Reviews

Questioning the Eurocentric vision that for long prevailed in the history of musical practice in the world of Islam, the author stresses the social and esthetical specificity of the traditions developed in the course of centuries in the Volga-Urals region.  Insisting on the difficulties created by the destruction of innumerable documents during the Tsarist era, and by the lack of systematic research during the Soviet period, G.S. evokes the philosophical justification of music in the recently discovered nineteenth-century treatise in verse Abiyat-i ma‘arif-i qalbiyyat by Sa‘d al-Din b. Saydash Nurlati-Bulghari, before early twentieth-century reformist reassessments (e.g., in the treatise Muziqa wa islam published in Ufa in 1909 by Hadi Qildibaqi, a teacher of the ‘Uthmaniyya Madrasa, opposing both the medieval classification of music within mathematics after ancient Greek philosophy, and the nineteenth-century Volga-Ural Muslim theologians’ negative relation to music as a whole).  In the following paragraphs, S.G. evokes in general words the primacy of oral creation in the world of Islam, and the prestige enjoyed by musicians in the pre-modern society of the Volga-Ural region, through the work of prominent medieval poets, in particular the Khusraw wa Shirin by Qutb (1342) and the Jumjuma Sultan by Hisam Katib (late fourteenth century), respectively mentioning the performance of the rast and ‘ushshaq maqams, and praising an imaginary ruler for the maintenance by him of an “army” of musicians.  The article continues with the evocation of the technical vocabulary devoted to the description of musical categories—beginning with the terms [often of Arabic and/or Persian origin] designating musicians themselves (barbadchi, qubizchi, chin, mutrib, naghmachi, sazanda . . .).  The permanence of vernacular musical tradition, through its “folklorisation,” is mentioned through the use of non-European pre-modern instruments like ribab and ghijaq, and the riches of Tatar vocabulary for designating songs.

The Redaction
CER: I-4.5-377