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Wright, Owen (1969) The modal system of Arabian and Persian music, 1250-1300: An interpretation of contemporary texts. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The period 1250-1300 witnessed the emergence of a corpus of musical theory which was to provide a framework for most of the important treatises composed during the following centuries. One aspect of the theory is examined here: the analysis of scale (intervals and combinations of intervals); and on the basis of this examination an attempt is made to present a coherent picture of one aspect of musical practice: the modal system. The introduction discusses the relationship between Arabian and Persian music, and describes briefly the attitudes towards music prevalent in Islamic society and their effect upon the literature. Part 1 presents a critique of the preconceptions involved in the analysis of intervals, and an annotated transcription of the species and fixed scales recorded during the period. Part 2 begins by examining the various groups to which the modes were assigned in order to ascertain whether they can be justified on purely structural grounds. Consideration of the criteria employed in determining grades of consonance is followed by a discussion of the modal system in terms of basic units and the ways they combine. Comparison between two accounts of the system suggests a pattern of historical development; and also that the earlier account misrepresents certain features. Part 3 continues the examination of the later eiccount. Further material from this is given, revealing a second set of unit combinations which is compared and contrasted with the first. Finally, the examples of notation are transcribed and briefly discussed. The relevant texts are presented in part 4.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:28

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