Libmonster ID: KG-646
Author(s) of the publication: A. KAYAK


Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Professor of the State Academy of Slavic Culture

Musical practice in the Arab-Muslim world developed on the basis of the music of different peoples under the influence of Islam. In the course of the evolution of Islam itself and the development of musical culture, the relationship between them changed. But the issues of preserving the originality of musical practice have always been extremely important for the Arab-Muslim culture, which emphasized its originality.

Modern professional musicians of this region of the world are ready to consider different options for the synthesis between their own music and European music, but with the indispensable condition of preserving the foundations of their own musical tradition.


Beginning in the seventh century, the Arabs were able to spread the new religion of the Prophet Muhammad in very distant territories. Many different ethnic groups with different cultures, traditions, and languages were drawn into the orbit of Islam, and over time they developed a number of distinctive characteristics common to Muslim culture, including music.

In Islam, music was recognized as an important formative and educational value. At the same time, Islam does not allow musical accompaniment during worship. The exception is the religious beliefs of Sufis*.

In the ninth century, there was a theoretical debate in the Arab world about whether Muslims were allowed to listen to music. Proponents of mysticism most often defended the positive properties of music. Thus, the Arab author Ibn Abd Rabbihi (860-940) considered music in his treatise "as a phenomenon that can in itself have an exciting effect on the mind"1. Such an understanding of the impact of music led to the fact that Sufi worship was accompanied by singing, during which pantomime, dance, and playing musical instruments were used to help introduce people to religious ecstasy.

In addition to Sufi rhythms, the Arab-Muslim world has developed a cult melos**, due to special attention to melodic sound, clear voice. It should include the muezzin's extended invocations to prayer, songs of religious content that were sung from the minaret during Muslim holidays in many countries, obligatory and widespread recitative recitation of the Koran, and so on. 2

It is known that the early styles of reading the Qur'an were based on such a genre of musical culture of the Arabs of that time as the hit-a song of camel drivers. It was performed solo without musical accompaniment in the tempo-rhythm of a camel's caravan step (which, by the way, is embedded in the recitation of verses of classical Arabic poetry). Later, several regional varieties of reading the Qur'an were formed, which were united by musicality, melody as qualities with which divine revelation is transmitted.

All these religious and aesthetic aspects of sound and music influence were certainly factors in the formation of the supra-ethnic and supranational information and semantic field of Muslim musical culture as a civilizational phenomenon.


It should be emphasized that the spread of Islam was not accompanied by the requirement of mandatory renunciation of the newly converted peoples of their cultural and, in particular, musical roots. The bearers of Muslim religious values did not deliberately create a situation of cultural conflict or rejection between the peoples of the Islamic tradition, which made different musical cultures complementary to each other. Islam exerted an ennobling influence on the ethnonational forms of melos, without hindering their development.

In the Arab-Muslim world, in addition to the cult music complex, secular music has always been preserved, originating both from the folk practice of different peoples of the East, and from the aesthetic standards of the middle and upper urban strata.-

* Sufism (from Arabic. Sufi, literally-wearing woolen clothes [suf-wool, coarse woolen cloth]) - a mystical trend in Islam.

** Melos (from Greek. Melos is a term used to refer to a tune, a melody, or the singing of a lyric poem.

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countries. Many Arabs admired, for example, both the beauty of Persian songs and the entertainment of the Persians - their magnificent feasts, at which there was always music and wine. Entertainment music in the Middle Ages was played in harems, during feasts in palaces. The general public of the Arab-Muslim world liked secular singing, imbued with sensuality and vivid emotionality. This manner of singing did not arouse the approval of the clergy, but it was not completely forbidden.

Love Arabic poetry has become another factor shaping Muslim musical culture. One of the most important genres of love poetry - ghazal-is associated with describing the feelings that a lover experiences, understanding the connection of a person with the real and supernatural world. These qualities of the gazelle not only embodied the conventionality inherent in the style of the era, but also conveyed a mystical desire for God through a love theme. It is not by chance that this genre enjoyed special attention of Sufis. In addition, it is known that at certain stages of the development of poetry, the performance of ghazals was accompanied by music.

Music in the Arab East was considered not so much an art as a craft. In any country of the Muslim world, it remained closely connected with folk music practice, with folklore, with the experience of playing and improvising on traditional instruments. Some madrasas specially trained reciters who, unlike reciters of the Koran, mastered a more free manner of singing and could perform secular musical works. In countries with a predominantly Shiite population in the territories of modern Iraq, Syria, and Azerbaijan, such singers participated in musical mystery performances - a kind of theatrical action. Under the influence of all these factors, the professional training of performers in the Arab East becomes specific. Performance at the training level is based on the folk-folklore foundation and continues to maintain a close connection with it. At the same time, it also acquires the professional character of an oral folklore tradition. 3


In the second half of the 19th century, European music gradually began to penetrate the region of the Near and Middle East. Here began to appear those genres of musical art that were somehow generated by European forms-operetta, opera, symphony. The attitude to this process in the Arab-Muslim world was ambiguous. Best of all, the genre of song fits into the indigenous Islamic traditions. In Turkey, for example, songs were created for certain Muslim holidays.

In the 20th century, with the development of telecommunications systems and the objective processes of globalization, modern Western music managed to successfully spread in all parts of the world and gain enormous success among the mass audience. On the other hand, the negative attitude of a number of representatives of the Islamic world towards Euro-American culture, which shows a tendency to universalize the language of art, is becoming more pronounced. However, in modern conditions, even the most zealous adherents of orthodoxy cannot stop the active cross-cultural interaction and exchange that have become characteristic features of the modern world.

From the point of view of orthodox Islam, in modern musical culture, preferred, tolerated and absolutely unacceptable phenomena are distinguished. For example, in many Arab countries, folklore of Muslim peoples, religious music, and music from movies of the Middle and Middle East countries are included in the rank of music that is widely spread and preferred for a Muslim.4 At the same time, it is recognized that it is permissible to refer to the music of other peoples and civilizations. In this, researchers see trends towards the modernization of traditional musical styles under the influence of Western music5.

Experts talk about the gradual abandonment of playing some traditional instruments and the transition to instruments typical of Western culture (for example, the violin). Live music making is becoming less common, and it is being widely replaced by radio and television broadcasting. All this is seen as a threat to the preservation of the most important thing - the information-semantic civilizational and musical model of the Arab-Muslim world.

The key problem of national music remains the task of preserving traditional methods of performance, expressive means, common canons and forms characteristic of the civilizational field of Islamic music, as well as their ethno - national variants-improvised introductions, inserts, cadences, interludes, plays; special ensembles of various instruments.6 These features are the specific differences between the music of the Arab-Muslim world and the professional musical culture of European civilization.

Speaking about the Western influence on the Muslim world, the Egyptian musicologist A. J. Rasi believes that "even when the works (of an Egyptian performer. - Author's note) are clearly oriented towards the Western model, it is necessary to meet the following conditions: the singer must meet alien standards of artistry fully armed with taste and excellence, preserving the essential features of Egyptian music"7, which he must master in the course of professional training.

In general, the above points to the fact that, while remaining an original and civilizational phenomenon of our time, the musical culture of the Arab-Muslim world is not excluded from the global processes of interaction. Its representatives show a desire to respond to global artistic processes in order to preserve the identity of the culture of their peoples and the Muslim civilization.

Janizade T. 1 Khudozhestvenny kanon iskusstva "makamat" kak otrazhenie esteticheskogo opyta naroda Blizhni i Srednego Vostoka [Artistic canon of the art of "makamat" as a reflection of the aesthetic experience of the people of the Near and Middle East]. Vneeuropean musical cultures: Issues of studying traditions, Moscow, 1988, p. 16.

Yunusova V. N. 2 Islam-musical culture and modern education in Russia, Moscow, 1997, p. 16.

Shakhnazarova N. 3 Muzyka Vostoka i muzyka Zapada [Music of the East and Music of the West], Moscow, 1983, p. 234.

Yunusova V. N. 4 Decree. soch. p. 24-25.

Gorokhovik E. M. 5 Vvedenie [Introduction] / / Musical cultures of African countries: current situation, problems of studying. Lenin, 1987. Issue 1. P. 5.

Mughari Bukhari 6. Musical culture of Algeria and problems of performing arts. Abstract of the candidate's dissertation. Moscow, P. I. Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, 1993, p. 8.

7 Modern problems of professional musical education in monogenic / culture/ Culture and arts abroad. Series: muzyka, Moscow: GB SSSR im. Lenin, 1987, issue 4, p. 7.


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