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This chapter focuses on some of the leading ideas about music articulated in Arabic and Persian writings between the second and eighth centuries of Islam. The engagement of Muslim philosophers with their readings of Plato and Aristotle provides a strong impetus for reflection on the nature of music and poetry. Arabic writings on music followed three principal lines of inquiry: music as a branch of mathematics, music making as a topic of belles-lettres and the forms of listening that are legitimate from various religious perspectives. Conceptions of the nature and potential value of musical knowledge are formed in relation to ideas about the nature and relative value of other areas of learning and other spiritual disciplines. Throughout the Muslim world, orally transmitted lore has continually found its way into treatises with scientific pretensions, thereby gaining an aura of authority that makes it all the more useful in oral pedagogy.