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The Music RoadCoherence and Diversity in Music from the Mediterranean to India$

Reinhard Strohm

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266564

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266564.001.0001

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The Middle East in Music History: An Ethnomusicological Perspective

The Middle East in Music History: An Ethnomusicological Perspective

(p.21) 2 The Middle East in Music History: An Ethnomusicological Perspective
The Music Road

Martin Stokes

British Academy

Abstract and Keywords

A glance at the ethnomusicology of the Muslim-majority Middle East might suggest it is peculiarly exposed to historiographical problems now familiar thanks to decades of orientalism critique. Namely, that music is understood in this part of the world via a peculiarly objectivising colonial ethnography, that it is understood in ways that deny its historical circumstances, and that it is subject to a relentless aestheticisation, which is to say, treated in analogous way to the Islamic art objects and miniatures ripped out of context and put on display in the museums of the western metropolis. The history of ethnomusicology suggests a long line of exceptions to this ‘rule’. The chapter explores the work of Villoteau, Lachmann and more recent work in and around sound archives asking to what extent we might see this work prefiguring recognisably modern and critical dispositions towards ethnography.

Keywords:   Middle East, ethnography, Villoteau, Lachmann, ethnographic sound recordings

A SUPERFICIAL GLANCE at the ethnomusicology of the Muslim-majority Middle East might suggest it is peculiarly exposed to historiographical problems now familiar thanks to decades of orientalism critique.1 Namely, that music is understood in this part of the world via a peculiarly objectivising colonial ethnography, that it is understood in ways that deny its historical circumstances and that it is subject to a relentless aestheticisation, which is to say, treated in analogous way to the Islamic art objects and miniatures ripped out of context and put on display in the museums of the Western metropolis. Evidence of this could certainly be found, drawing, selectively, on the work of British, French, German and American scholars, and going back to Napoleonic times or earlier (to projects that might now be labelled ‘protoethnomusicology’) and extending to the ‘War on Terror’ of recent years. And it could be adduced merely by the fact that we still do speak of an ethnomusicology of something called ‘the Middle East’, an area studies category reflecting northern European and North American geo-strategic interests and little more.2

(p.22) It would not, though, be the whole picture. Indeed, it is the exceptions to this ‘rule’ that are now striking. Consider, for example, Guillaume André Villoteau’s study of Egyptian music, conducted during the Napoleonic expedition of 1798, or Robert Lachmann’s study of Jewish music on the Tunisian island of Djerba, for example.3 The writing of both Villoteau and Lachmann clearly enshrined recognisably modern epistemological drives—in their quest for the rules and regularities that governed practice, in efforts to locate such rules and regularities in broader fields of history and material culture, in the disciplining of ear and eye in the observation of practice. Such epistemologies are clearly linked to colonialism.4 And yet, contemporary scholarship on them would now seem to suggest they questioned them, too. Indeed, such scholarship would suggest that their questions embraced recognisably modern elements of ‘reflexivity’ and ‘critique’.5

The history of a modern ethnomusicology in the Middle East would also be hard to imagine without considering the history of sound recording in (and of) the region. Benjamin Gilman’s recordings of the Ottoman troupe at the Chicago (p.23) Columbia exhibition of 1893 were, after all, amongst the very first ethnographic sound recordings. The history of sound recordings has been entangled from the outset with an objectivising scientism, associated in particular with the Berlin School of comparative musicology.6 It has also, one might argue, been entangled with the Western market for exotica, and with an exploitative sonic aestheticism.7 Here, too, distinctly modern disciplinary practices and technologies might come to be seen in a particularly compromising light when considered in the Middle Eastern context. There is less contemporary work on this history of sound recording in the Middle East. But a brief reflection on it, which I will ofer below, suggests that, from an ethnographic perspective, important critical practices have taken shape here too.

Given what we have come to know from the long-standing critique of orientalism, a preliminary question arises of how such critical practices might have been possible at all. Or, to put it slightly diferently, why it is that we now choose to see them as such. Thinking through this question today, I would suggest that we would need to steer carefully between two well-known positions. One is Said’s argument that the West’s eforts to know the East will always be locked into a power relationship that distorts and mystifies. The other is Bohlman’s argument about the more or less continuous practices of ‘cultural critique’ that have taken shape in modern ethnomusicology’s history—a continuity that has to do with the sustained use of the Other to critique or destabilise the established practices of ‘the West’. This chapter approaches the problem, and the potentially dichotomous nature of a Saidean/Bohlmanian response, from the point of view of a rather more narrow disciplinary account of the area.

Such an account is necessarily more limited in its claims. But it helps identify, I believe, some rather specific modes of historicism, some rather specific ways of imagining music history outside the West. These have, in my view, been various, and rather discontinuous. They have not all fed inexorably and inevitably into modern practices of cultural critique. And they have certainly not made something called ‘Middle Eastern ethnomusicology’ uniquely critical. But they do point to rather more open-ended and complex ways of imagining relationships between music history and music ethnography than we usually allow, particularly in the wake of the orientalism debates.8

(p.24) Villoteau in Egypt

Guillaume André Villoteau (1759–1839) is usually described as a ‘proto-ethnomusicologist’, with relatively little explanation about what this designation might say about how we imagine the history of our field. Others, earlier, might equally plausibly be put forward. Modern ethnomusicology’s key intellectual arguments might be associated more directly, and more usefully, for instance, with Rousseau. In his musing on the Swiss mercenaries’ singing of Ranz des Vaches in the Essai sur Les Origines des Langues, Rousseau posited something we might now call ‘cultural relativism’—the observation that music means diferent things to diferent people, and has its diferent emotional efects, as a consequence of cultural training and conditioning. If anything marks Villoteau out as a ‘proto-ethnomusicologist’, or even ‘the first ethnomusicologist’ in conventional accounts, though, it would not so much be his ideas as his methods: empirical, observational, transcriptional, systematic, oriented towards local meanings, local histories, local practices and local informants. His three-volume contribution to the two editions of the Napoleonic expedition, a contribution that sprawls over 500 pages, is a tour de force: capacious, lavishly illustrated, erudite and full of poised and occasionally wildly stylish passages, still great to read. Fétis celebrated it, even though, famously, he reworked Villoteau’s transcriptions to get rid of exactly what we would now single out for particular praise—Villoteau’s use of his own signs and symbols (half flats, half sharps and various annotations and verbal explanations) to transcribe the nondiatonic aspects of Arab musical modes.9

It was also a piece of work conducted under conditions of conquest and occupation. The (failed) Napoleonic expedition of 1798–1801 set the pattern for French colonial ventures in North Africa. It continues to reverberate, traumatically. The chaos and violence of these years impacted directly on Villoteau’s research, as Ruth Rosenberg shows in a recent book.10 The muezzins and imams were suspected of inciting insurrection, for example. Many fled Cairo during the occupation, making the transcription of calls to prayer, and the observation of the religious music of the Muslim population, dificult. Military occupation also imposed limitations on communication with the awalim and ghawazee, the courtesans and female musicians, bearers of much of the Muslim population’s popular culture. Many of these musicians had also left the city, either fearing for their safety or, perhaps, just following their patrons. The generous space given over in Villoteau’s volumes to the ‘minorities’—the Greeks, the Jews, the Copts, the Armenians and the ethnic groups located in the south of the country—also testifies to the dificulties he faced in interacting with the majority Arab Muslim population. Villoteau was fully aware of the problem, as Rosenberg points out.

(p.25) As Rosenberg also shows, Villoteau had his own problems to contend with. He had had a musical training as a chorister at Le Mans, then a military career with the dragoons, and then, again, a career as a church musician at La Rochelle, at this point taking holy orders. With the revolution he became choir director at the Paris Opera. He took a position on the Napoleonic expedition very late in the day, when the person appointed turned his role down. Already somewhat marginal to the expedition, and to work that involved the more obviously visible, and visual, labours of epigraphy, cartography and archaeology, Villoteau had the task of describing musical life, and dealing, as mentioned, with elusive musicians, unfamiliar musical instruments and unwritten musical systems unknown to the West. In addition, he was afflicted by blindness, contracting ophthalmia on a journey up the Nile, a condition that alienated him further from the work of his colleagues and that can scarcely have helped with his.

The combination of biography and health clearly put Villoteau at an odd, and questioning, angle to the expedition as a whole, and to the ocular-centric epistemology of the Napoleonic savants, from the outset. He was, as Rosenberg shows, unusually preoccupied with the question of what ear and eye might, legitimately, and contrastively, come to know. Reliance on the ear, Rosenberg implies, drove his restless sense of methodological innovation and reflexivity. It was not enough to describe what he had come to learn, since it rested on (for him) such shaky and problematic foundations.11 He seemed compelled to talk through the process, indeed to account for the struggle by which he had come to whatever provisional state of knowledge he had arrived at. Rosenberg aptly characterises this struggle as a conflict between knowing music with the eye and knowing it with the ear. Transcription—of music, of interviews with recognised authorities and in the broader sense of representing the construction of Egyptian instruments graphically—was always the overt goal, and the ground on which Villoteau’s account seems most comfortable. But listening, and the problems of listening, would always interrupt. He most certainly did not like what he heard. A celebrated passage describing the—for Villoteau—‘ear-lacerating’ properties of Coptic chant, properties it shared with all Egyptian singing, encapsulates an almost visceral revulsion, an embarrassment at an emotionality which he often found comic, a bewilderment at the relentlessly astringent and repetitive nature of almost all of the music he heard in Cairo.12 Music was fine when engaged with through the relatively peaceful (p.26) process of reflecting on ancient manuscripts, constructing hypothetical transposition tables for modes (maqam-s),13 talking to articulate interlocutors or measuring instruments. Ethnographically speaking, listening to it was where the problems started.

Villoteau undoubtedly had difficulty containing an impulse to mock what he heard, and to mock in harsh and extravagant language. But this mockery might also be read as a way of presenting the nature and extent of the methodological challenges he faced to his reader—a way of dramatising, perhaps, the measured thinking required of the man of science when confronted by such complexity. He pressed with his questions. He had his interlocutor explain, repeat and contextualise; he would transcribe and sing back his transcriptions; he would then use this method to identify where there was misunderstanding or miscommunication on both sides. Even if his interlocutors were scarcely aware of it themselves, they were, according to Villoteau, the inheritors of rich ancient Greek and Indic systems of knowledge, systems embedded in their everyday musical practice, in their instruments and in what they had to say about these systems, rudimentary though this might be. And however rudimentary, Villoteau was also capable of realising that in key respects, his own understanding was even more so. The repetitive quality of the singing of the alatyeh (professional entertainment musicians) might at first have appeared to him to be tedious, but the art, he came to realise, lay in what he called ‘the ornamentation’, and this operated at a level of detail and intricacy that posed serious challenges to his ability to transcribe, and thus conceptualise.14 He would need to learn to rely on his informants, cultivating relationships with them, entering into dialogue with them.15

The Napoleonic expedition produced, then, a musical ethnography that embraced many of the properties of what we might now describe as a critical ethnographic practice post ‘Writing Culture’; reflexivity, recognition of the dynamics of the colonial encounter, experimental writing and transcription, dialogism.16 The world, as Timothy Mitchell remarks, was shortly to become ‘exhibition’, and the worlds of Others would, in the process, lose much of their power to provoke suchprotracted (p.27) feats of self-questioning. Fétis’s retranscription of Villoteau’s transcriptions without the non-diatonic intervals Villoteau thoughtfully supplied emblematises the process by which Otherness would come to be domesticated. But musical ethnography would be pushed in diferent directions by new research technologies—specifically the phonograph—and thus, once again, allow the non-West to provoke radical questions about the West itself.

Between Djerba and Jerusalem…

The career of Robert Lachmann (1892–1939) was intimately associated with the Berlin Phonogramme Archiv, which was quickly to become the pre-eminent archive of ethnographic recordings. It was initiated, as is well known, by Carl Stumpf in 1900. Erich von Hornbostel became its first director in 1905, in a period in which it was under the auspices of the Institute for Psychology at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin. Growing alongside an emerging vergleichende musikwissenschaft paradigm, the collection also served an emerging psychology school heavily invested in the study of perception. Recorded music from around the world was understood as an important source of hard data that would illuminate important questions about the senses, cognition and perception.17

Lachmann trained as an Arabist in Berlin and London. During the First World War, he became an interpreter at the Wünsdorf prisoner-of-war camp, translating for the North African detainees. After, he studied music at Berlin with Johannes Wolf and Carl Stumpf. He completed a dissertation on Tunisian urban music in 1922, one that had its seeds in the music he had recorded and transcribed in Wünsdorf. The network of archives made possible a kind of ethnography that was oriented both to questions of a psychological nature (for instance, how can we explain the broader phenomena of musical consonance, or dissonance?), and to historical questions—how instruments and tone systems might be understood to have circulated, and with what consequences for our understanding of music history. A conventional understanding of this ethnographic paradigm, from the highly critical vantage point of a post-1950s ethnomusicology, was that the materials at hand were usually taken, perhaps violently, out of context, separating sounds and musical instruments from the human subjects who produced and played them. The questions asked of such materials tended to both reflect and serve Western habits of ordering and ranking other societies. A later ethnomusicology would abandon comparativism and become deeply suspicious of historical explanation. Others were to be known and understood primarily in the terms their own, living, cultures supplied. Anything that suggested they were museum exhibits, or stages in the grand narrative of Western (p.28) progress, was expunged from the discipline. So, at least, the conventional narrative goes.

Lachmann has repeatedly been ‘rescued’ from this narrative.18 The conditions of this rescue have varied, however. In my own training he was, for instance, the exception that proved the rule—the person one might still, in the era of modern ethnography, legitimately read and learn from, and thereby ignore his contemporaries.19 More recently, he would appear to be emerging as the exception that questions the norm, and not just the norm of his own time, but ours as well. Ethnomusicology today is receptive to psychology, to big data, to analysis and to global theorising. Arguments abound that the Berlin legacy is ready for a re-evaluation and retooling with today’s intellectual projects—projects of this nature—in mind.20 As I have suggested elsewhere, Lachmann occupies an ambiguous position in this climate of revisionism.21 We do not, for instance, remember Lachmann for his global theorising, his pursuit of psychological or analytical questions on the large scale. Rather, in the light of work by Bohlman, Katz, Davis and others, we remember him as a sensitive, highly astute and historically inclined ethnographer of the extremely small scale. There is, in this picture of Lachmann, an implicit critique of (some) modern ethnomusicology’s big data, psychologising proclivities.

His Jewish Cantillation and Song in the Isle of Djerba of 1940, for example, continues to be recognised as a classic of modern ethnography.22 It was based on field research on the island of Djerba, part of modern-day Tunisia, in 1929. Lachmann had little, other than his knowledge of the Tunisian urban tradition, to help him tease apart the dense layers of music history in this tiny Jewish community. He needed to distinguish the music practised by men and women, which seemed to him to exist in completely diferent spheres, and he needed to distinguish the music which derived from urban Tunisian art music from the Jewish ritual practices on Djerba. For each of these he was able to construct a picture of the circulation of (p.29) styles and repertories, furnishing a picture of a complex insular musical system. What remains of value for today’s reader I would suggest, is a patient and precise style of analysis, talking through his methods reflexively as he made his way in a community that had nothing in the way of writing on their own musical traditions and little in the way of talking about them.

In his later work this tendency towards miniaturism deepened. Between 1927 and 1933 Lachmann worked for the Berlin State Library, and founded the Society for the Research of Oriental Music, editing its quarterly journal, the Zeitschrift für vergleichende Musikwissenschaft for three years. In 1935 he was fired from his post in the library and emigrated to Jerusalem. Despite struggling to find a job, he completed a series of ‘Oriental Music Broadcasts’ for the Palestine Broadcasting Service.23 These took the form of ten lectures, densely accompanied by ethnographic recordings of his own, or made by others. Each takes a musical culture in Mandate Palestine, and deals, accordingly, with a technical problem of explanation, analysis or historical contextualisation. Each revolves around a case study indicating the patchwork of musical cultures—local and immigrant—that seemed to Lachmann to be thriving in Mandate Palestine, and to provide him with laboratory conditions for thinking about continuity and change. He refrains from historical judgement, or assumptions about where things might, musically speaking, end up. Even where, as in the lecture on Bedouin rebaba playing, he reflects on long-necked bowed lute fingerings—a comparative topic that pushed Weber, in a once-influential study, to see movement towards autonomous and ‘rational’ tonal design as a historical inevitability—he holds back. Rather, the matter sparks a much more cautious and technically detailed commentary, connecting the rebaba with the Balkan gusle, and thereby reflection on how we might understand connections between singing, playing and instrument construction. The ambiguity of Lachmann’s position lies, then, in the fact that he is rather hard to connect with what some ethnomusicologists, now, would seem to wish to make of the Berlin School’s legacy, namely science, psychology, big data, analysis and large-scale comparativism. He was, by contrast, something of a minimalist, most at home, and most creative, when reflecting on fragments, on worlds in miniature.

Readers today locate in Lachmann a kind of ‘alternative Berlin’, to which a distinct pathos is attached. He died in 1939, having failed to land a job at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His musical picture of Mandate Palestine, one in which Arabic speakers, Samaritans, Yemenite, Kurdish and Moroccan Jews, Bedouins and Coptic Christians all had a place, might be said to have sufered a similar fate. And his vision of historical connections across the map of Europe, the Mediterranean and today’s Middle East—an expansive vision that underwrote his highly detailed, highly localised style of ethnography—might be added to the list. A picture of the Mediterranean from Djerba today would have to take in overloaded boatloads of migrants and refugees, scarcely afloat, if not actually drowning, (p.30) not at all far from this stretch of the Tunisian coastline. The Palestine–Israel issue continues to be intractable.

The pathos of the Lachmann project has certainly not been lost on Palestinian artist Jumana Manna, who engages it directly in A Magical Substance Flows into Me, an installation originally assembled at the Chisenhale Gallery in London in 2015. It comprised a film based on Lachmann’s musical project, projected amongst sculptures. In the film, Manna revisits the communities that Lachmann studied, playing back his recording, making and adding her own to the mix, weaving into the film reflections and songs from her own family members. As the programme notes explain, the film ‘dissembles false binaries and puts into doubt the logic of partition and segregation, and their colonial discourses. Manna asks, instead, to address the question of Palestine through the lens of 1948 and its consequences, while calling for a multifaceted Palestine, reimagined through the possibilities of sound and listening’ (installation catalogue notes, 2015). The film engages, fairly directly, the pathos of the Lachmann project as seen, in my view, by dissenting ethnomusicologists today. The sculptures, meanwhile, introduce a dissonant note. Stationary and silent, while the film vibrates with colour and sound, connectivity and identity-making, the sculptures suggest relics—cold, dirty, broken and ignored. Those experiencing the installation will find themselves, as I did, uneasily suspended between contrasting visions of Palestinian belonging in Jerusalem today.

We have, then, two diferent pictures of ethnography forged under colonial conditions, Villoteau in Egypt and Lachmann in Mandate Palestine, both of significance, in their somewhat diferent ways, to modern ethnomusicology. Villoteau and Lachmann might be read as case studies in how colonialism both forms and deforms ethnography and gives shape to the problems we seemed to start to see clearly in the 1970s: a detemporalising and dehistoricising of Others, an aetheticisation of Otherness and a scientific objectivism that both masked and concealed them. But, I have suggested, Villoteau and Lachmann can be read otherwise. We could choose to see, instead, and with equal justification, reflexivity, experimentalism and a critical historicism. A different question starts to take shape, then: do we see the particular circumstances of Europe’s extremely violent and exploitative relationship with the Middle East as having been, somehow, constitutive of, or a contributory factor to this critical experimentalism? Or do we regard Villoteau and Lachmann as exceptions to some kind of Saidean ‘rule’? The second would require, firstly, acknowledging the Saidean ‘rule’, and then having to explain how exceptions come to float above it. Much worth taking seriously has been written about the significant dificulties of this, second, picture. The first, then, would seem to be the more productive line of argument.

On the Way to Bahrain…

Before considering it further, let us take one more example, often neglected, but as constitutive of Middle Eastern music ethnography as written scholarship: (p.31) ethnographic sound recording. The first thing that would have to be said is that, from the point of view of orientalism critique, it did not have an auspicious start. Benjamin Gilman recorded music from the Fijian, Samoan, Wallis Island, Javanese, Sundanese and ‘Turkish’ (i.e. Ottoman) exhibits at the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893. These are probably the first sound ethnographic sound recordings of Middle Eastern musicians.24 The ‘Ottoman’ recordings comprised recordings supplied by entertainers in travelling theatrical troupes from the Arabic- and Kurdish-speaking parts of the empire, not Turkish. Ottoman oficialdom would seem to have been embarrassed by what these troupes revealed about their sprawling, cosmopolitan polity.25 We also know that the female singers and dancers in these troupes proved extremely popular amongst the Midway crowds—a further cause, no doubt, of official Ottoman unease. The recordings are dificult to listen to, and remain hard to identify. But we hear, through the dense fog of crackles, something resembling fragments of muwashshah and dawr, genres that would constitute the main forms of commercially recorded popular music in Egypt and the Levant only a few years later. We also hear the sounds of instruments played individually, their open strings sounded so listeners could form some understanding of the instruments themselves. The scientific intent of these recordings is unmistakable. And yet they were recorded at the heart of an institution framing the non-Western world as an exhibit, for paying customers, whose primary function was to assert the progress and superiority of the dominant colonial powers.

It is a commonplace of ethnomusicological critique that ‘World Music’—understood as the Western consumption of non-Western recorded sounds in blended, hybridised or sampled forms—maintained many of the core structures of Mitchell’s ‘world as exhibition’,26 a world intended to underscore this very sense of progress and superiority. Middle Eastern music figures in this critique, once again, as early and egregious examples. Brian Eno and David Byrne’s album, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a World Music classic released in 1981, provides a telling, and anxious, case study.27 It involved the conspicuous use of three ethnographic recordings from the Middle East, one a recording of Algerian Qur’anic recitation, which featured (p.32) on a track called ‘Quran’, the other two recordings of a Lebanese vocalist, Dunya Yasin, which featured on ‘Regiment’ and ‘The Carrier’. ‘Quran’ was withdrawn on subsequent releases for reasons that are not fully clear, but possibly connected with anxieties surrounding the Rushdie afair. ‘Regiment’, on the other hand, became one of the best-known tracks on the album. Eno was particularly proud of it, and it was probably a significant generator of revenue.28

The samples came from Poul Rovsing Olsen and Jean Jenkins’s The Human Voice in the World of Islam, a compilation of ethnographic recordings released by Tangent in 1976. American-born Jenkins (1922–90) was the keeper of instruments at the Horniman Museum in London. She curated an exhibition called Music and Musical Instruments in the World of Islam in 1976. She left the Horniman in 1978, after which she worked freelance in Edinburgh, France and Germany, reliant, amongst other things, on her recording royalties. Olsen (1922–82) was a Danish ethnomusicologist, folklorist and composer, who had studied with Boulanger and Messiaen in Paris. He returned to work at the Danish Folklore Archives and to teach at the University of Copenhagen. As an ethnomusicologist he researched music in Greenland and in the Arabian Gulf. It was on his way to a field trip in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in 1972 that he made the recording of Dunya Yasin singing ‘Abu Zeluf’ that provided the sample at the heart of the track ‘Regiment’ on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Between 1977 and 1982, after Jenkins had left her post at Edinburgh and was freelancing, and during the period in which Eno and Byrne released their album, he was President of the ICTM—an established career academic, in other words.

According to the practice of the time, ethnographic recordings were considered to be the property of those who had made them. It remains unclear, though, how Tangent acquired the recordings for The Human Voice in the World of Islam, given that ‘Abu Zeluf’ was under the custodianship of the Danish Folklore Archives, and how Eno and Byrne subsequently appropriated them from Tangent for use on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Feld and Kirkegaard unearth a significant correspondence, which fills in various gaps in the story, but raises uncomfortable questions. The story, as artfully told by Feld and Kirkegaard, is one of ambiguities and evasions on the part of all of the major actors—ambiguities and evasions that ultimately rest, as they show, on highly paternalistic views of the Arab world, and of Arab women in particular. Olsen worried about what appropriations such as Eno and Byrne’s might ultimately mean for ‘traditional music’. In a paper written shortly before his death for UNESCO on ‘Safeguarding of Folklore’, held in Paris in 1982, he observed that he would

consider it one of the tragedies of the world if in a near future everywhere you would be obliged to listen to a variation of a cocktail of Anglo-Saxon and Latin American popular music, and most sincerely I hope that at least the so-called classical musics (p.33) of Asia, of Europe, and of other parts of the globe be able to resist the undermining process going on everywhere these days.29

He also worried about Dunya Yasin’s father’s feelings, and the risks to her reputation if he had pushed on the matter of remuneration or extending rights to her own recording. In a 1985 interview cited in Feld and Kirkegaard’s article, Eno bizarrely picked up on the question of women in a patriarchal world, wondering whether, if he were to publicise the matter (i.e. his use of the Dunya Yasin recordings) further, ‘her father would want to shoot [him] …’. Feld and Kirkegaard find this evocation of the ‘honour and shame’ paradigm to argue that there was, on balance, ‘no harm’ in ‘borrowing’ Dunya Yasin’s voice ‘deeply inflammatory’.

Schizophonic anxieties run high in the Middle East, then. Concerns about objectivising, aestheticising and wresting sonic objects violently out of context have hovered in the background. It has taken little, amongst a generation of scholars and artists in the West who have witnessed Western-abetted disasters unfold in the course of a few decades in Lebanon, Israel–Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, for these anxieties to move to the fore. This tells us something about how the Dunya Yasin case became, in rather diferent ways, ‘an issue’ for Olsen, Jenkins, Eno, Feld and Kirkegaard. It also says something about why sound recordings have played a relatively small part in the development of the field of modern Middle Eastern ethnomusicological study. The sound archives have, for the most part, gathered dust in private collections. Access to key archives such as the 1932 Cairo Congress recordings for everyday scholarly purposes has had to wait until the era of digitisation. Only in France has recording, and knowledge of the sound archives, been important to the field of regional ethnographic knowledge production.30 If The Human Voice in the World of Islam has been an exception, in its significance to scholarship, pedagogy, artistic experimentation, and in the fact that it has circulated in public soundworlds (via Eno and Byrne’s album into the world of documentary film soundtracks, for instance), it is an exception that would appear to demonstrate the rule. Ethnographic sound recordings in and of the Middle East have, it would seem, done much more to feed Western orientalist fantasy than to contribute to the world of critical ethnomusicological scholarship.

This would, however, be to overlook one of the more remarkable developments in the field in recent years. The AMAR Foundation (Foundation for Arab Music Archiving and Research), located in the village of Qurnet al-Hamra on the mountainside near Beirut, began digitising the private collection of Nahda-era early commercial recordings owned by Kamal Kassar, a London-based Lebanese lawyer. This already-huge collection was greatly boosted by his acquisition of the Annabi (p.34) Arab Music Collection, one of the largest in Egypt, in 2009. The Foundation’s interests, to quote from its mission statement, lie in

voices that were overshadowed by the overwhelming popularity of Umm Kulthum, such as Fathiya Ahmad, Marie Jubran, Nadra Amîn and Laure Daccache … forgotten great masters such as Mohyi al-dîn Ba’Ayûn, Mitri al Murr, Mohammed al-̕Ashiq and Muhammed al-Qubbanjî … the studio recordings or live concerts of stars such as Saleh ̕Abd al-Hay, ‘Abbas Al-billîdî and Mohammad Khairy … the unknown heritage of Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, the Gulf and the Maghreb … the heritage of the Syriac, Kurdish, Coptic and other local ethnic groups that are part of the Arab world … the living tradition of the Sufi groups, and the great reciters of the Koran.31

The project involved, then, using the archive of commercial recorded music to regenerate knowledge of art music repertories later to be overshadowed by Westernisation and the artistic hegemony of Umm Kulthum.

A team of researchers led by Mustafa Said, an Egyptian scholar and musician, pushes forward the AMAR Foundation’s objectives: collecting sound recordings, digitising them, disseminating them through boxed sets of CDs and podcasts, organising concerts, public lectures and conferences and finding ways of feeding the knowledge generated by these sound recordings into the living performance tradition in the Arab world. At its launch, the AMAR Foundation’s objectives and strategies were workshopped by an international team of musicologists from Canada, France and the USA, as well as the Arab world. But the project is striking for its reliance on Arab world institutional partners (for instance the Sharjah Arts Center). The podcasts address musicians and listeners in and of the Arab world, in Arabic, a community assumed to have lost touch with its heritage. It is not, in other words, primarily oriented to a Western scholarly listenership or readership.

Amongst this Arab world listenership and readership, it might reasonably be said, indeed, that for the majority, the pre-Umm Kulthum age is a mystery. But the AMAR project also addresses one of the major gaps in the (Western) ethnomusicological understanding of the region. The nature of this gap is immediately apparent if one compares the state of musical knowledge about Ottoman Turkey with that of the Arab world. In the former, a world of written documentation and well-preserved archives—songbooks, transcriptions, notations, court and official records—has produced a picture of the history of Ottoman music stretching back to the 17th century. This, it should be added, is a history in which Turkish scholars increasingly predominate.32 Sound recording archives have not, yet, been systematically (p.35) explored as a source of knowledge, possibly because the written sources are relatively rich and accessible and command attention.33 The same cannot be said for the Arab world. Apart from work on ‘Golden Ages’, historical materials documenting anything approaching the modern day are few and far between. Written sources, from the time of Villoteau onwards, are sparse and neither much known nor understood. Theoretical sources are more or less non-existent.34 The history of genres such as dawr, muwashshah, qasida, taqtuqa, histories that lies in the background of the art of Umm Kulthum and Mohammed Abd al-Wahhab, has hitherto been invisible. The AMAR project has understood that recordings, in the absence of easily available written records, provide the only key. Pioneering methods of organising and interpreting this recorded material is, of course, no small achievement.35

Postcolonial pressures bear on the project, however. Umm Kulthum and Mohammed Abd al-Wahhab stand, in the context of this project, for ‘Westernisation’ and ‘modernisation’ only, associated as they are with the hegemony of the composer and star vocalist, the degrading of instrumentalists, the decline of improvisation and the entertainment of mass audiences. To understand in such terms the work of those Umm Kulthum and Mohammed Abd al-Wahhab ‘overshadowed’ is to make it harder to understand the continuities between the Nahda era and a Westernised Arab musical modernity. To understand the ‘unknown heritage’ of the Arab world and its ethnic groups in such individuated and isolated terms is to make it harder to see the connecting historical threads of Ottoman culture. Indeed, it is to understand Ottoman musical culture as ‘foreign’, and not, as was clearly the case, something Arab musicians, in diferent times and places, themselves contributed to and participated in.36 The AMAR Foundation’s achievements, though, are significant, and suggest an under-recognised consequence of the schizophonic angst Feld and Kirkegaard portray in their discussion of The Human Voice in the World of Islam recordings. This would be as follows: if ethnographic sound recordings have been marginal tothe (p.36) Western production of ethnomusicological knowledge about the Middle East, this very fact has cleared the ground for a significant initiative in the Middle East. The reactive and overtly postcolonial arguments articulating this project may create their own blindspots and lacunae, as I have just observed. But the AMAR project has put scholars of Middle Eastern music in a position, at last, to figure out at least some of the outlines of the key transformations in Arab art music between the colonial ethnographers of the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Villoteau, and the present day.


The—ongoing—conditions of Western power that produced orientalism, for Said, have produced, it would seem, rather complex and contradictory patterns in the production of knowledge in the field of Middle Eastern music. Indeed, they might even be said to have played a role in producing kinds of ethnographic knowledge that are critical, reflexive, historicist and experimental. There is, clearly, no single reason for this. The case of Villoteau suggests that the intimacy and violence of Europe’s relationship with the Muslim-majority societies immediately to its south and east shaped a musical ethnography that was intermittently capable of questioning Enlightenment reason, and the West’s sense of distinction. The case of Lachmann suggests that the methods of comparative musicology could be made to articulate connections between Western and non-Western worlds at a moment when the Mediterranean, in musicological terms, began to be imagined as the great divide. The case of ethnographic sound recording in the region suggests connections between schizophonic anxieties about sound as decontextualised aesthetic object and a line of historical enquiry that re-engages the sound archives on quite diferent, postcolonial, terms.

Other factors have certainly been at play. Following the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and the Twin Towers in New York, the entire field of area studies scholarship in the USA was deemed by right-wing critics—anxious to see an end to ‘Title 6’ federal funding, or to relocate it to the USA military—to have failed to see this coming. But this, as many have remarked, seems to have had the efect of pushing together historians and ethnographers, humanities and social science scholars, until then divided by bitter debates over orientalism, in a common, if perhaps defensive, sense of purpose. Ethnomusicology has benefited from some more individual circumstances. Scholars in the West, wedded to some very particular approaches, have, through various combinations of intellectual charisma, energy and sheer productivity, brought significant and diverse communities of scholarship together around their own work. One would think, in this regard, of Owen Wright and Laurence Picken in the UK; Philip Bohlman, Walter Feldman and Stephen Blum in the USA; Jean During in France; and Eckhard Neubauer in Germany.37 The field (p.37) has been blessed by similarly energetic and influential music scholars of Middle Eastern family background, or residence in the region, such as Ali Jihad Racy, Edwin Seroussi, Amnon Shiloah, Laudan Nooshin, Razia Sultanova, Ruth Katz, Cem Behar, Mahmoud Guettat, Mustafa Said, Scheherazade Hassan, Sherifa Zuhur, Issa Boulos and Kristina Nelson.38 It has also been blessed by ethnographers and historians who have built up compelling pictures of Middle Eastern sound worlds through film, performance, sound recording or archive-based forms of editorial or curatorial work, such as John Baily, Veronica Doubleday, Philip Schuyler, Theodore Levin, Christian Poché, Frédéric Lagrange and Ralf Martin Jaeger.39

(p.38) This is, of course, a highly partial list, but it will serve to remind us that individual scholarly quirks, energies and accidents of biography have shaped the field of Middle Eastern music study as much as the broader political and institutional determinants outlined here. One thing that this chapter will hopefully have succeeded in underlining, though, is that the broader field of ethnomusicological knowledge of and in the Middle East has occupied from its outset a somewhat critical position vis-à-vis orientalism, at least as defined by Edward Said. Key to this, I have suggested, are experimental ethnographic practices involving the positioning of interlocutors as subjects, in dialogue, rather than objects; historical methods that underline connection rather than diference; and a line of, perhaps anxious, critical enquiry into the category of the aesthetic. This characterisation inevitably shares a great deal with the way others have depicted the anthropology of the region.40 Far from lagging behind this critical venture, music study, I would suggest, has been fully engaged from the outset.


(1) For a review of the issues surrounding colonialism and ethnomusicology, see Thomas Solomon, ‘Where is the Postcolonial in Ethnomusicology?’, in Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza and Thomas Solomon (eds), Ethnomusicology in East Africa: Perspectives from Uganda and Beyond (Kampala: Fountain Publishers, 2012), pp. 86–102. Edward Said’s Orientalism (New York: Pantheon, 1978), is, these days, necessarily at the heart of any discussion. For a recent discussion of the rather complex legacy of his work in musicology and ethnomusicology, see Bridget Cohen (ed.), ‘Round Table: Edward Said and Musicology Today’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 141:1 (2016), 203–33, with contributions by Kofi Agawu, Rachel Beckles Willson, James R. Currie, Martin Stokes and Sindhumathi Revuluri.

(2) The Garland Encyclopedia serves as a guide to ethnomusicology’s area studies terminological conventions as things stood about 20 years ago. The Garland Encyclopedia: The Middle East: 6, edited by Virginia Danielson, Dwight Reynolds and Scott Marcus (New York: Routledge, 2002) still stands as a major statement defining the area studies field and its representative—if predominantly English-speaking—personalities. Workshops, study and society special interest groups (SIGs) have, more recently, begun to parse the area diferently, signalling the diferent-but-connected status of the Mediterranean, North Africa and Central Asia (the latter signalled in the name, for example, of CityUniversity London’s long-standing ‘Middle East and Central Asian Music Forum’), or implying a more fragmented conception. So the Society for Ethnomusicology, for example, has separate SIGs for Arab Music Research and the ‘Anatolian Ecumene’. The International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) presents an even more fragmented picture, with ‘Study Groups’ on maqam, the Mediterranean, southeastern Europe, the Arab world and the Turkic-speaking world. Terms such as ‘the Ottoman Ecumene’, or references to the ‘post-Ottoman’ region, which seem to be growing in currency amongst ethnomusicologists, introduce further distinctions on non-Western historical grounds. ‘Near East’ and ‘Western Asia’ seem to be less common as designators of this region, ethnomusicologically speaking, implying today what would seem to be rather specific ways of imagining the history and geopolitics of the region. Laurence Picken’s call for a musicology assuming historical continuities traversing the entirety of Europe and Asia has not been picked up on. The cultural and historical boundaries it implies, between North Africa and southern Europe, between the Ottoman world and the Balkans, between Central Asia and East, South-East and South Asia certainly no longer constrain ethnomusicologists. See, for example, Jonathan Shannon, Performing al-Andalus: Music and Nostalgia across the Mediterranean (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015); Ruth Davis (ed.), Musical Exodus: Al-Andalus and its Jewish Diasporas (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015); Donna Buchanan (ed.), Balkan Popular Culture and the Ottoman Ecumene: Regional Political Discourse (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2007); Anne Rasmussen, Women, the Recited Qur’an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), amongst others.

(3) Robert Lachmann, Jewish Cantillation and Song in the Isle of Djerba (Jerusalem: Azriel Press, 1940); Guillaume André Villoteau, De l’état actuel de l’art musicale en Égypte, ou relation historique et descriptive des recherches et observations faites sur la musique en ce pays (Paris: Panckoucke, 1826). On both, see Philip V. Bohlman, ‘Representation and Cultural Critique in the History of Ethnomusicology’, in Bruno Nettl and Philip Bohlman (eds), Comparative Musicology and the Anthropology of Music: Essays on the History of Ethnomusicology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 131–51.

(4) Timothy Mitchell, Colonising Egypt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988).

(5) On Lachmann, see particularly Philip V. Bohlman, ‘La riscoperta del Mediterraneo nella musica ebraica: Il discorso dell’Altro nell’etnomusicologica dell’Europa’, in Tullia Magrini (ed.), Antropologia della Musica e Culture Mediterranee (Venice: Il Mulino, 1993), pp. 107–24, and Bohlman, ‘Representation’; Ruth Katz, ‘The Lachmann Problem’: An Unsung Chapter in Comparative Musicology (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2003); Robert Lachmann, The ‘Oriental Music’ Broadcasts 1936–1937: A Musical Ethnography of Mandate Palestine, ed. Ruth Davis (Madison, MA: A-R Editions, 2013).

(6) Albrecht Schneider, ‘Psychological Theory and Comparative Musicology’, in Nettl and Bohlman (eds), Comparative Musicology and the Anthropology of Music (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 293–317.

(7) See Steven Feld and Annemette Kirkegaard, ‘Entangled Complicities in the Prehistory of “World Music”: Poul Rovsing Olsen and Jean Jenkins Encounter Brian Eno and David Byrne in the Bush of Ghosts’, Popular Musicology Online, 2010, http://www.popular-musicology-online.com/issues/04/feld.html (accessed 15 August 2017).

(8) This contribution responds, then, to a persistent understanding of the relationship between ethnography and history in dichotomous and oppositional terms, an issue explored in some detail in Martin Stokes, ‘Notes and Queries on “Global Music History”’, in Reinhard Strohm (ed.), Studies on a Global History of Music: A Balzan Musicology Project (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 3–17.

(9) On Villoteau’s exploration of Greek plainsong in Egypt, see Katy Romanou, Chapter 13, this volume.

(10) Ruth E. Rosenberg, Music, Travel and Imperial Encounter in 19th-Century France: Musical Apprehensions (London: Routledge, 2014).

(11) Rosenberg, Music, Travel and Imperial Encounter, notes Villoteau’s adherence to what Sterne would later call the ‘litany’, the contrasting epistemological views of ear and eye that took shape in the Enlightenment.

(12) ‘After having heard the first chant—it was an Alleluia—we had him repeat it, so we could copy it; but we could not define the nature of the efect it caused us. The chant of the Egyptians lacerated our ears [‘nous dechiroit les oreilles’, Villoteau, De L’État Actuel, p. 756]; this one did even more; it spread over all our senses a kind of poison that nauseated our hearts and irritated our souls to an intolerable point. It was necessary, however, to continue to the end, since we had undertaken it. When this first chant was finished, we asked the Copt if there was only one kind of chant in his church, for we believed it to be so: he replied that on the contrary there were ten diferent tones. We resigned ourselves to hearing him sing on all ten tones: but we were soon beyond any appreciation of them; they benumbed our ear drums, and wearied our attention to the point that we only heard them as one hears when one is three-quarters asleep; and perhaps if the Copt had retired without saying anything to us, we would not have noticed it, so great was the kind of stupor in which these chants had thrown us.’ Villoteau, Chapitre V: Dela Musique des Qobte, trans. Maryvonne Mavroukakis, http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.200155950/default.html (accessed 17 August 2017).

(13) The form ‘maqam-s’ is chosen here to represent the English plural of a non-English term; see also fn. 36.

(14) See Villoteau, De L’Etat Actuel, p. 689. Villoteau has heard what seems to be a street musician’s rif, Mahbouby, sung repeatedly, and took this particular song as an opportunity to attempt to transcribe the ornaments, ornaments that had eluded him elsewhere.

(15) See Villoteau, De L’Etat Actuel, p. 789, where his conversations with the redoubtable ‘Dom Guebraïl’ begin.

(16) James Clifford and George Marcus (eds), Writing Culture: On the Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986).

(17) See Schneider, ‘Psychological Theory’. On the activities of the Berlin Phonogram Archive, see Susanne Ziegler, Die Wachszylinder des Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs (Berlin: Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, 2006).

(18) It is important to note, then, that the intellectual context of his historical work tends to be overlooked, at least by ethnomusicologists these days. The work of Carl Engel and Peter Wagner, work that was also concerned with the relationship between Jewish synagogue practice and the ‘Western’ music tradition, is important to recall. See Carl Engel, An Introduction to the Study of National Music: Comprising Research into Popular Songs, Traditions and Customs (London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1866) and Peter Wagner, Introduction to the Gregorian Melodies (London: The Plainsong and Medieval Society, 1901).

(19) I gratefully recall my first lessons in ethnomusicology with Jeremy Montagu in the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments as an undergraduate in Oxford. Equally anecdotally I would recall John Blacking’s sense of debt, often mentioned in conversation, if less systematically acknowledged in his published work, to Erich von Hornbostel’s work. Hornbostel’s Opera Omnia was prominently on display in the ethnomusicology section of the Queen’s University of Belfast library. Blacking’s turn to cognitive issues towards the end of his life was certainly strongly informed by his reading of Hornbostel.

(20) See, in particular, Martin Clayton, ‘Comparing Music, Comparing Musicology’, in Martin Clayton, Trevor Herbert and Richard Middleton (eds), The Cultural Study of Music (London: Routledge, 2003), pp. 57–68.

(24) Dutch ethnographer Snouck Hurgronje’s recordings of the adhan in Mecca were made very shortly after, in 1885. They were easy to locate on YouTube at the time of writing. See, for instance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rHkxbR9IL8 (accessed 15 August 2017).

(25) See in particular Özge Girit Heck, ‘Labelling the Ottoman Empire as “Turkey” in the ChicagoWorld’s Fair of 1893’, International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity, 3:1 (2015), 107–37.

(26) Mitchell’s influential idea of the ‘world as exhibition’ (Timothy Mitchell, Colonising Egypt, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988)) suggested the complicity of colonialism with dualistic epistemes proposing a fundamental rift between things ‘in themselves’ and their representations. This complicity, he argues, connected the order of the world fairs with the production of colonial governmentality in Egypt. A related line of argument is to be found in Veit Erlmann, Music, Modernity and the Global Imagination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), with reference to Africa and World Music.

(27) See Steven Feld, ‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts: World Music and the Commodification of Religious Experience’, in Bob White (ed.), Rethinking Globalization through Music (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011). Between Feld and Kirkegaard, ‘Entangled Complicities’, and Feld, ‘My Life’, one will find the broader story of the history of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’ releases and revisions.

(30) See, for a representative sample, Christian Poché, Musique du Monde Arabe: Écoute et découverte (Paris: Institut du Monde Arabe, 1996); Frédéric Lagrange, Musiques d’Egypte (Paris: Cité de la Musique, 2001); Jean During, Musiques d’Asie Centrale: L’esprit d’une Tradition (Paris: Actes Sud, 1998).

(31) See http://www.amar-foundation.org/about/ (accessed 13 March 2018).

(32) The main notated sources are those of Ali Ukfi (mid-17th century), Demetrius Cantemir and Mustafa Kevseri Efendi (early 18th century), European observers like Charles Fonton and Giambattista Toderini in the mid-18th, and a variety of printed sources in the 19th. Cutting-edge Turkish scholarship on these and related documentary sources is well represented by the following volumes: Mehmet Uğur Ekinci, Kevseri Mecmuası: 18 Yuzyıl Saz Muziği Kulliyatı (Istanbul: Pan, 2016); Yalçın Tura (ed.), Kantemiroğlu: Kitābu ‘Ilmi ‘l-Mūsīḳī ‘alā vechi ‘l-Ḥurūfāt/Mûsikîyi Harflerle Tesbît ve İcrâ İlminin Kitabı (Tıpkıbasım—Çeviri—Notlar), vols 1 and 2 (Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2000, 2001); Cem Behar, Şeyhülislam’ın Müziği. 18. Yüzyılda Osmanlı/Türk Musıkisi Ve Şeyhülislâm Esad Efendinin Atrabül-âsârı (Istanbul: YKY, 2010); Hikmet Toker, Elhan-ı Aziz: Sultan Abd ülaziz Devrinde Sarayda Mûsikî (Istanbul: TBMM Milli Saraylar, 2016); Merih Erol, Greek Orthodox Music in Ottoman Istanbul: Nation and Community in the Era of Reform (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2015). The significant work in Western European languages on these and related documentary sources is represented by Owen Wright, Walter Feldman, Jacob Olley, Giovanni de Zorzi, Eckhard Neubauer and Ralf Martin Jaeger. See footnotes 33–5 for sample bibliographies.

(33) Most of these are in private hands and not (yet) publicly available.

(34) But see Scott Marcus, ‘The Periodization of Modern Arab Music Theory: Continuity and Change in the Definition of the Maqāmāt’, Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology, 5 (1989), 33–49.

(35) Until the CHARM project, located at Oxford, Cambridge and King’s College London, and the pioneering work of Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, Nicholas Cook and others, such methods were hardly developed in Western Europe, either. The 209 (at the time of writing) AMAR podcasts (AMAR Foundation for Arab Music Archiving and Research), can be accessed at http://www.amar-foundation.org/podcasting/ (accessed 17 August 2017).

(36) John Morgan O’Connell, Alaturka: Style in Turkish Music (1923–1938) (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), deals with a period in which ‘Turkish’ and ‘Arab’ music were coming to be ever more firmly distinguished, at least in modern Turkish minds. ‘Turkish’ music, in the form of Ottoman-composed peşrev-s and semai-s (instrumental compositions) continue to be inseparable parts of ‘Arab’ classical practice for most musicians in the Arabic-speaking Levant.

(37) For a bibliography of Owen Wright’s work, see ‘Owen Wright: Full Bibliography’, in Rachel Harris and Martin Stokes (eds), Theory and Practice in the Islamic World: Essays in Honour of Owen Wright (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 311–13, and for an evaluation see my own introduction to this volume (pp. xx–xxxvi); Laurence Picken, Folk Music Instruments of Turkey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975); Philip Bohlman, The Land Where Two Streams Flow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989); Walter Feldman, Music of the Ottoman Court: Makam, Composition and the Early Ottoman Instrumental Repertoire (Berlin: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 1996); Stephen Blum, ‘The Terminology of Vocal Performance in Iranian Khorasan’, in Harris and Stokes (eds), Theory and Practice, pp. 238–52; During, Musiques d’Asie Centrale; Eckhard Neubauer, ‘New Light on Cantemir’, in Harris and Stokes (eds), Theory and Practice, pp. 3–21. A great many of the established academics currently teaching and writing about Middle Eastern music in North America and Europe today have been taught or mentored by one of these individuals.

(38) Iraqi and Syrian music scholars and musicologists, including such enormously distinguished figures as Nuri Iskandar, former director of the Music Conservatory of Aleppo, currently based in Sweden, have not yet found an institutional home, to our shame. North African musicological and ethnomusicological scholarship has been affected, in terms of its circulation at least in the English-speaking world, by the civil wars in both Algeria and Libya, and the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Concerning other names mentioned here, please see Ali Jihad Racy, Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Edwin Seroussi, Mizimrat Qedem: The Life and Music of R. Isaac Algazi from Turkey (Jerusalem: Renanot Institute for Jewish Music, 1989); Amnon Shiloah, Music in the World of Islam: A Socio-Cultural Study (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2001); Laudan Nooshin, Iranian Classical Music: The Discourses and Practices of Creativity (London: Routledge, 2015); Razia Sultanova and Megan Rancier, Turkic Soundscapes: From Shamanic Voices to Hip-Hop (London: Routledge, 2017); Dalia Cohen and Ruth Katz, Palestinian Arab Music: A Maqam Tradition in Practice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); Cem Behar, Şeyhülislam’ın Müziği. 18. Yüzyılda Osmanlı/Türk Musıkisi Ve Şeyhülislâm Esad Efendinin Atrabül-âsârı (Istanbul: YKY, 2010); Mahmoud Guettat, La Musique Arabo-Andalouse: L’empreinte du Maghreb (Tunis: El Ouns, 2000); Mustafa Said’s scripts for the ‘Rawadet al-Balabel’ podcasts, accessible at http://www.amar-foundation.org/podcasting/ (accessed 11 August 2017); Scheherazade Hassan, ‘Between Formal Structure and Performance Practice: On the Baghdadi Secular Cycles’, in Harris and Stokes (eds), Theory and Practice, pp. 273–92; Issa Boulos, ‘Negotiating the Elements: Palestinian Freedom Songs from 1967 to 1987’, in Moslih Kanaaneh, Stig-Magnus Thorsen, Heather Bursheh and David McDonald (eds), Palestinian Music and Song: Expression and Resistance since 1900 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), pp. 53–68; Kristina Nelson, The Art of Reciting the Qur’an (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2001); Sherifa Zuhur, Asmahan’s Secrets: Woman, War and Song (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001).

(39) For their written work, in many cases heavily reliant on these more sound- or performance-based research practices, see Poché, Musique du Monde Arabe; Frédéric Lagrange, Musiques d’Egypte; John Baily, Music of Afghanistan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Veronica Doubleday, Three Women of Herat (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988); Theodore Levin, The Hundred Thousand Fools of God: Musical Travels in Central Asia (and Queen’s, New York) (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1996); Ralph Martin Jaeger, Türkische Kunstmusik und ihre handschriftlichen Quellen aus dem 19. Jahrhundert (Eisenach, 1996); see also Philip Schuyler’s liner notes to the Paul Bowles Music of Morocco CD box set (Library of Congress, 2016).

(40) See Dale Eickelman, The Middle East: An Anthropological Perspective (Englewood Clifs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989) for an important genealogy of ethnographic radicalism arguably extending back to the time of Robertson-Smith, Westermarck and Evans-Pritchard, and forward to Geertz, Rosen, Rabinow and Pandolfo today.