23 Pages

The Middle East: Islam and the Arab World, Iran, Egypt, Judaism

WithTerry E. Miller, Andrew Shahriari

This chapter reviews the historical, cultural, and musical overview of the Middle East. It then provides in-depth studies of varied musical traditions, followed by an "aural analysis" of the sound and prominent musical elements. A Semitic language originating with the Arab ethnic group; also, the holy language of Islam, and a musical tradition whose history is intricately linked with the spread of the language. Arabic influence on Europe goes far beyond the ancient Greco-Arabic music theory that formed the theoretical systems of Europe's first millennium. The vast Ottoman Empire that incorporated much of Southeast Europe for hundreds of years—in some places even into the early twentieth century—left those areas with many Turkish instruments and musical influences. Most branches of Islam are suspicious of music, which they view as overly sensual. In Islamic aesthetic theory, expressions that combine pitch and rhythm are divided into a higher-level category called non-music and a lower-level category called music.