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Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Musical Life of Medieval Iberia

When Nov 01, 2016
from 05:00 PM to 06:30 PM
Where 5.00pm, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (room 8-9)
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Dwight F. Reynolds is professor of Arabic language & literature in the
Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa
Barbara. He is the author of: Heroic Poets, Poetic Heroes: The
Ethnography of Performance in an Arabic Oral Epic Tradition (1995) and
Arab Folklore: A Handbook (2007); co-author and editor of Interpreting
the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition (2001) and The
Cambridge Companion to Modern Arab Culture (2015);  co-editor of The
Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 6: The Middle East (2002),
as well as the author of nearly two dozen articles on various aspect of
Andalusian music based on fieldwork conducted in Morocco, Algeria,
Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, France, and Spain over the past twenty
years.

ABSTRACT
'Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Musical Life of Medieval
Iberia'

Medieval Muslim Spain (al-Andalus in Arabic) bequeathed to the world
remarkable achievements in architecture, agriculture, gardening,
literature, philosophy, poetry, and the sciences.  Arguably the most
enduring aspect of this period of intellectual activity, however, lies
in its musical heritage.  New song forms appeared in Arabic (the
muwashshah and the zajal) that had a direct influence on the entire
Arabic-speaking world as well as on the Hebrew literary tradition, and
while the exact extent of its impact in the north of Iberia and beyond
to Europe is still being debated, these musical traditions clearly
helped reshape the medieval musical world.  More remarkable is that the
descendents of these medieval musical innovations are still performed
today in Arabic-speaking Jewish and Muslim communities in the Middle
East and beyond.

What roles did musicians of the three religious communities of medieval
Iberia play in the formation of what has come to be called “Andalusian
Music”?  What types of musical and cultural exchanges took place as
singers and performers moved back and forth across the Mediterranean,
north and south in the Iberian Peninsula, and came into direct and
indirect contact with musicians from all over Europe?  This lecture
examines these questions by drawing on sources in Arabic, Latin,
Castilian, and Old Catalan, a number of which have yet to be edited and
published, in order to create a more detailed and accurate portrait of
musical life in medieval Iberia.

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