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Music and Musicians in the Medieval Islamicate World: A Social History
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Music and Musicians in the Medieval Islamicate World: A Social History (Hardback)

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In the early medieval Islamic world (800-1300 CE), discourses concerned with music and musicians were wide-ranging and contentious, and expressed in works on music theory and philosophy as well as literature and poetry. But in spite of attempts by influential scholars and political leaders to limit or control musical expression in this way, it permeated all layers of the social structure.

Lisa Nielson here presents a rich social and cultural history of music, musicianship and the role of musicians in the early Islamic world. Focusing primarily on Damascus, Baghdad and Jerusalem, Lisa Nielson draws on a wide variety of textual sources written for or about musicians and their professional/private environments - including chronicles, literary sources, memoirs and musical treatises - as well as the disciplinary approaches of musicology to offer insights into musical performances and the lives of musicians. In the process, the book sheds light onto the dynamics of medieval Islamic courts, as well as slavery, gender, status and identity in courtly life. It will appeal to scholars of the Islamic world and historical musicologists.

Lisa Nielson is an Anisfield-Wolf fellow at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland and Director of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women. She received her PhD from the University of Maine and, before re-training as an Arabist, worked as a musician.

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