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Cornell University Middle Eastern Music Ensemble

Spring 2015
Joseph Prusch, Director
Ensemble Website:
Lincoln Hall B21

Weekly Subjects
Jan 25 Overview of Middle Eastern Music
-maqamat (makamlar)
-sharqi (şarqı, sharki)
-the rules of taqsim (taximi, taksim)
-alphabets, transliteration, and pronunciation; naming conventions
al-Farabi, Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad. Kitâb al-Musiqi al-Kabir. Frankfurt: Institute
for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University: 1998.
Marcus, Scott. “Modulation in Arabic Music: Documenting Oral Concepts, Performance Rules
and Strategies,” Ethnomusicology vol. 36 (1992), no. 2 , pp171-196

Feb 2 Music of Modern Egypt

-Ottoman influence on modern Egyptian music
-relationship to N. Africa and the Levant
-Egyptian influence on American hip-hop culture
Danielson, Virginia. The Voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic Song, and Egyptian Society in
the Twentieth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.
Hammond, Andrew. Popular Culture in the Arab World: Arts, Politics, and the Media. New York:
The American University in Cairo Press, 2007.
el-Shawan, Salwa. “Traditional Arab Music Ensembles in Egypt since 1967: the Continuity of
Tradition within a Contemporary Framework,” Ethnomusicology vol. 28 (1984), no. 2: pp271-88.

Feb 9 Persian Music

-connections to India
-relationship to Central Asian music
-Dastgah & Avaz
-heavy influence on early Islamic culture, especially Turkey
-spread of the harp
-yuruk semai
-Revolutionary restrictions on music
Alizadeh, Hossein, Afsaneh Rassa'i, and Madjid Khaladj. “Musique Iranienne: Saz-e No.” Paris:
Buda Musique, 1997.
Blum, Stephen. “Persian Folksong of Meshhed,” Yearbook of the International Folk Music
Council vol. 6 (1974), pp86-114.
During, Jean. “Music, Poetry and the Visual Arts in Persia.” Basel: International Music Council,
The World of Music, vol. 24 (1982), no. 1, pp72-84.
Farhat, Hormoz. The Dastgah Concept in Persian Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1990.
Omoumi, Hossein and Madjid Khaladj. “Persian Classical Music.” BMG/Nimbus Records, 1993.

Feb 23 Ancient Arabian and Early Islamic Music; the Raj Movement
-origins in Greek academic culture
-Syrian Christian (Maroni) Sacred Music (maqamat)
-other possible influences
-classical Arabic theory sources
-Reconquista: 711(or 718) - 1492
-influence on W. European classical music
-Muwashshah diaspora
-classical Arabic rhythm in Latin music
-the emergence of Raj in Algeria
Al Faruqi, Lois Ibsen. “Muwashshah: A Vocal Form in Islamic Culture,” Ethnomusicology vol.
19 (1975), no. 1 , pp1-29.
Rachid Aous; Mohammed Habib Samrakandi. Horizons maghrébins: le droit à la mémoire.
Toulouse: Presses Université du Mirail, 2002.
Schade‐Poulsen, Marc. Men and Popular Music in Algeria: The Social Significance of Rai.
Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999.
Shehadi, Fadlou. Philosophies of Music in Medieval Islam. Leiden/New York: E.J. Brill, 1995.
Zayyadine, Fawri. The Umayyads: The Rise of Islamic Art. Amman: Arab Institute for Research
and Publishing, 2000.

Mar 2 Music of the Ottoman Empire

-Turkish migrations: origins in Central or NE Asia
-origins of the baglama
-Peşrev form
-unique usulu
-Persian influence (e.g. al-Farabi)
-talent-based classical musical system allowed for women and minorities
Feldman, Walter. Music of the Ottoman Court: makam, composition and the early Ottoman
instrumental repertoire. Berlin: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 1996.
Sieglin, Angelika. Untersuchungen zur Kompositionstechnik in den Peṣrev des Tanburi Cemil
Bey. Hamburg: Verlag der Musikalienhandlung K. D. Wagner, 1975.

Mar 9 Modern Turkish Music

-repression of Ottoman culture
-looking Westward/Euro-integration

Mar 16 The Ottoman Musical “Diaspora”

-Egypt and the Hijaz
-Persia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, others)
Rice, Timothy. May it Fill Your Soul: Experiencing Bulgarian Music. Chicago/London:
University of Chicago Press, 1994.
Kaplan, Robert D. Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History. New York: St. Martin's Press,
Koutev, Philip & the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir. “Le Mystère des
Voix Bulgares.” New York/Los Angeles: Warner Communications/Elektra/ Assylum/Nonesuch Records, 1987.
Taraf De Haïdouks. “Taraf De Haïdouks.” (compilation) New York/Los Angeles: Warner
Communications/Elektra/ Assylum/Nonesuch Records, 1999.

Mar 23 Sacred Music of the Middle East

-Ancient Egypt
-Ancient Hittite
-Ancient Sumerian/Akkadian
-nomadic Hebrew music arises out of Egyptian and Akkadian traditions
-Christian music, the Pentarchy
-early Islamic poetry/music
-Mevlevi music
-Alevi ceremonial dance and music
Burney, Charles. A General History of Music: from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period (1789
version). New York: Dover, 1957.
al Faruqi, Lois. “Accentuation in Qur'anic Chant: A Study of Musical Tawazun,” Yearbook of the
International Folk Music Council vol. 10 (1978), pp53- 68.

Apr 6 Greek Music: Ancient, Classical, & Modern

-Mount Athos
-Byzantine chant
-rebellion against Ottomans
Choir Of Monks From The Monastery Of Simonos Petra. “Hymns of Mount Athos.” Jade/Milan,
Holst(-Warhaft), Gail. Road to Rembetika: Music of Greek Subculture. Limni, Evia, Greece:
Denise Harvey, 1975.
Paniagua, Gregorio & Atrium Musicae de Madrid. “Musique de la Grece Antique.” Harmonia
Mundi France, 2000.

Apr 13 Music of the Hebrews and Jews

-ancient Hebrew instruments:
-Tehillim (Psalms) compiled under King David
-correlations to West Africa
-Jewish diaspora in the Middle East:
-Khazar conversion to Judaism
-Ladino (murrano)
-Jews in Islam
-modern Israeli music
Cohen, Joel & The Boston Camerata. “The Sacred Bridge: Jews and Christians in Medieval
Europe.” Elektra, Erato, 1991.
Kligman, Mark. Maqam and Liturgy: Ritual, Music, and Aesthetics of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn.
Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2009.
Rothmüller, Aron Marko. The Music of the Jews: An Historical Appreciation. New York: The
Beechhurst Press, 1954.
Sapoznik, Henry. The Compleat Klezmer. Cedarhurst, NY: Tara Publications, 1997.

Apr 20 Levantine Music: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Kurds, Alevi

Shannon, Jonathan H. Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria.
Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2006.

Apr 27 Hijaz/Khaleeji
-samri tradition
-Yemeni singers

May 4 The Southeastern Pontos and the Musafiri

Kemani Cemal. “Sulukule: Rom Music of Istanbul.” Traditional Crossroads, 1998.

General Resources
Grove Music Online (database via
Ethno-musicology Online (database via

Commencement Performance for Middle Eastern Studies:

May 24, 1pm, Arts Quad
I will be happy to accept suggestions for songs to learn and sing in the group. Musical works
will get priority consideration for how much they diversify the group's perspective, in particular:
1) uniqueness of geographic or ethnic origin,
2) uniqueness or rarity of maqam (makam) or iqa' (usul),
3) associated composers or performers of the work and their historical relevance,
4) subject matter of the lyrics in historical or cultural terms, and
5) artistic cultural value of the lyrics.

Class Participation
Our main purpose here is to teach one another what we know about our own cultures. Your
insight on historical or sociological issues is necessary and will be appreciated by all. Don't be shy in
sharing your thoughts. Each of you is an expert with subject matter we all want to know.
To participate with the group, try to sing and clap at the very least. Some pieces are learned and
sung to help the singers learn the anatomy of maqamat (makamlar), which improves the quality of
singing and helps instrumentalists improve their ability. Clapping helps study the rhythmic cycles,
which increases the power and artistry of both singers and instrumentalists. If you would like to try to
learn an instrument from the Lincoln Hall collection, you are welcome to try. Just talk to me or Greg
Ezra. To take an instrument home for further practise, you will need to sign an agreement with Cornell.
There are two ways to engage with the Ensemble on an academic level: a formal talk or
translating lyrics. If you feel you can bring perspective to any of the weekly subject areas, please see
me to request that date for your talk. We will also need help translating our lyrics for the concert, so
feel free to volunteer to create English translations for your favorite songs!

Academic Credit
Since the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble is no longer offered as a for-credit course, you may
ask a professor if he or she would be willing to accept your work for the ensemble as an independent
study under him. That professor may require you to do more work, e.g. write a formal paper, in order
for you to receive credit.

Rehearsal Location
All sessions will be held in Lincoln B21 unless otherwise notified. The group will be notified
the week prior if the location changes, and a sign will be posted on the door of Lincoln B21.

Rehearsal Format
Closer to our performances, the rehearsals may become more orderly, but in general I will try to
strike a balance between music rehearsal and the discussions we have about performance practise. This
may be different from other musical ensemble rehearsals. This atmosphere is necessary for the study of
performance practise.

Performance locations and dates have yet to be set, but will be posted on the website as soon as
possible. I ask as many of you as possible to join us for these performances and help share the music
with new listeners. Of course, the Cornell community and greater Ithaca community are welcome to
visit us any time without obligation.