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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1127: Music across the Mediterranean - From Persia to Al-Andalus, II: The Music of Islam between Language, Rapture, and the Divine

Wednesday 12 July 2006, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Centre for Mediterranean Studies, University of Leeds / Society for the Medieval Mediterranean
Organiser:Gerald Crowson, Society for the Medieval Mediterranean, Norwich
Moderator/Chair:Richard Rastall, School of Music, University of Leeds
Paper 1127-aThe Origin of Language and its Link with Music according to the Theory of Jabir ibn Hayyan
(Language: English)
Amnon Shiloah, Department of Musicology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Music
Paper 1127-bMusical Instruments as Objects of Medieval Arabic 'Descriptive' Poetry
(Language: English)
Yaron Klein, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Harvard University
Paper 1127-cMusic and Mysticism: A Turkish Perspective
(Language: English)
Latif Bolat, Independent Scholar, Turkey
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Music
Paper 1127-dThe Origin and Formation of Gnawa Spiritual Music
(Language: English)
Chouki El Hamel, Department of History, Arizona State University
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Music

This session will show the links between language and music according to theories of the early Arabic alchemists, and will demonstrate the power of language and the music of Islam to produce strong emotions in the human mind.

Abstract paper -b: Descriptive poetry (waṣf) is one of the most creative genres in medieval Arabic poetry. The poems take as their objects a variety of themes from both nature and urban life. The 'descriptions' go far beyond the enumeration of the physical qualities of the objects described. They provide an opportunity for the poet to reflect on the nature of the objects described in a way that transcends the ordinary and the apparent.
In my paper I will examine descriptions of musical instruments in medieval Arabic descriptive poetry, and look into some of the questions these poems address. I would like to explore the idea that the musical instrument becomes a 'meaningful object' not only through the sounds it produces, but also through a participation in a complex social and cultural discourse, which includes, among others, literary texts. Descriptive poetry does not only reflect upon the nature of musical instruments, but also takes part in a process in which the musical instrument is constituted as a meaningful object invested with meanings.