Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Qayna (Arab.: ‘female slave musician’)locked

  • Owen Wright


Most of the famous female musicians in the earlier history of Arab music belong to this category. The main providers of entertainment music for the wealthy already in pre-Islamic times, qaynas were later to become an indispensible part of court life. Those who showed aptitude would receive a broad education, not only in singing and instrumental performance, but also in literature and other essentials of refined culture; and those who had looks to match their abilities as singers and instrumentalists were highly prized, often becoming the concubines and even occasionally the wives of caliphs. The disruptive passions that they could provoke (and manipulate), and the lengths to which their admirers were prepared to go, are vividly portrayed in the ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.