approaches to music across the globe. We recognize the value of applied, interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and our authors draw on current approaches in musicology and anthropology, psychology, media and gender studies. We welcome monographs that investigate global contemporary, classical and popular musics, the effects of digital mediation and transnational flows.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology