Medieval Arab Music and Musicians

Three Translated Texts


Medieval Arab Music and Musicians offers complete, annotated English translations of three of the most important medieval Arabic texts on music and musicians: the biography of the musician Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī from al-Iṣbahānī’s Kitāb al-Aghānī (10th c), the biography of the musician Ziryāb from Ibn Ḥayyān’s Kitāb al-Muqtabis (11th c), and the earliest treatise on the muwashshaḥ Andalusi song genre, Dār al-Ṭirāz, by the Egyptian scholar Ibn Sanā’ al-Mulk (13th c).
Al-Mawṣilī, the most famous musician of his era, was also the teacher of the legendary Ziryāb, who traveled from Baghdad to al-Andalus and is often said to have laid the foundations of Andalusi music. The third text is crucial to any understanding of the medieval muwashshaḥ and its possible relations to the Troubadours, the Cantigas de Santa María, and the Andalusi musical traditions of the modern Middle East.
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Dwight Reynolds, Ph.D. (1991), is professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has published monographs and articles on Arabic literature, folklore, and music including The Musical Heritage of al-Andalus (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2020).

part 1: The Biography of Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī


The Biography of Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī
[Kitāb al-aghānī, Vol. V – 1964 rpt. of Dār al-Kutub Edition, pp. 154–258]
Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī’s Genealogy and Various Anecdotes about Him

part 2: The Biography of Ziryāb


The Biography of ʿAlī ibn Nāfiʿ, Known as Ziryāb
[Ibn Hayyān, Kitāb al-muqtabis: al-Sifr al-Thānī (al-Riyāḍ: 2003), pp. 307–335]
On Singing: Information about Ziryāb, the Greatest Singer of the Land of al-Andalus

part 3: Ibn Sanāʾ al-Mulk’s Dār al-Ṭirāz


Contents of Dār al-Ṭirāz fī ʿAmal al-Muwashshaḥāt
[The House of Brocade on the Composition of Muwashshaḥāt]

The House of Brocade on the Composition of Muwashshaḥāt
[Dār al-ṭirāz fī ʿamal al-muwashshaḥāt] by Ibn Sanāʾ al-Mulk (c. 1155–1212)
All readers interested in Early Music, medieval Muslim Spain (al-Andalus), the history of Arab music, Sephardic Jewish culture, Arabic poetry, especially the muwashshaḥ genre, and the culture of medieval Iberia.
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