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date: 21 November 2019

Ibn al-Ṭaḥḥānlocked

  • Owen Wright

Extract

(fl first half of the 11th century). Arab musician and writer. The son of an eminent musician, he became a prominent singer at the Cairo court of the Fatimid caliph al-Ẓāhir (1021–36), and was still active as a teacher in 1057. His music treatise, completed after 1036 and entitled Ḥāwī al-funūn wa-salwat al-maḥzūn (‘Compendium of the arts to comfort sad hearts’), is of particular interest in that it deals with various topics of little concern to other authorities. Written from the perspective of a cultured musician rather than that of a philosopher-theorist, it calls upon a literary tradition of writing about music, and its historical content is frankly derivative, even if of interest for the implication of continuity with the court music of 9th-century Baghdad. But it is wide-ranging in its treatment of contemporary practice, dealing not only with such basics as mode and rhythm, but also with such matters as the normal sequence of events in performance, deportment and etiquette, the materials and construction of the ‘...

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