1st Edition

The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus

By Dwight Reynolds Copyright 2021
    272 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus is a critical account of the history of Andalusian music in Iberia from the Islamic conquest of 711 to the final expulsion of the Moriscos (Spanish Muslims converted to Christianity) in the early 17th century. This volume presents the documentation that has come down to us, accompanied by critical and detailed analyses of the sources written in Arabic, Old Catalan, Castilian, Hebrew, and Latin. It is also informed by research the author has conducted on modern Andalusian musical traditions in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

    While the cultural achievements of medieval Muslim Spain have been the topic of a large number of scholarly and popular publications in recent decades, what may arguably be its most enduring contribution – music – has been almost entirely neglected. The overarching purpose of this work is to elucidate as clearly as possible the many different types of musical interactions that took place in medieval Iberia and the complexity of the various borrowings, adaptations, hybridizations, and appropriations involved.

    Section One: Music in Iberia and the Mashriq up to 711

    Chapter 1 – Music in Iberia to 711

    Chapter 2 – Arab music to 711

    Section Two: Andalusi Music to the Fall of the Umayyad Caliphate, 7111031

    Chapter 3 – From the conquest to the reign of ‘Abd al-Raḥmān II, 711–822

    Chapter 4 – ‘Abd al-Raḥmān II and Ziryāb, 822–852

    Chapter 5 – The final years of the Caliphate, 858–1031

    Section Three: Music in the Medieval Mediterranean

    Chapter 6 – Instrumentarium

    Chapter 7 – Music Theory and Performance Practices  

    Section Four: The Musical Revolution in al-Andalus

    Chapter 8 – From Ṣawt to Muwashshaḥ

    Chapter 9 – Hebrew Muwashshaḥāt

    Section Five: Post-Umayyad Iberia (11th17th c.)

    Chapter 10 – The Era of the "Petty Kings," Almoravids, and Almohads (11th–12th c.)

    Chapter 11 – The Age of Minstrels (13th –15th c.)

    Chapter 12 – Music of the Moriscos (16th–17th c.)



    Dwight F. Reynolds is Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of numerous publications, including the co-editorship of our own award-winning The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 6: The Middle East, published in 2002, with Virginia Danielson and Scott Marcus.


    (American Historical Association)

    "At once technical and accessible, Dwight F. Reynolds’s The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus was the unanimous selection out of a strong field of entries for the 2022 Premio del Rey. Reynolds judiciously teases out the elusive history of music from the time of the Islamic conquest of Iberia through the Morisco era, touching on matters as diverse as instrumentation, theory, lyric, and performance among the traditions of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Iberia and the Mediterranean world."


    (American Musicological Society)

    “. . . The twelve chapters of The Musical Heritage of al-Andalus track the pernicious politics of “influence”; interreligious and intercultural negotiations beyond the traditional, narrow tripartition of Muslims, Christians, and Jews; gender roles and sexual identities; the development of “revolutionary” Arabic and Hebrew lyric genres in Iberia; and the complex intertwining of social status, ethnicity, enslavement, and music professionalization (alongside much more). . . Reynolds makes accessible a rich body of work that may be unfamiliar to the wider readership that the book invites, and offers compelling new arguments for specialized readers. This magisterial monograph promises to invigorate new generations of scholars and scholarship on the music of al-Andalus.”

    "Although the author specifies that he chose not to title his book as a history of the music of al-Andalus, the wealth of details and historical information drawn from numerous sources is remarkable and concerns the period from the Islamic conquest and the creation of the Umayyad Caliphate of the eighth century to the definitive expulsion of the moriscos of the early seventeenth century."
    -Paolo Scarnecchia, Radiotelevisione svizzera

    "In conclusion, the volume, presented online by the author through a dialogue with Debra Blumenthal available on the Youtube channel of the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, represents an updated picture of the state of studies on the music of al-Andalus and offers a detailed historical view of its flowering, thanks also to the presence of texts from primary sources that have been translated for the first time." - Paolo Scarnecchia, gdm