1st Edition

Theory and Practice in the Music of the Islamic World Essays in Honour of Owen Wright

Edited By Rachel Harris, Martin Stokes Copyright 2018
    360 Pages
    by Routledge

    360 Pages 63 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume of original essays is dedicated to Owen Wright in recognition of his formative contribution to the study of music in the Islamic Middle East. Wright’s work, which comprises, at the time of writing, six field-defining volumes and countless articles, has reconfigured the relationship between historical musicology and ethnomusicology. No account of the transformation of these fields in recent years can afford to ignore his work. Ranging across the Middle East, Central Asia and North India, this volume brings together historical, philological and ethnographic approaches. The contributors focus on collections of musical notation and song texts, on commercial and ethnographic recordings, on travellers’ reports and descriptions of instruments, on musical institutions and other spaces of musical performance. An introduction provides an overview and critical discussion of Wright’s major publications. The central chapters cover the geographical regions and historical periods addressed in Wright’s publications, with particular emphasis on Ottoman and Timurid legacies. Others discuss music in Greece, Iraq and Iran. Each explores historical continuities and discontinuities, and the constantly changing relationships between music theory and practice. An edited interview with Owen Wright concludes the book and provides a personal assessment of his scholarship and his approach to the history of the music of the Islamic Middle East. Extending the implications of Wright’s own work, this volume argues for an ethnomusicology of the Islamic Middle East in which past and present, text and performance are systematically in dialogue.

    Introduction - Tuning the Past: The Work of Owen Wright

    Martin Stokes

    Part I: Ottoman Legacies

    1 New Light on Cantemir

    Eckhard Neubauer

    2 Towards a New Theory of Historical Change in the Ottoman Instrumental Repertoire

    Jacob Olley

    3 Not Just Any Usul: Semai In Pre-Nineteenth-Century Performance Practice

    Mehmet Uğur Ekinci

    4 Itri’s ‘Nühüft Sakil’ in the Context of Sakil Peşrevs in the Seventeenth Century

    Walter Feldman

    5 Giambattista Toderini and the ‘Musica Turchesca’

    Giovanni De Zorzi

    6 At the House of Kemal: Private musical gatherings of Istanbul from the late Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic

    Panagiotis C. Poulos

    7 Kâr-ı Nev: Elongation and Elaboration in Recordings of a Turkish Classic

    John O’Connell

    8 Measuring intervals between European and ‘Eastern’ musics in the 1920s: The curious case of the panharmonion or ‘Greek organ’

    Eleni Kallimopoulou


    Part II: Historical and theoretical themes in the music of the Islamic world

    9 "Words Without Songs": The social history of Hindustani song collections in India’s Muslim courts c.1770–1830

    Katherine Butler Schofield

    10 The music of the Timurids and its legacy in Afghanistan

    John Baily

    11 Theory and practice in contemporary Central Asian maqām traditions: the Uyghur On Ikki Muqam and the Kashmiri Sūfyāna Musīqī

    Rachel Harris

    12 The Terminology of Vocal Performance in Iranian Khorasan



    Rachel Harris is Reader in the Music of China and Central Asia at SOAS, University of London, UK. Her research interests include global musical flows, identity politics, gender, and ritual practice. She is the author of two books on musical life in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and co-editor of three books. She currently leads an AHRC Research Network and the Leverhulme Research Project ‘Sounding Islam in China’. She is actively engaged with outreach projects relating to Central Asian and Chinese music, including recordings, musical performance, and consultancy.

    Martin Stokes is King Edward Professor of Music at King's College, London, UK. He has taught ethnomusicology at Queen's University Belfast, the University of Chicago, and Oxford. He is the author of The Arabesk Debate: Music and Musicians in Modern Turkey (1992), and The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy and Turkish Popular Music (2010). His edited volumes include Ethnicity, Identity and Music (1994) and (with Karin Van Neiuwkerk and Mark Levine) Islam and Popular Culture (2015).