The story of music told in these pages begins in pre-islamic times with musical forms that bear strong imprints of the Bedouin's tribal way of life. Pre-islamic music can be viewed as the forerunner of the art music that acquired a foot-hold after the advent of Islam. The history of Arab music then became inextricably entwined with the musical traditions of the conquered lands. The merging of diverse forms into an unique common style marked the advent of the Great Musical Tradition that gained favour throughout an extensive geographical area. By the end of Islam's third century, distinct autonomous styles began to appear involving Persians and Turks in particular. Chapters six and seven are devoted to the different local styles. Chapters eight examines the tendency toward reform and modernisation that starts at the nineteenth century. The last four chapters deal with the basic theoretical, formal and technical issues, e.g. scales, modes and rhythms; forms and genres; dance and folk music. This material often supplements the more general information treated in historical context in the first chapters. In conceiving this book we have aspired to portray a comprehensive picture emphasising the how and why, a picture drawn in the light of major historical and cultural events. We have endeavoured to present concepts about music, and conflicting attitudes toward it, as they prevailed in their time. To this end, we have taken fullest advantage of the great number of sources now available. Our overview of the music and musical life of an immense geographical area over a time-span that lasted roughly from the fifth century to our days, attempts to describe outstanding musical events and stylistic developments against the background of major historical and political happenings, and to indicate their relationship to other cultural fields.
Contents: Introduction; Pre-Islamic Music; The Rise of Islam; The First Dynastic Caliphate; Islam and Music; The Science of Music; Decentralisation and Advent of Local Styles; From Constantinople to Kashmir; The Advent of Recent Trends; Scales, Modes, Rhythms; Improvised and Compound Compositions; Dance; Folk Music Traditions; Bibliography; Index.