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Article

Owen Wright, Christian Poché and Amnon Shiloah

Music traditions in the Arabic-speaking world. For discussions of the music of specific areas, see also individual country articles.

The art music/folk (or popular) music opposition is a blunt instrument at best, and at various times and places in the Arab world it would be unrealistic or unhelpful to seek to draw a clear dividing line. In Arabic the terminological distinction is a modern importation, and while the earlier textual tradition may recognize regional differences it is more frequently concerned with an ultimately ethical evaluation of the various purposes for which music may be used. However, these imply distinctions of function and social context, and as one major constant in Arab and Middle Eastern Islamic culture generally we may identify a form of entertainment music for which, in fact, the label ‘art music’ is quite apt. Nurtured at courts, patronized by urban élites, performed by professionals (and aristocratic amateurs) and described in explicitly theoretical terms, art music constituted an integral element of sophisticated high culture and, consequently, could be regarded as a suitable subject for scientific and philosophical enquiry....

Article

Irén Kertész Wilkinson

The music of itinerant groups, predominantly found in Europe but also in other areas, such as the Middle East and South Asia. Most often classified as ‘Gypsy’ – once a derogatory term but more recently the source of political pride – these groups also have their own ethnonyms. The main focus of this article is the music of Roma/Gypsies in Europe, with the aim of underlining similar patterns in their musical practices and processes, that reflect their shared values and ethos. For the music of non-European Gypsies, see under the appropriate country article.

‘Gypsies’ comprise many different groups, but these can be classified into two main categories: the Indian-originated Roma (and Sinti) and the indigenous peripatetic Traveller groups of particular countries and areas. The Roma, whose name is derived from the Romani word man, are also known in different places as Romen, Romani, Rom or Romanichals. Roma is the term implemented by Roma politicians to avoid non-Gypsy derogatory terms such as ‘...