The Making of a Musical Canon in Chinese Central Asia: The Uyghur Twelve Muqam: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Making of a Musical Canon in Chinese Central Asia: The Uyghur Twelve Muqam

1st Edition

By Rachel Harris


176 pages

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Hardback: 9780754663829
pub: 2008-10-28
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eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315238517
pub: 2016-12-05
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Throughout the course of the twentieth century, as newly formed nations sought ways to develop and formalise their national identity and acquire a range of identifiable national assets, we find new musical canons springing up across the world. But these canons are not arbitrary collections of works imposed on the public by the authorities. Rather they acquire deep resonance and meaning, both as national symbols and as musical repertoires imbued with aesthetic value. This book traces the formation of one such musical canon: the Twelve Muqam, a set of musical suites linked to the Uyghurs, who are one of China's minority nationalities, and culturally Central Asian Muslims. The book draws on Uyghur and Chinese language publications; interviews with musicians and musicologists; field, archive and commercial recordings, and aims towards an understanding of the Twelve Muqam as musical repertoire, juxtaposed with an understanding of the Twelve Muqam as a field of discourse. The book brings together several years' work in this field, but its core arises from a research project under the auspices of the AHRC Centre for Music Performance and Dance.


’… thorough and scholarly… an excellent book and a real contribution to the literature. … I recommend this book strongly to those interested in the Uyghurs and their musical culture, as well as the broader question of ethnic cultures, both in China and the wider world in general. I also strongly recommend the book and the CD to music lovers.’ The China Journal ’… researched extensively…’ Songlines ’This is a book of remarkable appeal to scholars of Central Asian music and anyone with theoretical interests in the formation of musical canons.’ Ethnomusicology '… a valuable contribution to the scholarship on this little-known Central Asian tradition.' Ethnomusicology Forum

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; An overview of Uyghur music; A short history of the canon; Abdullah Mäjnun: muqam expert; Negotiating the canon; Situating the 12 muqam; The impact of canonisation; Endnote; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Rachel Harris is Lecturer in Musicology in the Department of Music, SOAS, UK

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 / General