Humanities Decanted: The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus

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Dwight Reynolds

February 18, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 4:45 pm


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Click here for a 20% publisher’s discount on The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus


Join us online for a dialogue between Dwight Reynolds (Religious Studies) and Debra Blumenthal (History) about Reynolds’ new book, The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus. Audience Q&A will follow.

The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus is a critical account of the history of Andalusian music in Iberia from the Islamic conquest of 711 to the final expulsion of the Moriscos (Spanish Muslims converted to Christianity) in the early 17th century. This volume presents the documentation that has come down to us, accompanied by critical and detailed analyses of the sources written in Arabic, Old Catalan, Castilian, Hebrew, and Latin. It is also informed by research the author has conducted on modern Andalusian musical traditions in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria.

While the cultural achievements of medieval Muslim Spain have been the topic of a large number of scholarly and popular publications in recent decades, what may arguably be its most enduring contribution – music – has been almost entirely neglected. The overarching purpose of this work is to elucidate as clearly as possible the many different types of musical interactions that took place in medieval Iberia and the complexity of the various borrowings, adaptations, hybridizations, and appropriations involved.

Dwight Reynolds is Professor of Arabic Language & Literature in the Department of Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara and affiliate faculty member of the Department of Music, Department of Theater and Dance, the Program in Latin American and Iberian Studies, and the Comparative Literature Program. He is the author of Arab Folklore: A Handbook (2007) and Heroic Poets, Poetic Heroes: The Ethnography of Performance in an Arabic Oral Epic Tradition (1995). He is the editor and co-author of The Cambridge Companion to Modern Arab Culture (2015) and co-editor, with Scott Marcus and Virginia Danielson, of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: Vol. VI, the Middle East and Central Asia (2002). He is also section editor for and contributing author to The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: the Post-Classical Period  (Part IV: Popular Prose; 2006). In 2010 with his team he published the online digital archive housing field recordings, field notes, historical background, Arabic texts, English translations, photographs and a special “virtual performance” mode for the Arabic oral epic poem Sirat Bani Hilial.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment


February 18, 2021
4:00 pm - 4:45 pm
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