Theory and Practice in the Music of the Islamic World: Essays in Honour of Owen Wright, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Theory and Practice in the Music of the Islamic World

Essays in Honour of Owen Wright, 1st Edition

Edited by Rachel Harris, Martin Stokes


322 pages | 63 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138218314
pub: 2017-11-20
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pub: 2017-11-20
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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.

Table of Contents

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

Stephen Blum

13 Whispering to God: Monājāt in Khorasan

Ameneh Youssefzadeh

14 Between Formal Structure and Performance Practice: On the Baghdadi Secular Cycles

Scheherezade Hassan

15 Al-Farabi's Qanun: A Re-Exposition of Ptolemy's Kanon as a Didactic Instrument for the Tone System

George Sawa

Postlude - Conversation with Owen Wright

Rachel Harris


Owen Wright: Full Bibliography


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
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology