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Department of Music, School of Arts

Music of the Near and Middle East and North Africa

Course Code:
Course Not Running 2015/2016
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year
This is a two-term course serving not only as a survey of the many distinctive musics of the Middle east and North Africa, but also as a forum for critically examining the performative spaces where music, religion, politics and power intersect.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • recognize aurally and contextualise sociohistorically and culturally the major music traditions of the non-Jewish Middle East and of Africa north of the Sahara. 
  • describe the theoretical bases (Including e.g. melodic and rhythmic modes) of the classical traditions
  • be conversant with various debates about these musics with reference to gender, politics, identity etcetera

In addition there will be an opportunity to develop skills in transcribing (notating) music, for those who choose to focus on this in a coursework project.

Scope and syllabus

The course will cover:

  • modal and rhythmic fundamentals
  • instrumental and vocal forms
  • the permissibility of music in Islam
  • the basics of music theory in the Middle East
  • the historical development of the art-music tradition
  • music and gender
  • nationalism and music
  • the impact of technology
  • Westernization and modernization
  • popular music and world music

Method of assessment

Exam (35%), 2 x Coursework (50%) and Aural Exam (15%)