1-15 of 15 results  for:

  • Religious or Ritual Musician x
Clear all

Article

Abing  

Jonathan P.J. Stock

[Hua Yanjun]

(b Wuxi, Jiangsu province, Aug 20, 1893 or Nov 3, 1898; d Dec 4, 1950). Chinese folk musician. The illegitimate or adopted son of Daoist priest and musician Hua Qinghe in the city of Wuxi, Hua Yanjun also became a Daoist musician, performing in ritual instrumental ensembles and mastering several instruments, including pipa four-string lute and erhu two-string fiddle.

With Hua Qinghe’s death in the mid-1920s, Hua Yanjun inherited a small amount of property. However, visits to local brothels resulted in his contraction of gonorrhoea, leading eventually to blindness. At about this time, Hua appears to have become an opium smoker. Unable now to take part in Daoist ensembles, Hua, under the name Abing, became a street musician, specializing in extemporized songs based on local news. He also performed pipa, erhu and the three-string lute sanxian. Abing has typically been described as the archetypal Chinese folk musician; following political and social trends in China, he has been portrayed at various times in articles, books, film and an eight-part TV series as working-class revolutionary, romantically inspired composer and Daoist musical craftsman....

Article

Dimitri Conomos

[Bardesanes]

(b Edessa [now Urfa], July 11, 154; d Edessa, 222). Syrian hymnographer, astrologer and philosopher. Born into a pagan priestly family, he was educated by a pagan priest but baptized as a Christian, and in 179 he was ordained deacon and priest. Later denounced as a heretic and excommunicated (c216), he fled to Armenia and there taught a kind of astrological fatalism. Bardaisan has been erroneously regarded as a leader of the oriental school of gnosticism founded by Valentinus. His theology, which in fact combined Christian doctrine with astrological and philosophical speculation, is known from the works of later Christian writers such as Eusebius and Ephrem Syrus, who strongly denounced it, and from Bardaisan’s own Dialogue with Antonius concerning Destiny (or Book of the Laws of the Lands), which is the oldest surviving document in Syriac.

Bardaisan wrote many hymns (madrāshe) in Syriac, which his disciples translated into Greek. They included 150 psalms in pentasyllabic metre, reportedly modelled on those of David, through which he popularized his heretical doctrines (Bardaisan’s son Harmonius is said to have written the tunes). The stanzas of the ...

Article

David  

James W. McKinnon

(fl c1010–961 bce). Founder, king and charismatic ruler of the united kingdom of Israel. He occupies a central position in Jewish and Christian musical tradition.

The story of David is told in the books of Samuel, dating from nearly contemporary sources, and 1 Chronicles, from the 4th century bce, containing material of somewhat lesser reliability. He was obviously a man of special talent. Born the youngest son of Jesse (Yishai), a sheep herder from Bethlehem, he acquired, by a combination of prowess at arms, vision, opportunism and force of personality, the kingship of Judah upon the death of Saul, united it to the northern provinces of Israel, established his court at Jerusalem and conquered the neighbouring rivals of Israel within an area stretching from the frontier of Mesopotamia to Egypt. His political achievement, which showed signs of disintegration in his later life, was never again equalled in ancient Israel. Thus he became the ideal of Jewish kingship and was also closely related to the Messianic ideal. These ideals carried over into Christianity so that a medieval ruler like Charlemagne was referred to as the ‘novus David’, and Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Christians accepted as the Messiah, was, according to the Gospels, the ‘son of David’ of the ‘tree of Jesse’....

Article

Maria Lord

(b Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, March 24, 1776; d Ettayapuram, Tamil Nadu, October 21, 1835). South Indian composer and musician. He was a member of the Karnatak trimūrti (‘trinity’) of singer-saints (see also Tyāgarāja and Śāstri, Śyāma). Unlike the other two composers of the ‘trinity’, Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar was born into a musical family. While he was still young his parents took him to Manali, an estate outside Madras, where his father, Rāmasvāmi Dīkṣitar, had been asked to perform. It was there that Muttusvāmi received his first training in vīṇā and vocal music from his father. At the age of 15 he accompanied a yogī on a pilgrimage to Varanasi, where he remained for five years. This period in the North is said to account for his long and serious compositions, which may be influenced by dhrupad. He is known as a bhakta of Devi and Subrahmanya, whose ...

Article

Eliyahu Schleifer

(b Kiev, June 1, 1898; d Tel-Aviv, Jan 27, 1964). Israeli cantor and composer of Ukrainian birth. Born into a family of cantors (both of his grandfathers were cantors, as was his father), he made his cantorial début in Kiev at the age of eight. At the age of 14 he became the choir director at his father's synagogue, where he helped to introduce the 19th-century polyphonic repertory. He studied the piano and theory at the Totovsky Conservatory and later counterpoint and composition with Glière. In 1920 he moved to Chişinău, now in Moldova, where he served as cantor and continued his studies with Abraham Berkowitsch (known as Kalechnik), an authority on cantorial recitatives. After emigrating to the USA in 1926 he served as cantor for congregations in New York and Los Angeles. His extensive recordings with Asch and RCA Victor made him famous in Ashkenazi Jewish communities. In ...

Article

Article

Stephen Jones

(b Xi′an, 1895; d Xi′an, 1977). Chinese priest and instrumentalist. Master of the ceremonial instrumental ensemble music known as Xi′an guyue, ‘drum music’ (or ‘ancient music’) of Xi′an. Given to the Chenghuang miao temple in Xi′an in 1911 in the wake of the chaos surrounding the fall of the Qing dynasty, he soon mastered the complex instrumental ensemble music of the temple, performing rituals there through the troubled following decades. In 1946 he established a research association for the music; although practice of such music was severely limited after the Communist Revolution in 1949, he continued to transmit the music, in part through his collaboration with the local scholar Li Shigen on the large repertory of scores in traditional gongche notation. Early scores were lost in the Japanese bombing of the temple in 1942, and it suffered further in the Cultural Revolution (1966–76). Although the Chenghuang miao ensemble was formally discontinued in ...

Article

Article

Nicholas Temperley

(b London, Aug 12, 1825; d Hereford, April 6, 1889). English church musician, scholar and composer. His father, Sir Gore Ouseley (1770–1844), a noted orientalist, was successively ambassador to Persia and to Russia, and was made a baronet in 1808; he was also an amateur musician, and helped found the Royal Academy of Music in 1822. His only son, named after the boy’s godfathers, Frederick, Duke of York, and Arthur, Duke of Wellington, was educated at home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. In 1840 he was sent as a pupil to James Joyce, vicar of Dorking, who instructed him in the classics and theology. In 1843 he entered Christ Church, Oxford, and the following year inherited his father’s title and estate. He graduated BA in 1846 and received the DMus in 1854. From 1846, when he moved to London, he sang as a lay member of the newly surpliced choir of St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, under its Tractarian vicar W.J.E. Bennett; after his ordination in ...

Article

Stephen Jones

(b nr Wuxi, 1902; d 1981). Chinese Daoist ritual drum master . Zhu Qinfu was a Daoist priest and master of the ritual music of the southern Jiangsu area known as Shifan gu and Shifan luogu. Brought up in a family of Daoists in Wuxi, he also frequented the élite Tianyun she society. Around 1940 he set up a group of outstanding Daoist musicians called Shi wuchai. His close collaboration with the musicologist Yang Yinliu from 1937 resulted in major and influential publications on the local Shifan music. In 1947 he led performances in Shanghai; though published and broadcast, the recordings have not apparently survived the Cultural Revolution.

Under the People’s Republic of China, in 1952 Zhu was incongruously enlisted to the orchestra of the Central Opera and Ballet Academy in Beijing. He was liberated from this job by the cutbacks of 1962, whereupon the major conservatories, to their credit, seized on the chance to employ him to teach and record his old art. This was interrupted by the Cultural Revolution; he was only able to continue his teaching in ...

Article

Gudrun Engberg

revised by Alexander Lingas

(b Emesa [now Homs], Syria, late 5th century; d Constantinople, after 555). Byzantine hymnographer and composer. Perhaps of Jewish descent, he was a deacon in the Church of the Resurrection in Beirut and towards the end of the 5th century went to Constantinople, where he served at the Church of the Virgin in the city’s Kyros quarter. A hymn in Romanos’s honour mentions his acquaintance with the imperial court. He may have become famous during his lifetime, since an almost contemporary papyrus fragment containing part of a well-known hymn by him has been found in Egypt. It is, however, uncertain whether he was the ‘presbyteros’ and ‘ekklēsiekdikos’ mentioned in the acts of the Synod of 536. He was canonized and is commemorated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on 1 October as the patron saint of music.

Romanos’s vita is lost, but summaries are transmitted in Byzantine synaxaria and menologia, according to which Romanos was inspired by the Virgin to write ...

Article

Şahan Arzruni

( fl early 8th century). Armenian hymnographer, poet and pedagogue . Sister of the music theorist Step‘annos Siwnec‘i, she was an ascetic who lived in a cave in the Gaṙni valley (near Erevan) and produced ecclesiastical poems and liturgical chants. Srp‘uhi Mariam (‘Saint Mary’), consisting of nine stanzas in acrostic formation, is her only verse to have survived. Reportedly, many of her šarakaner (hymns) were devoted to the Mother of God (akin to the theotokion in the music of the Byzantine rite) and helped to shape the development of the genre during subsequent centuries. Seated behind a curtain, as the mores of the period required, Sahakduxt taught sacred melodies to clerical students and lay music lovers.

S. Ōrbelyan: Patmut‘yun nahangin Sisakan [History of the Province of Sis] (Tbilisi, 1910), 139 Archbishop Covakan Norayr [Połarian]: Sahakduxt Siwnec‘i ev Srp‘uhi Mariam [Sahakduxt of Siunik and Saint Mary], Hask (Antilias, 1951), 366–7 M. Ōrmanian...

Article

Martin Stokes

(b Sivrialan, Sivas, 1894; d Sivrialan, Sivas, March 21, 1973). Turkish folk musician who was blind. He was the product of a rural Turkish musical culture shaped by Alevi (heterodox Islamic) mysticism since at least the 15th century and focussed on the music of the bağlama or saz (long-necked plucked lute), played by ritual specialists known as aşık (‘lovers’; see Turkey §II 1.). Veysel was also shaped to a significant extent by the experience of nation-building in the early Turkish Republic, achieving distinction at the Republic’s decennial festival, Cumhuriyet Onuncu Yılı, in Ankara in 1933. His songs attracted the attention of the nationalist intelligentsia for their direct and unadorned expression of national sentiment and a humanistic mysticism; his work, largely improvised around fixed melodic and poetic schemes, was written down and extensively published. Songs such as Dostlar beni hatırlasın and Uzun ince bir yoldayım are widely known throughout Turkey. Along with many rural ...

Article

Şahan Arzruni

[Khosrovidukht ]

( fl early 8th century). Armenian hymnographer and poet . Following the abduction of her brother by Muslim Arabs, Xosroviduxt, who was of royal blood, was taken to the fortress of Ani-Kamakh (now Kemah), where she lived in isolation for 20 years. She is reported to have written the šarakan (canonical hymn), ‘Zarmanali ē inj’ (‘Wondrous it is to me’), which honours the memory of her brother, killed in 737 for reclaiming his Christian faith. Despite its secular subject, this florid šarakan has been sanctioned by the Armenian Church for use during service.

L. Ališan: Hušikk‘ hayreneac‘ hayoc‘ [Memories from the Land of the Armenians], ii (St Lazar, 2/1921), 136 H. Ačaṙyan: Hayoc‘ anjnanunneri bararan [Dictionary of Armenian Proper Names] (Beirut, 2/1972), 539 D. Der Hovanessian and M. Margossian, trans. and eds.: Anthology of Armenian Poetry (New York, 1978), 43–4 G. A. Hakobyan: Šarakanneri žanrě hay mi ǰnadaryan grakanut ‘yan me...

Article

Ziryāb  

Eckhard Neubauer

[Abū ’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Nāfi‘ ]

(b Iraq; d Córdoba, Spain, Aug 852). Arab musician . A mawlā (‘freedman’) of Caliph al-Mahdī (775–85) at Baghdad, he was a pupil of Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī and a rival of Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī at the court of Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809). He left Baghdad for Syria, served the Aghlabid ruler Ziyādat Allāh (817–38) in Qairawan (Tunisia), and later received a generous welcome from ‘Abd al-Raḥmān II (822–52) in Córdoba. His influence there as a court musician and companion (nadīm) must have been exceptional: customs in clothing and eating that he had brought from Baghdad became fashionable, and the tradition of his school of music was maintained by his descendants at least two generations after his death. Like his contemporary al-Kindī he seems to have known the musical theory of late antiquity and to have reconciled it with the teachings of his masters in Baghdad. Details of his vocal training techniques are described by Ibn Ḥayyān (...