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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Spring 2006

MES 334C • Mus Cul Mid East, Past/Pres -W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
41150 T
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
GAR 107

Course Description

This upper-division seminar is devoted to music and its place in past and contemporary Middle Eastern societies. It has two main aims: to familiarize students with the historical evolution and the distinct characteristics of traditional Arab, Persian, and Turkish music; and to explore the broader interplay between music and society in the region, looking at the ways in which political, social, economic, and cultural realities have shaped musical life and expression. The examination of the musical traditions will introduce the various genres, performance styles, aesthetic notions, instruments, and theories associated with the region's rich repertoires of secular and religious music. The broader contextual issues addressed will include the Islamic polemic about music, social attitudes toward musicians, gender roles, celebrity status, the phenomenon of musical ecstasy, and the effects on music of Western ideas, new technologies and media, state policies, urbanization, and other modern developments. Selections of musical pieces compiled specially for the seminar illustrate and supplement the reading. Aspects of the music will also be demonstrated on Middle Eastern instruments in the classroom.

Grading Policy

Class participation-20%; research paper40%; reviews of musical recordings30%; book review10%.


A. J. Racy, Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab. Amnon Shiloah, Music in the World of Islam: A Socio-Cultural Study. Virginia Danielson, The Voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic Song, and Egyptian Society in the Twentieth Century. Jean During et al., The Art of Persian Music. Martin Stokes, The Arabesk Debate: Music and Musicians in Modern Turkey. A course reader and CD anthologies


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