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Taqsim Nahawand: A Study of Sixteen Performances by Jihad Racy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 February 2019

Bruno Nettl
Affiliation:
School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
Ronald Riddle
Affiliation:
New College, Sarasota, Florida
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Extract

This study is an attempt to gain insight into an aspect of the process of improvisation in Middle Eastern music. In contrast to a number of studies which generalize about this topic, the purpose here is to provide concentrated documentation on the way in which a single Arabic performer improvises in one maqam, using one form or genre. In this respect, our study is somewhat similar to Nettl and Foltin, which attempts to show the range of improvisatory techniques and of performance types used by Persian musicians when performing one portion of a dastgāh or mode, the darāmad of chahārgāh. It is also related to a study by Ruth Katz which compares two generations of singers from a limited population group, performing one genre in an Arabic-Jewish musical tradition.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 1974 By the International Folk Music Council 

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References

1. This study is part of a series of studies on improvisation in West Asian music undertaken by and under the direction of Nettl. In this case, Nettl is responsible for the basic plan of research and for writing the draft, as well as for some of the analytical work. Riddle made the transcriptions and did much of the analysis. We are indebted, of course, to Jihad Racy for making the recordings and for clarifying a number of questions. (His contribution is described in detail in the body of the paper.) We also gratefully acknowledge the help of the University of Illinois Research Board in making possible Racy's and Riddle's contributions to the project. Nettl's portion of the work was carried out while he was an Associate of the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study. The numbering of the transcriptions and references to performances follows the numbering of Collection No. 92, University of Illinois Archives of Ethnomusicology.Google Scholar

2. See, for example, Habib, Hassan Touma, “The Maqam Phenomenon: an Improvisation Technique in the Music of the Middle East,” Ethnomusicology, 15 (1971), 38–48; Idem., Der Maqam Bayati im arabischen Taqsim (Berlin, 1968); Edith Gerson-Kiwi, The Persian Doctrine of Dastga-Composition, (Tel-Aviv, 1963); Idem., “On the Technique of Arab Taqsim Composition” in Musik als Gestalt und Erlebnis (Vienna, 1970), pp. 66–73; Alfred Berner, Studien zur arabischen Musik (Leipzig, 1937); and Hormoz, Farhat, The Dastgāh Concept in Persian Classical Music (Unpublished dissertation, UCLA, 1966).Google Scholar

3. Bruno, Nettl, with Béla, Foltin Jr., Darāmad of Chahārgāh, a Study in the Performance Practice of Persian Music, (Detroit, 1972).Google Scholar

4. Katz, Ruth, “The Singing of Baqashôt by Aleppo Jews,” Acta Musicologica, 40 (1968), 6585.Google Scholar

5. Touma, Der Maqam Bayati … pp. 18–19.Google Scholar

6. Ibid., p. 19.Google Scholar

7. Ibid., pp. 93–95.Google Scholar

8. We are indebted to Jihad Racy for notes regarding his use of the buzuq. Google Scholar

9. Berner, Op. cit., pp. 68–69.Google Scholar

10. Touma, “The Maqam Phenomenon …”, 43. See also Gerson-Kiwi, “On The Technique of Arab Taqsim Composition,” p. 68.Google Scholar

11. See, for example, Touma, “The Maqam Phenomenon,” p. 41.Google Scholar

12. See Farhat, Op. cit., passim; and Nettl and Foltin, Op. cit., p. 14.Google Scholar

13. Nettl and Foltin, Op. cit., p. 46.Google Scholar

14. For a definition of Dulab, see Rodolphe d’ Erlanger, La musique arabe, Vol. 6, (Paris, 1959), pp. 180–81.Google Scholar

15. This study, carried out by Nettl in the middle 1950's, remains unpublished but is mentioned in his “Some Linguistic Approaches to Musical Analysis,” Journal of the International Folk Music Council, 10 (1958), 40. In this study, it was possible to divide a taqsim section into segments, each dominated by a specific type of melodic contour—scalar, undulating, closing formula, etc. It seemed most convenient to analyze the structure by plotting the distribution of the various types of melodic movement, and it was possible thereby to show structural patterns that establish a norm, and that limit departures. In certain details, such as general melodic movement (use of 2nds), general rhythmic character, closing and opening formulae, these taqasim are very much like those of Racy. In other respects they are quite different but share with Racy's performances their basic characteristics of structural patterning.Google Scholar

16. Katz, Op. cit. Google Scholar

17. As indicated above in footnote 15, and as is stressed in all of the publications mentioned here.Google Scholar

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