Table of Contents

Chapter 57: Music

“To some people music is like food, to others it is like medicine, and to others like a fan.”
Alf Lailah wa Lailah

These prefatory lines, serve as they do to provide a text on the lintel of the doorway to this subject, reminds one how widely dissimilar is the attitude of Islamic peoples towards the art and practice of music to that of others; music is indeed “like food,” since it often sustains when all else fails. You can scan Greek literature in vain for any such parallel sentiments. Music in its literal connotation was alien to Greek philosophy.

Aristoxenus certainly dealt with it, but his approach, devoid of the slightest hint of philosophic appeal per se, was a purely scientific one.1 It is true that the Pythagoreans had given a foretaste of the Islamic spiritual conception of music, but that was in the dim and distant past of Greece. What is more in keeping with the Greek evaluation of this art is to be found in Athenaeus of Naucratis (fl. 200 A. D.), whose utterances are mere entertaining chatter.2

A. The Music in Itself

“This art...is the foraging ground of audition, and the pasturage of the soul, and the spring grass of the heart, and the arena of love, and the comfort of the dejected, and the companionship of the lonely, and the provision of the traveller, because of the important place of the beautiful voice in the heart and its dominating the entire soul.”
Ibn ‘Abdi Rabbihi, al-‘Iqd al-Farid.

After reading the prologue to this chapter, one cannot help realizing how vastly different are the sentiments of Islamic peoples from those of the peoples of Greece and Rome on the assessment of music. And by music we mean that art which the noblest minds in Islam believed to be capable of being informed with and ennobled by thought, and in turn to adorn and enforce thought, and to be thus understood and felt. No better example of that percipience is to be found than one in the utterances of the Ikhwan al-Safa of the fourth/tenth century of Basrah, the home of the learning, who spoke of music as “an art compounded between the corporeal and the spiritual.”3

To these transcendental philosophers “all the arts had bodily forms except the art of music, whose substance was a spiritual essence.” With what felicity do the “Brethren” laud that type of music “which softens the heart, brings tears to the eyes, and makes us feel penitent over past misdeeds.” How well they knew the value of those soothing melodies “that lightened the pain of disease and sickness,” and those affecting airs which “comforted the aching hearts and eased the grief of the afflicted in times of calamity.” More practical still was their recognition of those songs “that relieved the toil of heavy work and wearisome undertakings,” as well as that music which gathered “joy, pleasure, and happiness...at weddings and banquets.”4 Indeed a veritable ocean of literature in praise of music has flowed down to us from the Islamic past, whilst poets have sung the sweetest verses in adulation.5

On the other hand, there have been many pious and honourable men among the legists (fuqaha’) who have considered music a useless pastime (lahw) which sometimes became an urge to commit actions which were unlawful (haram) or abhorred (makruh). Among those who condemned divine art were some of the most sincere of the Muslims, from ibn Abi al-Dunya (d. 281/894) in his “Censure of Forbidden Pleasures” (Dhamm al-Malahi),6 to Shihab al-Din al-Haithami (d. 973/1565) in his “Restraint of Impetuous Youth” (Kaff al-Ra‘a‘).7 Nobody can censure those opponents of music who sincerely believed that it was among the things prohibited (muharramut), since even Christian Europe linked “wine, woman, and song” among the “idle pleasures” (malahi).

Yet, strictly speaking, the objections of the purists in religion to “listening to music” (al-sama‘) has no logical raison d’etre. Calligraphy cannot be blamed on account of forgers, nor can accountancy be condemned because of defalcators. It would be just as illogical to forbid fruits and viands because of their concomitance with wine and woman as to censure music owing to its proximity to the latter. Music, per se, is neither good nor evil, although it may accompany both, yet it cannot be categorized or submitted to predicament.

In spite of all our probing and searching we still do not know the inner causes of emotion. Al-Farabi (d. 339/950) denied that music inspired a passion or soul-state.8 His guess was that music, whether in the performer or the listener, was itself inspired by a passion or soul-state. Ibn Zailah (d. 440/1048) held much the same view. He says, “When sound (saut) is adorned by harmonious and mutually related composition, it stirs the soul of man...Beginning on a low note and ascending to a high note, or vice versa, according to a particular arrangement and a known composition, it becomes related to the sentiments of the soul of man. As one note (naghmah), after another changes in the music, one state after another changes in the soul.

One composition will transport the soul from weakness to strength, and another from strength to weakness...Therefore, the composition which is possessed of certain sounds is possessed of certain qualities by which the soul is influenced.”9 All that is manifest to the meanest observer, but no one has yet told us what those “qualities” are. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 606/1209) states a more “up-to-date” opinion, and this, in substance, is what he has to say, “In the animal world sounds come into existence by reason of grief, pain, or joy. Those sounds, according to these circumstances, are different, being high or low, so, the law of association, those sounds become bound up with the different mental states which prompt them. Thus, when those sounds are renewed, they inevitably call up the related mental states, which may be grief, pain, or joy.”10

From the purely Islamic point of view, ibn Zailah also raises a point worth mentioning. He says, “Sound produces an influence on the soul in two directions. One is on account of its special composition (i.e. its physical content), the other, on account of its being similar to the soul (i.e. its spiritual content).”11 A Persian mystic, al-Hujwiri (fifth/11th century), divides those who listen to music into two categories: those who listen to the material sound and those who hear the spiritual meaning. That ecstatic maintained that those who heard spiritually did not apprehend mere notes (naghamat), modes (maqamat), or rhythms (iqa‘at), but music per se, insisting that such audition “consists in hearing everything as it is in quality and predicament.”12

That doctrine takes us to the very core of Sufi teaching in which “listening to music” under such spiritual control conduces to ecstasy, which leads to a revelation of the Divine. Did not Schopenhauer suggest that the world itself is but music realized, and was not that what the Ikhwan al-Safa had taught a thousand years earlier?

Yet of all the great thinkers of Islam no one has probed to the heart of the problem with such power of persuasion and solicitude of purpose, and reached a conclusion of such profundity as al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111). How penetrating are his words, “Hearts and innermost thoughts are mines of secrets and treasuries of precious stones. Within their confines are jewels which are as sparks contained in iron and steel...And there is no other way of extracting their secrets except by the flint of ‘listening to music’ (al-sama‘), because there is no means of reaching the hearts except through the portals of the ears.13 ...Verily, ‘listening to music’ is a factual touchstone,… for as soon as the soul of music reaches the heart, it brings out whatever pre-dominates in it.”14 That was also the dominating thought of Abu Sulaiman al-Darani (d. c. 205/820), who averred that “music and singing do not produce in the heart that which is not in it.”

As our opening lines from the Alf Lailah wa Lailah reveal there is much more in music than its being merely an ancillary to those things which are unlawful and abhorred, and those who base their objection to music on the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith must know that they can be answered by proofs to the contrary from these identical and revered sources.15 Ibn Khaldun (d. 808/1406), the greatest of the philosopher-historians of Islam, did not touch directly on the question of al-sama‘ in the legal aspect. We do not know his reasons for that apparent neglect, but the fact that he devotes a chapter in his Prolegomena to music is sufficient proof of his attitude, which was that of the rational man.

To him, man was a social animal who was good by nature.16 It follows, therefore, that man should seek to satisfy certain natural desires in his leisure hours, such as the need for healthy relaxation, the wish to acquire knowledge, and the urge to listen to sweet music.17 All such longings were perfectly reasonable, and since man could discern what was good or evil in those desires, he could, by experience, make such desires always beneficial both socially and spiritually, provided the intention in those desires were good. If that were the case, the desires were lawful.18

The Sufi and the darwish have eloquently defended their attitude in the usage of music in their ceremonials by proofs that are unanswerable by its condemners. Perhaps the most trenchant defence was made by the brother and successor of the great al-Ghazālī, who was known as Majd al-Din al-Tusi (d. 520/1126), and this is what he said, “If anyone says that audition is absolutely unlawful, he has declared forbidden in the law that about which no statute has come down, since no statute forbidding audition and dancing has come down in the Book of Allah, or in the usage of Allah’s Apostle, or in the words of the Companions (of the Prophet). And he, who declares to be forbidden in the Law anything which is not in it, has invented something against Allah, and he who invents anything against Allah is an infidel by general agreement.”19

Yet we, in this work, are primarily concerned with the purely secular approach, although it may unavoidably include that which is divine. Not only is the case for secular music unassailable, but the teaching, acquisition, and practice of it can be proved to be rational since it affords healthy exercise to the body, mind and emotions. It has been said that “men die for want of cheerfulness as plants die for want of light.” And, what can supply that want better than music? Therein is refreshment for the body, cheer for the mind, and relief for the emotions, or, more grandiloquently, the repairing of lost energies, the soothing of chafed sensibilities, and the kindling of finer feelings and aspirations.

Everybody knows, especially in Islam, the wondrous power of the “beautiful voice,”20 particularly in the reading (qir’ah) of the Qur’an and the chanting of the “call to prayer” (adhan). They give back musical impressions which not only delight the ear but thrill the soul, because that chanting harmonizes with the divine message.21 And why should not secular music per se do likewise, since there seems to be a natural alliance between radiant music and moral beauty? Surely man’s faculties and susceptibilities for the acquisition and enjoyment of music were not bestowed but that they should be a glory to the Giver and a joy to the possessor, for they are as essential to the social and spiritual welfare of man as the influence of the sun and rain is to be the fruitfulness of the mother earth.

“Get way from evil and sing”
(Ab‘id al-sharr wa ghanni).

Syrian Proverb

B. The Music Lovers

“I like the man who cultivates poetry for self-instruction, not for lucre; and the man who practises music for pleasure, not for gain.”
Ibn Muqlah (d. 238/940)

Since Islam was born among the Arabs and was cradled in the Hijaz, one must give prior consideration to these two important facets. In the “Days of Ignorance” (al-jahiliyyah) music was practiced in the whole of Arabia by the matrons of the towns and tribes as well as by professional singing-girls (qainat). These not only cheered many a home and encampment, but strengthened the resolve of those in the battle throng, as we read in the Hamasah. Their singing (ghina’) was based on a simple type of song called the nasb which was but an improved form of camel-driver’s chant (huda’). They accompanied themselves on an instrument of strings (muwattar), although more generally it was a harp-like instrument (mi‘zafa), a percussion wand (qadib), or a tambourinte (mizhar).22

In default of the latter they could adapt the perforated skin sieve (ghirbal) for that purpose: this received the approval of the Prophet later.23 When Islam came upon the world of intellectual darkness, the first male musician to make history was Tuwais (d. c. 88/705). He accompanied himself on a square tambourine (daff), and when performing would perambulate along the lines of his audience.24

The wide conquests of the Arab armies, notably in Persia and Syria, had sent crowds of captives into the towns of the Hijaz. Among these were singers and players whose alien types of music captivated the people of Mecca and Medina. The result was that Arab musicians found themselves compelled to master the new kinds of singing and playing. That was only one of the many cultural influences which affected Arabian modes of life, for “when the revelations of the Prophet flashed on the world, a message was delivered which could not be confined to the Hijaz, the cradle of Islam. As a result, the banner of the Prophet was planted eastward at the extremities of Transoxiana, southward by the banks of the Indus, northward to the shores of the Black Sea, and westward on the slopes of the Pyrenees.”25

As we march through the pages of the history of music we shall see how manifold artistic ingredients contributed to Islamic civilization. Al-Hirah, the capital of the Arab Lakhmids, had already imbibed much of Persian culture including the lute (‘ud).26 The Meccans had used a rustic type of pandore (mi‘zaf) which had a parchment “face” (wajh), but as the Persian lute (barbat) had a “face” of wood, the Meccan lute was called the ‘ud (wood). The holy cities of the Hijaz resounded with strains of music and song,27 and the artistic career of the songstress ‘Azzat al-Maila’ (d. c. 88/705) in the Hijaz attested to that fact.

At her auditions the greatest musicians, poets, litterati, and the most distinguished citizens, including ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja‘far, a cousin-germain of the Prophet, took part. Even Hassan ibn Thabit, the first poetic extoller of Islam sang her praises.28 Among the great musicians of the glorious days of the Orthodox Caliphs (al-rashidun) were Sa’ib Khathir (d. c. 83/683), Hunain al-Hiri (d. c. 100/718), and Ahmad al-Nasibi, a kinsman of the poet A‘sha Hamdam (d. 82/701).29

The Umayyad caliphs removed their capital from Medina to Damascus, where their Courts, with the exception of that of ‘Umar II (d. 101/720), were thronged with singers and players. Of al-Walid (d. 126/744) it was said that “the cultivation of music spread not only among the leisured class, but with the people also.”30 Those were the flourishing days of the great virtuosi whose names adorn the pages of Islamic history, notably ibn Muhriz (d. c. 97/715), ibn Suraij (d. c. 108/726), al-Gharid (d. c. 106/724), and Ma‘bad (d. c. 127/743), usually dubbed as “the four great singers.”31 Such was Islam, the territories of which knew no racial boundaries, which those four musicians were foreigners by blood, the first being of Persian origin, the second of Turkish descent, the third and fourth claiming respectively Berber and Negro extraction.32

Because of such a large-hearted tolerance of racial differences it is quite explicable why the hybrid and exotic in music became an allurement and fascination. Through Islam the technical nomenclature in music was almost wholly Arabic, and that was still the case when the first Persian treatises on music appeared in the eighth/14th century.33 Still, the Arabs borrowed the Persian chang (harp) which they confusedly called the sanj and jank. They also adopted the Persian tuning (taswiyyah) of the lute, and the frets (dasatin) on the neck of the instrument.34

When the first of the ‘Abbasid Caliphs, al-Mansur (d. 158/755), built that wondrous city of Baghdad, it soon became not only the capital of the vast dominions of the Caliphate, but the cultural centre of Islam. The early ‘Abbasid period has well been styled “the Augustan Age of Arabian literature,”35 although an even greater encomium could be justly used in respect of music during that era, if we take the golden pages of the “Great Book of Songs” (Kitab al-Ahani al-Kabir) as our authority. The first outstanding ‘Abbasid minstrel was Hakam al-Wadi (d. c. 180/796), a singer and performer who carried all before him.36

Almost as exquisite were the vocal accomplishments of ibn Jami‘ (d. c. 189/804).37 He had been taught by the doyen of the Court minstrels, Yahya al-Makki (d. c. 215/830), the fountain head of the old music of the Hijaz. Indeed his “book about the Songs (Kitab fi al-Aghani) was a repository of the classical art;38 his son Ahmad (d. 250/864) issued a revised edition of 3,000 songs39 Greater still was Ibrahim al-Mausili (d. 189/804) who outshone all others by his versatility. Nine hundred compositions stood to his credit, whilst his training school for singing girls became renowned.40

Fulaih ibn Abi al-‘Aura’ was another favoured singer, being the only one allowed to appear – professionally – without the customary curtain (sitar) which screened the musicians from the Caliph. Fulaih, with Ibrahim al-Mausili and ibn Jami‘, compiled a collection for Harun al-Rashid known as “The Hundred Chosen Songs” (al-Mi’at al-Saut al-Mukhtarah).41 Prince Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi (d. 224/839)42 and his step-sister Princess ‘Ulayyah (d. 210/825)43 had both been carefully trained in music at the instance of Caliph Harun, at whose Court music received so munificent a patronage that it set the whole world in wonderment.

Prince Ibrahim possessed a voice with a compass of three octaves, and was considered the “most proficient in mankind” in that art.44 By that time the impingement of Persian and Khurasanian novelties in music became quite pronounced. Singing girls from Khurasan were “the rage.” They performed on a long necked pandore (tanbur) which gave an alien scale, whilst the Persian lute produced a scale that was dissonant to the Arabian system, as we shall see in Section C. Prince Ibrahim and his henchmen favoured these exotic ideas, and even applauded the open violation of the recognized patterns in both the melodic and rhythmic modes.

This defiance of the old classical procedure divided the Court minstrels into two camps, viz. the “Romanticists” led by Prince Ibrahim, and the “Classicists” headed by the chief Court minstrel Ishaq al-Mausili (d. 235/850), the most famous of the musicians of the Muslim world.45 Against those neoteric fancies, Ishaq took a firm stand, and eventually was able to re-establish the old Arabian scale and modes, which seem to have been set down in his “Book of Notes and Rhythm” and his “Great Book of Songs.”46

After the mid-third/ninth century, the Baghdad Caliphate began its political decline, although music still prospered at its Courts. Al-Mutawakkil (d. 247/861) gave constant encouragement to that art. His son, Abu ‘Isa ‘Abd Allah, was an accomplished musician and a composer of some 300 songs.47 Al-Muntasir (d. 248/862) was both a poet and a musician; the words of his songs have been preserved in al-Isfahani who devotes a chapter to him.48 Another such devotee was al-Mu‘tazz (d. 255/869), whose songs have also been saved for us.49 His son, ‘Abd Allah, was a highly gifted musician who penned a “Comprehensive Book on Singing” (Kitab al-Jami‘ fi al-Ghina’), the first of its kind, although Prince Ibrahim too, had written a “Book on Singing.”50

Yet if the Court minstrels did not produce virtuosi of the same class of old, that defect was overcome by their pens, notably by ibn Tahir al-Khuza’i (d. 300/913) who wrote a “Book about the Modes and the Reasons for the Songs” (Kitab fi al-Nagham wa ‘Ilal al-Aghani),51 Qurais al-Jarrahi (d. 326/936) in his “Art of Singing and Stories of the Sinbers” (Sina‘at al- Ghina’ wa Akhbar al-Mughanniyyin), Jahzat al-Barmaki (d. c. 328/938) who published a “Book of Pandorists” (Kitaqb al-Tanburiyyin), and the great al-Isfahani who produced “The Propriety of Listening to Music” (Adab al-Sama‘).52

Turning to the west, we see the same high cultural uplift in Muslim Spain as in the home of the Eastern Caliphate. After the Arabs and Berbers had conquered (91/710) the Iberian Peninsula, a vast portion of the land was held by them until the year 479/1086 and during that period, especially under the Umayyad rulers, music and all the arts were cultivated ardently. Singing girls, called jariyyat, were in great demand, and schools for their training had been established.53 Yet those who came from the East were especially favoured, such as the famed lutanist ‘Afza’ at the Court of ‘Abd al-Rahman I (d. 172/788),54 while al-Hakam I (d. 206/822) was especially proud of ‘Uklun and Zarqun.55

His chief male minstrels were ‘Abbas ibn Nasa’i and Mansur al-Yahudi.56 Concerts were the “order of the day.”57 At the palace of ‘Abd al-Rahman (d. 238/852), there arrived in the year 206/821 the world famous Ziryab, who was treated with unheard-of esteem, for he had been taught by Ibrahim and Ishaq al-Mausili in Baghdad. He was credited with knowing 10,000 (1,000?) songs by heart, and for being the equal of Ptolemy in his knowledge of music. It was he who added a fifth string to the lute, linking it – in the cosmic system – with the soul. The musical system in al-Andalus was that of the Arabian east, the scale being the Pythagorean. Zirab’s music school – which had some reputation – was carried on after his death by his descendants, and was still flourishing in the days of the “Party Kings,” while traces of it could be found in North Africa in the eighth/14th century.58

Under ‘Abd al-Rahman III (d. 350/961) we have an anomalous situation of the Court outwardly condemning music – so as to placate the Maliki legists who frowned on music – but inwardly patronizing it, since he encouraged his children not only to dabble in the art, but to rise virtuosity. One of them excelled on the pandore (tanbur) and guitar (kaitarah),59 whilst another, Abu al-‘Asbagh, said that so long as Allah permitted birds to sing he would do likewise.60 In the reign of al-Hakam II (d. 366/976) concerts became special events,61 and under al-Mahdi (d. 400/1009 orchestras of a hundred lutes (idan) and as many reed pipes (zumar) could be heard in the palace salons.62 Those were the brilliant days of ibn ‘Abdi Rabbihi (d. 328/940) who, in his al-‘Iqd al-Farid, gave Muslim Spain some idea of the greatness of the music of the Eastern Caliphate. He was a veritable treasure-chest of Andalusian poetry and song.63

We know little of Persian music in those early days save what may be gleaned from the Muruj al-Dhahab of al-Mas‘udi (d. c. 345/956), who quoted ibn Khurdadhbih (d. c. 300/912).64 As we have seen, both Persia and Arabia borrowed from each other in matters musical, and we know that Persian as well as Arabian music was being taught at Rayy in the time of Ibrahim al-Mausili.65 Certainly there were several brilliant writers in music in Baghdad who were of Persian origin, notably al-Sarakhsi (d. 286/899)66 ‘Ubaid Allah ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir (d. 300/913),67 and Zakariya al-Razi (d. 313/925).68 A famous singer of the Tahirid period was Ratibah of Nishapur,69 and so also was the renowned Rudagi – patronized by the Samanid Nasr II (d. c. 331/942) – a lutanist and harpist, as well as a singer and poet.70

Most of the contemporary poets, such as al-Mi‘mari of Jurjan and al-Daqiqi of Tus, sang in rapturous praise of music.71 Persian music percolated everywhere, Turkomanian influence also made itself felt. The Caliph’s praetorian guards at Baghdad and elsewhere were made up of men of Turkoman race, and they dominated in most things. In such circumstances it can be well understood how Turkomanian music, especially on the instrumental side, was highly appreciated. A lute-like instrument called the rud was favoured by them, and an arch-lute the shahrud, invented by Khulais ibn al-Ahwas of Samaraqand about 306/918, had already spread to Iraq, Syria, and Egypt.72

In Egypt under the Tulunid and Ikhshidid rulers of the third/ninth and the fourth/tenth centuries, Turkoman influence spread by leaps and bounds, and music was enjoyed by all. Ibn Khallikan praises the excellent voice of ibn Tulun when chanting the Qur’an, while his son Khumarawaih actually adorned his palace walls with pictures of his singing girls.73 The art rose to greater heights under the next rulers. Al-Mas‘udi delineated a delightful scene at a palace by the Nile in 330/940 in which the “sounds of music and singing filled the air.”74 Kafur (d. 357/968) was devoted to music and was liberal-handed to its professors.

What was this music of Islam, enthralling sounds of which charmed all ears from Bukhara in the east to Cordova in the west? Obviously, there were linguistic differences and indigenous musical preferences in so vast a region. Yet Islam, because of its universal outlook, had leavened some of those diversities. Basically, the scale of all was the Pythagorean, as we shall learn presently.75 Yet Arabic technical terminology seems to have had dominion everywhere, as one sees in the term maqam. Unmistakably, Baghdad was still the artistic and literary centre, for even Abu Bakr al-Kativ, who served the Samanid Isma‘il ibn Ahmad (d. 295/907), saw in Iraq “an ocean of learning and a mine of culture.”76

If one scans the nisbahs of the great men of literature, science, art, and music who sought Baghdad to win fame and fortune, it becomes clear what a magnet the “City of Peace” had become to the world of Islam.77 To the Arabic-speaking peoples, vocal music was the peerless art. Part of that was due to the beauty of the language, plus the allurement of its variegated metres. The outstanding vocal piece was the ode (qasidah). Within its folds a singer could decorate the melody of each verse with endless embellishments (tahasin). Less classical, but far more popular was the ballad (qit‘ah). There were also folk songs of the mawal type, and we know that even the Caliphs enjoyed the simple songs of the people.78

The accompanying instruments were generally the lute, pandore, flute (qassabah), or reed pipe (zamr), which played the simple melody, whilst the rhythmic accompaniment was furnished by a tambourine or drum. Purely instrumental items were also featured, especially as interludes between vocal items. When these were combined the performance was termed a naubah.79 Although we read occasionally of a hundred or so performers at Court functions, such events were for special display. The ideal in ‘Abbasid days when listening to music was what Europe would term “Chamber music.” Two other instruments, which had independent usage were the psaltery (qanun) and the rebec (rabab). The former was a special solo instrument, whilst the latter was often used to accompany the chanted verse of poets, which had been its function in pagan days.

Since Arabic was still the language of the “classes” in Persia, one imagines in which much has passed from the immaculate and indefectible in Arabic poetry and song was heard in Iranian lands as late as the fourth/tenth century, notably under the Saffarids and Samanids. The Persians, less intrigued by the lengthy Arabic ode (qasidah), produced a pure love song (ghazal) and the quatrain (ruba‘i), one class of the latter, the ruba‘iyy taranah, showing its musical adaptation. The melodic modes in Persia were far more numerous in different tonal structures than those of the Arabs and they retained their older fanciful names such as ‘ushshaq, Isfahan, salmaki, etc. although most of them had scalar affinities with the Arabian finger modes (asabi‘). Their most favoured instruments were the harp (chang), pandore (tanbur), lute (barbat), double chested lute (rabab), spiked voil (kamanchah), flute (nay), and tambourine (da’irah).

The Baghdad Caliphate had gone into the protective custody of the Persian Buwaihids (320 – 404/932 – 1015), at whose palaces – as well as at those of the Caliphs – music was subventioned with liberality. In fact, the regime of ’Izz al-Daulah was condemned because of its infatuation for music.80 ‘Adud al-Daulah was more discreetly interested in the art.81 However, the power of the Baghdad Caliphate – both politically and culturally – was gradually slipping away, and the centre of Islamic culture passed meanwhile to the Fatimids of Egypt. Here Amir Tamim, the son of al-Mu‘izz (d. 365/975), was absolutely appassioned of music,82 and no less could be said of al-Zahir (d. 427/1036), who spent fabulous gold on minstrels.83

The Persian traveller Nasir-i Khusrau wrote about the splendour of the Fatimid military bands a little later.84 One of its famous men, al-Sadafi, better known as ibn Yunus (d. 399/1009), wrote a book the title of which sparkles with delight. It was called the “Book of the Unanimities and Felicities in the Praises of the Lute” (Kitab al-‘Uqud w-al-Su‘ud fi Ausaf al-‘Ud).85 Another, great historian, al-Musabbihi (d. 420/1029), compiled a book of “Selected Songs and Their Significance” (Mukhtar al-Aghani wa Ma‘aniha).86 We still discern the Turkomanian pressure on Egypt’s music, due to the crowd of men from the Qirghiz steppes in its army, and that was only one facet of the “new phase of culture” which arose in Egypt in those days.87

Although Muslim Spain had “advanced with incredible swiftness to a height of culture that was the envy of Europe,” the break-up of the central government and the rise of the “Party Kings” halted the progress of the arts for a time. Yet here and there were some hallowed spots of culture. Indeed, a few of these “Party Kings” (muluk al-tawa’if) ‘made their Courts the homes of poets and minstrels,” as al-Maqqari testifies. The last of the ‘Abbasid kings of Seville, al-Mu‘tamid (d. 484/1091), was not only a distinguished poet, but a singer and a lutanist, as was his son ‘Ubaid Allah al-Rashid.88 The song-poems of ibn Hamdis (d. 527/1132) were the delight of the Sevillians. When the Almoravid Berber hordes from the Maghrib suppressed the “Party Kings,” music came to be looked upon as one of the “wiles of Satan,” although the older Muslim inhabitants took little heed of such rebukes.

Their successors, the Almohades, under the fiat of ibn Tumart (d. 524/1130), made decrees against music more stringent, even to the destruction of instruments. Yet there were many who opposed these fanatical legists, including ibn Quzman (d. 555/1160), the song-writer par excellence, who chided with puritans saying, “The faqih cries ‘Repent’; but how can one be contrite with the air so fragrant, the birds warbling, the flowers perfuming, and music (ghina) from a clever reed-piper (zamir) and a heavenly voice?” Yet, in spite of fulminations, music and songs were heard on every side.

The newly fashioned zajal and muwashshah were so easy to set to melodies that the same tune would be adapted to different words, as ibn Quzman tells us, and songs spread like the wind in the matter of months as far afield as Baghdad, as ibn Sa‘id al-Maqhribi (d. 685/1286) avers.89 Among the best known Andalusian composers were Abu al-Hussain al-Hamrah al-Qarnati and Ishaq ibn Sim‘an al-Qartabi. The highest in the land were enchanted by the art. Ibn Bajjah (d. 533/1138), according to ibn Khaqan, “spent his life singing and playing,” whilst a celebrated physician Yahya ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Bahdabah, wrote zajals for the accompaniment of wind instruments.90

Returning to the hub of Islam, we find that the Saljuq Turks had irrupted into the land, Baghdad having been entered in 447/1055. Their rulers took charge of the Caliphs, and they and their later atabegs controlled the world of Islam from the borders of Afghanistan to the frontiers of Greece. All of them were keen lovers of music, and the favoured minstrel of Sanjar (d. 552/1157) was Kamal al-Zaman, whose cognomen indicates his renown.91 Further east the Ghaznawids and Ghurids were patronizing minstrelsy at their courts. Mahmud of Ghaznah (d. 421/1030) had the poet Farrukhi as his panegyrist, who was also a “skilful performer on the harp” (chang).92

Among the Ghurids of Afghanistan and Hindustan, especially at the Court of Ghiyath al-Din ibn Sam (d. 599/1200), music was encouraged bountifully.93 Greater still was the favour shown to the art by ‘Ala al-Din Muhammad (d. 617/1220), the Shah of Khwarizm, who gave Fakhr al-Din al-Razi protection.94 In Baghdad the chief minstrel of the Caliph al-Musta‘sim (d. 656/1258) was Safi al-Din ‘Abd al-Mu’min (d. 693/1294). His greater fame is an author notably for his “Book on Prosody” (Fi ‘Ulum al-‘Arud w-al-Qawafi w-al-Badi‘), but greater still for his two books on the science of music which brought him world renown.95 In the year 656/1258, the Mughul conqueror Hulagu, invaded the famous city of Baghdad, the centre of the world of Islam, and captured it. Ibn Khaldun avers that 600,000 inhabitants were slaughtered, including the Caliph and his family, and although Safi al-Din was spared because of his eminence as a musician, scholars and litterateurs were massacred as cruelly as libraries, colleges, and palaces were destroyed.

These Mughul barbarians, who had become masters from the borders of Egypt to India, were converted to Islam, and, softened by its culture, they made music one of the delights of their Courts, and the murdered Caliph’s minstrel, Safi al-Din, passed into the service of the Mughul vizier Shams al-Din al-Juwaini. Ibn Taghribirdi tells us that Abu Sa‘id (d. 736/1335) “cultivated music, played well on the lute, and composed songs,” and ibn Battutah (d. 778/1377) describes the royal galley at Baghdad, flanked by boats filled with musicians and singers.96 By this time Persian, not Arabic, had become the language of art and science in the Middle East, and from Persian works we are able to see what types of instruments were in vogue.

In addition to the older lute and pandore was a new arch-lute (mughni) and a rectangular psaltery (nuzha), together with a Turkoman viol (ghishak), whilst the pandore was more particularly described as a two-stringed (dutar) or a three stringed (sitar) instrument.97 It was Egypt alone that offered a stubborn resistance to the Mughuls, and its Mamluk Sultans, like their predecessors, the Ayyubids, favoured music and song. Here the muwashshah, had been popularized by ibn Sana’ al-Mulk (d. 608/1211) in his Dar al-Tiraz, and al-Saruji (d. 693/1294) bettered the instruction as a song-writer, while ibn Mukarram (d. 711/1311) edited a collection of older songs which had wide acceptance.98

Al-Nuwairi (d. 732/1332) also devoted much attention to the subject in his Nihayat al-Arab.99 It was the Sultan Qala’un (d. 689/1290) who built the hospital (maristan) at Cairo, where “music soothed the wakeful hours to the sufferers.”100 An outstanding feature of the Bahri and Burji Mamluk Sultans was their military bands,101 which opened the eyes of the Crusaders to the value, both tactically and musically, of martial music.102

Sind had been conquered by Muslim armies as far back as the year 92/711, but it was with Ghurids of Afghanistan that modern Pakistan had is real foundation 571/1175 at the hands of Muhammad Ghuri (d. 602/1206). Here, the powerful fuqaha’ were able to enforce views in condemnation of music upon Iltutmish, the Sultan of Delhi (d.633/1235), who, later, having been impressed by the sama‘ of the Chishti darwish fraternity, soon abolished that ban against the art, when the plaintive chanting of its qawwals became a distinctive feature throughout the land, as we know from the Siyar al-Auliya’. Secular music was openly encouraged by Firuz Shah I (d. 634/1236), and the Tabaqat-i Nasiri says that his bounty to musicians led him to be called “a second Hatim.”

Under Balban (d. 686/1287) one evening per week was devoted to audition of music. The succeeding Khalji Sultans, the first of whom was Firuz Shah II (d. 696/1295), were all music-lovers. At the Court of the latter were Hamid Rajah, Nasir Khan, and Muhammad Shah Hutki, all noted musicians, although the greatest of them all was Amir Khusrau (d. 725/1325), who was “no less notable as a musician than a poet.” He had served at the Courts of the two preceding Sultans. In his Qiran al-Sa‘dain, he has described the Court music of his time. In the I‘jaz Khusrawi, he tells of the rivalry between the Khurasan and Hindustan minstrels at Court. It is said that a fusion between Persian and Indian music was brought about by him, and in the book called Rag Darpan many novelties in music are attributed to him.

Music was still to the fore with the Sayyid dynasty, and Mubarak Shah II (d. 837/1433) was deeply attached to the art. On the elevation of the Lodhi Sultans to the throne in 855/1451 there was a change of attitude towards music. Yet Sikandar II (d. 923/1517) employed four exceptional performers on the harp (chang), psaltery (qanun), pandore (tanbur) and gourd-lute (bin), only the last named instrument being of indigenous origin. In the extreme north the kings of Kashmir were ruling a famed “land of song” since 735/1334. Among the most cultured of them was Zain al-‘Abidin (d. 872/1467), during whose reign music schools were established by Persian and Turanian teachers, which won some celebrity.

In the Deccan, one of the kings of Gulbargah named Taj al-Din Firuz Shah (d. 825/1422) had 700 damsels who were skilled musicians and dancers. His brother, however, was never absent from the darwish ceremonials, where the religious chant gave him contentment of a different kind. Both Ahmad Shah I (d. 839/1435) and Ahmad Shah II (d. 862/1457) were captivated by their Court minstrelsy, and the wife of the latter, says Firishtah, was without equal in her musical accomplishments. The singers and dancers of Muhammad Shah II (d. 887/1482) came from Georgia, Circassia, and Albyssinia. So indulgent was his successor Mahmud Shah II (d. 924/1518) in his passion for music that minstrels were attracted to his Court not only from Delhi and Lahore, but also from distant Persia and Khurasan. Truly, Muslim India was in the forefront in music among her sister nations.103

Persia was reawakened culturally under the beneficent Muzaffarids. The renowned Shah Shuja‘ of Shiraz (d. 786/1384) patronized the minstrel Yusuf Shah and the music theorist al-Jurjani (d. 816/1413). The art was particularly conserved by the Jalairid Sultans of Iraq. Hussain (d. 784/1382) actually neglected his realm through his abiding love for music, whilst the greatest living musicians, Ridwan Shah and ‘Abd al-Qadir ibn Ghaibi (d. 840/1435), were the chief Court minstrels of Sultan Ahmad (d. 813/1410).104 When Timur (d. 807/1405) had accomplished his world-wide conquests, most of the above kingdoms passed into the night, and Samarqand became the artistic as well as the political centre of the Timurid Empire.

During the reign of Shah Rukh, (d. 850/1447) the Court minstrelsy rose to perfection, and the fetes have been eloquently described by ‘Abd al-Razzaq.105 Yusuf-i Andakani was his favoured minstrel for he “had no equal ... in the seven climes.”106 Miran Shah (d. 810/1408), the brother of Shah Rukh, was also infatuated with music as discoursed by al-Khatib al-Mausili and Ardashir-i Changi. Baisunghur (d. 836/1433), the son of Shah Rukh, was devoted to Amir Shahi (d. 857/1453), possessed of three-fold talents as minstrel, poet, and painter. Under the guidance of the vizier Mir ‘Ali Shir (d. 907/1501) the rule of the last of the great Timurid rulers Hussain Mirza Baiqara (d. 911/1506) became the byword of the cultured world of Islam, and the names of his minstrels – Qui-i Muhammad, Shaikhi Nayi and Hussain ‘Udi – became a part of history.107

In Muslim Spain, in spite of the increasing re-conquests by the Spaniards in the seventh/13th century, the Moors still held that part of the land known as Granada. Here they were hemmed in from all sides, and in 897/1492, they were forced to capitulate. Then followed the most despicable persecutions and ruthless destruction of Arabic literature which had been treasured for centuries. Moorish music and instruments were declared anathema, although that did not prevent the Moors from finding solace from their woes in their music. All that the Spanish priesthood could do was to issue edicts forbidding their congregations to listen to those mouriscas and aravias of the Moors.108 In the mid-tenth/16th century, they were not only denied their national costume, language, and customs, but forbidden the zumrah and lailah, i.e. the musical gatherings.109

The whole of the Maghrib – from Morocco to Tunis – had been deeply influenced by the culture of Andalus, and both the Marinid rulers of Morocco and the Hafsid rulers of Tunis had encouraged music at their Courts. Yet more bountiful was the revivification of the art due to the exodus of the Muslim exiles from Spain. The first of these arrived at Tlemcen after the fall of Cordova in 633/1236, followed by another to Tunis at the capture of Seville in 646/1248. Then came refugees to Tetuan after the submission of Granada in 897/1492, which was succeeded by an emigration to Fez from Valencia in 943/1526, and finally the wholesale expulsion of 1018/1609.

These newcomers brought a cultural benefit to the Maghrib, and the Moriscos became the artistic and literary aristocracy of the land. In music, one can actually trace the regional variations in classical Granati or Andalusi art to those immigrants. The Cordovan interpretation belongs to Algiers and Tlemcen, the Sevillan style is that of Tunis, while the Granadan and Valencian modes are to be fund in Fez and Tetuan.110

The Ottoman Turks now became a power in the world of Islam to be reckoned with. Having settled originally in Anatolia, they soon extended their power in every direction, and by the year 857/1453 Constantinople and the whole of the Byzantine Empire were in their hands. After defeating the Shah of Persia, they took Kurdistan and Mesopotamia into their hegemony, finally to overrun Syria, Egypt, and Arabia after crushing the Bahri Mamluks in 922/1517. From that date Turkish music began to assert itself gradually in Arabic-speaking lands and beyond, even as far as Tunis and Algiers where Turkish beys and deys were masters.

From remote times to ozan or bard of the Turkish tribes, with chogur or qopuz in hand – they were lute-like instruments – entertained the people with the turku or folk-song. That had not changed, but a new era had dawned since Constantinople had become – by edict only – the pivot of Islam, and it was no wonder that artists, musicians, poets, and literary men should have sought fame and fortune in the new capital, as well as in the pashaliks of Cairo, Damascus, Mosul and Baghdad. Instrumental music had ever delighted the Turks, and the overture (pishrau) and the decorative “divisions” (taqasim), which had been constituent parts of the old Perso-Arabian naubah, were in great demand.

The poets sang eloquently of the joy of instrumental music in the ninth/15th century, notably Nizami of Quniayh and Ahmad Pasha, and Sultan Murad II (d. 855/1451) enticed the finest minstrels to his Court. Nor should we allow the influence of the maulawiyyah or Jalaliyyah dervish communities, founded by Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 672/1273), to escape our notice, since they hymns (ilahis) had a great spiritual influence. In the next century, the poets Fighani, Fusuli, and Rewani still continued to rhapsodize on music’s spell. The instruments praised were mostly of Arabian or Persian origin, although the Turkish qopuz had its share of appreciation.111 New instruments came on view.

Quduz Farhadi invented the qaraduzan, a lute of three strings, and a son of Hamdi Chelebi (d. 915/1509) introduced two new pandores called the yonqar and yaltmah.112 During the 11th/17th century music took a prominent part in the general cultural improvement, as we know from a manuscript of Cairo by Mulla Muhammad ibn As‘ad, of the time of Sultan Ahmad (d. 1026/1617), which contains the lives of the famous Turkish musicians.113 Ewliya Chelebi was famed in those days. His teacher was ‘Umar Gulshani, who was taught by Ibrahim Gulshani of Cairo (d. 940/1533). The description of the musical life of Constantinople is contained in the “Travels of Ewliya Efendi” (Siyahat Nameh); much of it, based as it is on the Ausaf-i Qustantiniyyah (Praises of Constantinople) composed in the year 1048/1638, gives precise details of musicians and instruments, guilds and makers, in the great emporium of the Near East.114

In that century there arose the poet-minstrels (saz sha‘yrleri) who were honoured not only in military but also in religious circles. One direct influence from outside came after the capture of Baghdad in 1048/1638 by Murad IV, who took back with him to Constantinople the Court minstrel of the Persian Shah ‘Abbas I, named Shah Quli, whose performances on the shashtar had pleased him.115 The late Ra‘uf Yekta thought that the advent of Shah Quli “opened a new era in the history of Turkish music.”116

In the Muslim east the ‘Adil Shahs of Bijapur, the first of whom was Yusuf ‘Adil Shah (d. 916/1511), were revealing themselves as munificent patrons of musicians. Yusuf ‘Adil Shah had a skill in music almost equal to that of a professional and even essayed composition. Isma‘il (d. 941/1534) rather favoured Turanian and Persian music at his Court. Per contra, Ibrahim I (d. 965/1557) preferred the arts of the Deccan. Ibrahim II (d. 1035/1626) is claimed to have written a work on music called Nauras with an introduction penned by Zuhuri, the Persian poet (d. 1027/1618).

The Qutbi Kings of Golkunda were no less enthralled by minstrelsy. Sultan Quli (d. 940/1543) brought Persian customs to his Court – which lasted 40 years – and his military naubah sounded at the five hours of prayer. In those days the Gwlior School of Music was the subject of conversation. Its renown was due chiefly to Rajah Man Singh (d. 932/1517), and the most famous of its students was Tan Sin, who had been taught by Muhammad Ghauth. Another of the same circle was Bakhshu, whose dhurpads became the repertory of the best minstrels. When Babur (d. 936/1530) became the first of the Mughul Emperors of Hindustan (India), most of the preceding dynasties were absorbed. He had been reared in Courts where music prevailed.117

From the statements in the Babur Nameh it would seem that the Emperor was even a composer, and it is believed that his compositions once existed.118 His son Humayun (d. 963/1556) also encouraged music, and sincerely believed that the Sufi dance was the complete expression of the hikmat-i ilahi. At Court, musicians had their special days for audition, and some of them – ‘Abd Allah Qanuni, Muhammad Surna’i, and the vocalists of Hafiz Dost Muhammad Khwafi and Ustad Yusuf Maudud – are registered in the Akbar Nameh. The Court of the renowned Akbar (d. 1014/1605), as described in the A’in-i Akbari of Abu al-Fadl, shows how important music was both to the policy and the taste of the Emperor.

The musicians were formed into seven groups, 36 of whom are named in Abu al-Fadl’s work. He was catholic in his choice for not only were minstrels selected from famed Kashmir and Gwalior, but the best of them came from Herat and Khurasan, and they were singers, chanters, and instrumentalists. More than half of these had Muslim names. The Emperor is said to have himself composed 200 items of music. Among the art treasures of his day there is one depicting the arrival of Tan Sin at his Court. Abu al-Fadl tells us of the widely spread net that was cast to capture the best of vocal music – the dhurpad of Gwalior, the chind of the Deccan, the qual and taranah of Delhi, the kajri or zikri of Gujrat, the bangula of Bengal, and the chutkalah of Jaunpur.

Jahangir (d. 1037/1627) followed his father in his love of music, has favoured minstrel being Shauqi, who sang Hindi and Persian songs in way that “cleared the rust from human hearts.” There is a portrait of him in Fox Strangway’s Music of Hindustan.119 Many other musicians of Jahangir’s Court are mentioned in the Tuzuk-i Jahangiri and the Iqbal Nameh. In the first named work is described the military band of this Emperor. Shah Jahan (d. 1068/1658) made the Court music one of the glories of his reign. It was he who collected the dhurpads of the Gwalior composer Bakhashu, which numbered one thousand items. On the wedding of his son, Aurangzib (d. 1119/1707), he expended a small fortune on music alone.

Alas, when Aurangzib ascended the throne he dispensed with his Court minstrelsy, to the dismay of the people at large. Fortunately, Bahadur Shah (d. 1124/1713) reinstated the musicians and raised them to mansab ranks. By this time, owing to internecine strife, the great Mughul Empire began its political and cultural decline.

Of the state of music in Persia during the 11th/17th century, we know but little save what the pictorial art reveals, although at the brilliant Court of ‘Abbas I (d. 1038/1629) the older instrumental art still held its own.120 Four European travellers – Raphael du Mans, Chardin, Poullet, and later Kaempfer – supply many important details. A picture of the Court minstrels of Safi I (d. 1052/1642) – actually portraits – has been preserved.121 Persia seems to have been less troubled by the objections of the legists to al-sama‘ than was the case elsewhere. Perhaps they still remembered Hafiz who once said, “When the harp is sounding who cares about the objector?”

Yet there were some Persians, for example, Muhammad ibn Jalal Ridwi (d. 1028/1619) and ‘Abd al-Jalil ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman (d. 1061/1651), who replied at length to the legists.122 Incidentally, Chardin shows that the Indian vina was used in Persia as the kingira,123 and even Mersanne (1046/1636) delineated it in Europe.124 Strangely enough, it is mentioned by the Arabic writer al-Jahiz (d. 255/869), who writes it – probably a scribal error – as kinkila, and it is also specified by al-Jurjani (d. 816/1413).125 By the 12th/18th century, when Nadir Shah (d. 1160/1747) brought a brief resurgence to Persia’s greatness, many had disappeared, although the dulcimer (santir) found a place.

Iraq and Mesopotomia, now in the hand of the Turks, favoured only the Turanian art. Baghdad was the centre of this imported culture, and it spread to Hillah and Basrah. To the north, Kurdish tastes prevailed. The most artistic centres were those where the Mamluk pashas had control, and where Georgians and other Caucasians were given preferment, which meant that quite a new Oriental type of music gained ground.126 Karsten Niebuhr, after visiting Baghdad in that century, gave a fair description of its music. He noted the use of what he called a base continue by accompanying instruments, although he seems to have meant a point d’orgue or pedal point.127 He mentions and delineates three types of pandore, and the rectangular and spiked viols.

Syria was little better off, as we know from the books of Alexander and Patrick Russell written the 12th/18th century.128 They aver that the Allepans were “fond of music,” and in their performances the instruments generally were well in tune, and...kept excellent time.

  • 1. The Harmonics of Aristoxenus edited with translation...By Henry S. Macran, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1901.
  • 2. The Dieomonophists, Enlish translation by J. E. King, Heinermann, London, 1 937, 6, Book 14.
  • 3. Kitab ikhwan al-Safa, ed. Ahmad ibn ‘Abd Allah, Bombay, 1306 – 07/1888 – 89, 1, p. 84.
  • 4. Ibid., 1, pp. 85 – 87.
  • 5. Al-Nuwairi, Nihayat al-Arab, Cairo, 1925, v. pp. 113 et seq. Muhammad ibn Isma‘il, Safinat al-Mulk, Cairo, 1892, p. 464.
  • 6. J. Robson, Tracts on Listening to Music, London, 1938.
  • 7. W. Ahlwardt, Verzeichnis der arabischen Handschriften der...Bibliothek zu Berllin, 1887 – 99, No. 5517.
  • 8. R. d’Erlanger, La Musique arabe, Geuthner, Paris, 1930, 1, p. 39.
  • 9. Kitab al-Kafi fi al-Musiqi, British museum MS., Or. 2361, f. 220v.
  • 10. Jami‘ al-‘Ulum, British Museum MS., Or. 2972, f. 153.
  • 11. Loc. cit
  • 12. Koshf al-Mahjub tr. R. A. Nicholson, Brill,m Leiden, 1911, p. 403.
  • 13. Cf. Cicero, who spoke of the eyes as “windows of the soul.”
  • 14. Al-Ghazālī, Ihya’ ‘Ulum Al-Din, Cairo, 1326/1908, vol. 2, pp. 88, 182.
  • 15. H. G. Farmer, History of Arabian Music, Luzac, London, 1929, Chap. 2.
  • 16. Ibn Khaldun, Prolegomena, Notices et Extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Ntionale, Paris, 1858, 16, p. 155, 17, pp. 42, 363.
  • 17. Ibid., 16, p. 365.
  • 18. Ibid., 17, p. 254.
  • 19. J. Robson, op. cit., p. 93.
  • 20. Ibn ‘Abdi Rabbihi, al-‘Iqd al-Farid, Cairo, 1305/1887, 3, p. 177, tr. H.G. Farmer, in Music: The Priceless Jewel, Bearsden, 1942, p. 6.
  • 21. Although some urge that one must discriminate between takbirs (raising the voice) and ghina (singing), the fact remains that purely secular melodies were used. See “La Qir’ah bi al-Alhan” by M. Talbi, in Arabica, Leiden, 1958, 5, pp. 183 – 90.
  • 22. H. G. Farmer, A History of Arabian Music, London, 1929, Chap 1.
  • 23. Al-Ghazālī, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 206.
  • 24. Al-Isfahani, Kitab al-Aghani al-Kabir, Bulaq, 1285/1869, 2, pp. 170 – 76; Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden, 1913 – 38, 4, p. 983.
  • 25. H. G. Farmer, in the New Oxford History of Music, Oxford University Press, London, 1956, 1, p. 421.
  • 26. Idem, Studies in Oriental Musical Instruments, Reeves, London, 1932, 1, pp. 91 – 99.
  • 27. Idem, Music: The Priceless Jewel, Bearsden, 1942, pp, 9 – 17.
  • 28. Al-Isfahani, op. cit., 26, pp. 13 – 20.
  • 29. Ibid., 7, pp. 188 – 90; 2, pp. 120 – 27; 5, pp. 161 – 64.
  • 30. Al-Mas‘udi, Les praires d’or..., Paris, 1861 – 77, 6, p. 4.
  • 31. Al-Isfahani, op. cit., pp. 98, 151; 2, p. 127.
  • 32. Ibid., 1, pp. 19 – 29, 97 – 129, 150 – 52; 2, pp. 128 – 48.
  • 33. Kanz al-Tahaf, British Museum MS., Or. 2361, f. 247 5.
  • 34. A. U. Pope, A survey of Persian Art, O. U. P., London, 1938, p. 2790.
  • 35. H. G. Farmer, A History of Arabian Music, London, 1929, p. 99.
  • 36. A.l-Isfahani, op. cit., 6, pp. 64 – 68.
  • 37. Ibid., 6, pp. 69 – 92.
  • 38. Ibid., p. 16.
  • 39. Ibid., 15, p. 63.
  • 40. Ibid., 5, pp. 2 – 48.
  • 41. Ibid., 1, pp. 2, 4 – 6.
  • 42. Ibid., 10, pp. 120 – 32.
  • 43. See Mas‘ud Hassan Shamsi, “Ulayya, a Less Known ‘Abbasid Pricness,” Islamic Culture, Hyderabad, April 1937.
  • 44. Al-Isfahani, op. cit., 9, p. 49.
  • 45. Ibid., 5, pp. 52 – 131.
  • 46. Ibn al-Nadim, Kitab al-Fihirist, Leipzig, 1871 – 72, pp. 141 – 43.
  • 47. Al-Mas‘audi, op. cit., 6, p. 191; 7, p. 276; al-Isfahani, op. cit., 9, p. 104.
  • 48. Al-Isahani, op. cit., 8, pp. 175 – 78.
  • 49. Ibid., 8, p. 178.
  • 50. Ibn al-Nadim, op. cit., p. 116.
  • 51. Al-Isfahani, op, cit., 8, p. 43.
  • 52. Ibn al-Nadim, op. cit., p. 115.
  • 53. J. Ribera, La Musica de las cantigar, Madrid, 1922, pp. 53 – 74.
  • 54. Al-Isfahani, op. cit., 20, p. 149; alpmaqqari, Analectes aur l’histoire et la literature des Arabes d’Espagne, Leiden, 1885 – 61, 2, pp. 97 – 98.
  • 55. Ibn Khaldun, op. cit., 17, p. 361.
  • 56. Al-Maqqari, op. cit., 2, p. 85.
  • 57. Al-Khushani, Historia de la jueces de Cordoba, Madrid, 1914, p. 88.
  • 58. Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913 – 38, Suppl. vol., pp. 266 – 67.
  • 59. Al-Maqqari, op, cit., 2, p. 396.
  • 60. Ibid., 1, p. 250.
  • 61. Ibn Hazm, Tauq al-Hamamah, Leiden, 1914, p. 29.
  • 62. R. Dozy, Historia de los Musulmanes Espagnoles, Sevilla, 1877, 3, p. 348.
  • 63. Cairo edition, 1301; see H. G. Farmer, Music: The priceless Jewel, London, 1942.
  • 64. Al-Mas‘udi, op. cit., 8, pp. 90 – 91.
  • 65. Al-Isfahani, op. cit., 5, p. 3.
  • 66. H. G. Farmer, Sources of Arabian Music, Bearsden, 1940, p. 22.
  • 67. Al-Isfahani, op. cit., 8, p. 43.
  • 68. Ibn Abi Usaibi‘ah, ‘Uyun al-Anba’, Konigsberg, 1882 – 84, 1, p. 320.
  • 69. Minhaj Siraj, Tabaqat-i Nasiri, tr. H. G. Raverty, London, 1881 1, p. 153.
  • 70. E. G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia, University Press, Cambridge, 1, p. 456.
  • 71. Ibid., 1, pp. 458 – 59.
  • 72. R. D’Erlanger, op. cit., 1, p. 42.
  • 73. Al-Maqrizi, al-Mawa‘iz, in Memoires de l’Institut Francais d’Archeologie Orientale, Cairo, 1906, 3, pp. 217 – 18
  • 74. Al-Ma‘udi, op. cit., 2, pp. 364 – 65.
  • 75. See Section C.
  • 76. E. G. Browne, op. cit., 1, p. 406.
  • 77. Ibid., loc. cit.
  • 78. Al-Isfahani, op. cit., 21, p. 101.
  • 79. Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913 – 39, 3, p. 885.
  • 80. J. Amendroz and D. S. Margoliouth, The Eclipse of the ‘Abbasid Caliphate, Oxford, 1920 – 21, 2, p. 234.
  • 81. Ibid., 3, pp. 41, 68.
  • 82. Ibn Khallikan, Biographical Dictionary, Paris-London, 1843 – 71, 3, p. 494.
  • 83. Al-Maqrizi, op. cit., p. 355.
  • 84. Safar Namah, Paris, 1881,pp. 43, 46 – 47.
  • 85. W, Agkwardt, op. cit.
  • 86. Hajji Khalifah, Kashf al-Zunun, Peipsiz, 1835 – 39, 1, p. 367.
  • 87. Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913 – 39, 1, p. 223
  • 88. R. Dozy, Scriptorum Arabum de Abbasidis, Leiden, 1846 – 63, 1, p. 394; 2, p. 16.
  • 89. J. Ribera, op. cit., p. 72.
  • 90. Ibid.
  • 91. Mihaj Siraj, op. cit., 1, p. 153.
  • 92. Nazami-i ‘Arudi,Chahar Maqqalah, Lonton, 1910, p. 38.
  • 93. Minhaj Siraj, op, cit, 1 pp. 387 – 88, 404
  • 94. H. G. Farmer, Sources, p. 45.
  • 95. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Suppl. vol. pp. 191 – 92.
  • 96. Ibn Battutah, Voyages, Paris, 1853 – 58, 2, pp. 116 – 17.
  • 97. H. G. Farmer, “Persian Music,” in Grove’s Dictionary of Music, 1654, 6, pp. 676 – 82.
  • 98. Idem, “Egyptian Music,” ibid, 2, pp. 891 – 97.
  • 99. Cairo edition, 1344/1925, 5, pp. 1 – 122.
  • 100. S. Lane-Poole, A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages, London, 1901, p. 284.
  • 101. H. G. Farmer, “Table Khanah” Encyclopaedia of Islam, Suppl. Vol. pp. 217 – 22.
  • 102. Idem, “Oriental Influences on Occidental Music,” Islamic Culture, Hyderabad, April 1941, pp. 235 – 38.
  • 103. Idem, “Pakistani Music,” Urdu Encyclopaedia of Islam.
  • 104. Journal Asiatique, Ser. 4, 5. 1845, p. 448; Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden 1954, 1, p. 66.
  • 105. Notices et Extraits des Manuscrit de la Bibliotheque du Roi, Paris, 1843, 14, p. 137.
  • 106. Daulatshah, Tadhkirat al-Shu‘ara, London, 1901. p. 350.
  • 107. Babur Nameh, tr. A. S. Beveridge, London, 1921, pp. 272, 291 – 92.
  • 108. J. Ribera, op. cit., p. 76.
  • 109. H. G. Farmer, in Grove’s Dictionary of Music, 5, pp. 863 – 76.
  • 110. See “Maghribi Music,” Urdu Encyclopaedia of Islam.
  • 111. E. J. W. Gibb, History of ottoman Poetry, London, 1900 – 09.
  • 112. H. G. Farmer, Turkish Instruments of Music in the 17th Century, Glasgow, 1937, pp. 37 – 38.
  • 113. Tarikh Turki, vols. 2 and 3, dar al-Kutub, Cairo.
  • 114. Narrative of Travels...in the 17th Century by Evliya Efendi, London, 1846 – 50, 1, pp. 225 – 28, 238 – 40.
  • 115. D. Cantemir, The History...of the Othman Empire, London, 1734, pp. 248 – 49.
  • 116. Encyclopedie de la Musique, Paris, 1922, p. 2980.
  • 117. Urdu Encyclopaedia of Islam, s.v. “Pakistani Music”
  • 118. Babur Nameh, tr. A. S. Beveridge, London, 1921, 1, p. 422.
  • 119. The Music of Hindustan, Oxford, 1914, p. 83, where he is called “Numa Khan.”
  • 120. C. Hurt, in A. Lavignac, Encyclopedie de la musique, p. 3073.
  • 121. A. U. Pope, op. cit. p. 2802.
  • 122. British Museum MS., Or. 2361, ff. 2 v., 15.
  • 123. Voyages du Chevalier Chardin, Amsterdam, 1735, 3, pp. 158 – 61.
  • 124. Harmonie Universelle, Paris, 1636 – 37, 2, Traite de instrumens, p. 228.
  • 125. British Museum MS., Or. 2361.
  • 126. Grove’s Dictionary of Music, 1954, 4, pp. 528 – 33.
  • 127. Voyage en Arabic, Amsterdam, 1776 – 80, 1, pp. 142 – 51.
  • 128. The Natural History of Aleppo, London, 1756, pp. 93 – 96, edition 1794, 4, pp. 150 – 57.