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(2,683 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
(a.), the generic name for the viol, or any stringed instrument played with a bow ( ḳaws ). The origin of the name has been variously explained: a. from the Hebrew lābab ( l and r being interchangeable); b. from the Persian rubāb , which was played with the fingers or plectrum; and c. from the Arabic rabba (to collect, arrange, assemble together). The first derivation is scarcely feasible. The second has a raison d’être , although the mere similarity in name must not be accepted without question. In spite of the oft-repeated statement that the Arabs admit that they borrowed the rabāb


(1,565 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
, Urg̲h̲anūn , the artificially wind-blown musical instrument known as the organ. It also stood for a certain stringed instrument of the Greeks like the ὄργανον of Plato ( Republ ., 399c);see al-Masʿūdī, Murūd̲j̲ , viii, 91 = § 3216, where the urg̲h̲an is a stringed instrument, and the urg̲h̲anūn is an artificially wind-blown instrument. The word was used by the Persians, it would seem ( Burhān-i ḳāṭiʿ ), to denote a species of vocal composition some-what similar to the mediaeval European organum . Of the artificially wind-fed musical instruments, the Mus…


(2,408 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
, Miʿzafa (a., pl. maʿāzif ), a term denoting today any string or wind instrument or even, more restrictedly, a piano, but one which was ¶ employed in mediaeval Islamic times to instruments with “open strings” ( awtār muṭlaḳa ). Al-D̲j̲awharī (d. before 400/1010 [ q.v.]) and al-Ṣag̲h̲ānī (d. 659/1261 [ q.v.]) define them as being “musical instruments which you beat upon like the ʿūd (lute), the ṭunbūr (pandore) and suchlike”, meaning by this that maʿāzif were played with the fingers or a plectrum in the same way as the ʿūd and ṭunbūr were. The Tād̲j̲ al-ʿarūs includes the tambourine among the ma…


(2,459 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
, the generic name for any instrument of the drum family. Islamic tradition attributes its “invention” to Tūbal b. Lamak (al-Masʿūdī, Murūd̲j̲ , viii, 88-9 = § 3213, and see lamak), whilst another piece of gossip says that Ismāʿīl, the founder of the mustaʿriba Arabs [ q.v.], was the first to sound it (Ewliyā Čelebi, Travels , i/2, 239). The word is connected with Aramaic tablā . According to al-Fayyūmī (733/1333-4), the term ṭabl was applied to a drum with a single membrane ( d̲j̲ild ) as well as to that with two membranes. This, however, does not include the duff or tambourine [ q.v.]. It is cer…


(376 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
, a vase-shaped drum, the wider aperture being covered by a membrane, with the lower aperture open. The body is usually of painted or incised earthenware, but carved and inlaid wood, as well as engraved metal are also used. In performance it is carried under the arm horizontally and played with the fingers. The name has regional variants: darābukka (or ḍarābukka ), dirbakki and darbūka . Dozy and Brockelmann derive the word from the Syriac ardabkā , but the Persian dunbak is the more likely, although the lexicographers mistakenly dub the latter a bagpipe. The name darabukka

ʿAbd al-Ḳādir b. G̲h̲aybī

(688 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
al-Hāfiz al-Marāg̲h̲ī , the greatest of the Persian writers on music. Born at Marāg̲h̲a, about the middle of the 8th/14th century, he had become one of the minstrels of al-Ḥusayn, the Ḏj̲alāʾirid Sultan of ʿIrāḳ, about 781/1379. Under the next Sultan, Aḥmad, he was appointed the chief court minstrel, a post which he held until Tīmūr captured Bag̲h̲dād in 795/1393, when he was transported to Samarḳand, the capital of the conqueror. In 801/1399 we find him at Tabrīz in the serv…


(2,470 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
Ṣinid̲j̲ , pl. ṣunūd̲j̲ , the generic term for any kind of cymbal. Both al-D̲j̲awharī and al-D̲j̲awālīḳī say that the word is an Arabicised one. Lane thinks that it is derived from the Persian sand̲j̲ or sind̲j̲ and Ibn K̲h̲urradād̲h̲bih (d. near the opening of the 10th century) avers that the Persians invented it (al-Masʿūdī, Murūd̲j̲ , viii, 90 = § 3214). However, the instrument was well known to the ancient Semites. We read of the ṣand̲j̲ in early Arabic literature. Al-Ḳuṭāmī refers to the ṣand̲j̲ al-d̲j̲inn and Ibn Muḥriz [ q.v.] was called the sannād̲j̲ al-ʿArab .…


(538 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
(‘the fresh [voice]’) was the nickname given to Abū Zayd (? Yazīd) or Abū Marwān ʿAbd al-Mālik, a renowned singer of the Umayyad era. He was a half-breed of a Berber slave and a mawlā of the famous ʿAbalāt sisters of Mecca who were noted for their elegies. It was one of these—T̲h̲urayya, of whom ʿUmar b. Abī Rabīʿa sang in praise—who placed al-G̲h̲arīḍ under the tutelage of the famous singer Ibn Surayd̲j̲ [ q.v.] but the former soon outshone his teacher as an elegiast ( nāʾiḥ ), so much so that the latter abandoned that career for that of an ordinary singer ( mug̲h̲annī ), alt…


(4,508 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
, Naḳḳār-Ḵh̲āna , Naḳḳāra-Ḵh̲āna , Nawba-Ḵh̲āna , literally the “Drum House”, “Kettledrum House”, “Military Band House”, the name given in Islamic lands to the military band and its quarters in camp or town. These names are derived from the drums ( ṭabl, naḳḳāra) which formed the chief instruments of the military band, and from the name given to the special type of music ( nawba ) performed by this band. Originally, the naḳḳāra-k̲h̲āna or ṭabl-k̲h̲āna consisted of drums only, and in some instances of particular kinds of drums. This we know from s…


(839 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
, Mīk̲h̲āʾīl b. D̲j̲ird̲j̲īs al-Lubnānī , Lebanese historian and polemicist who is at the same time the most important of modern Arabic writers on the theory of music; the present article is devoted to his activity in this latter sphere, in order to complete the brief entry already given s.v. Mas̲h̲āḳa. Born in 1800 at Ras̲h̲mayyā, he followed his family (after 1807) to Dayr al-Ḳamar, the residence of the famous Amīr Bas̲h̲īr S̲h̲ihāb II [ q.v.] who was favourably disposed towards the elder Mus̲h̲āḳa. In 1819, the Amīr, having given offence to the Sublime Porte, was co…


(4,244 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
(a.) means literally “an instrument of piping”. In the generic sense, it refers to any instrument of the “wood-wind” family, i.e. a reed-pipe or a flute. In the specific sense, it refers to a reed-pipe (i.e. a pipe played with a reed) as distinct from a flute, as we know from Ibn Sīnā (d. 428/1037) who describes the mizmār —a reed pipe—as an instrument “which you blow into from its end which you swallow”, as distinct from an instrument like the yarāʿ —a flute—”which you blow into from a hole”. Ibn Zayla (d. 439/1048) writes similarly, but substitutes the Persian word nāy for the Arabic word mizmār. …


(661 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
Abu ’l-Muhannāʾ Muk̲h̲āriḳ b. Yaḥyā b. Nāwūs , one of the greatest singers of the early ʿAbbāsids. He belonged to Madma (although some say to Kūfa) and was the son of a butcher. ʿĀtika bint S̲h̲ud̲h̲a. a famous singer and lutenist, whose slave he was, noticed that he possessed a good voice, and taught him singing. By her he was sold to Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣīlī (d. 188/804 [ q.v.]), the doyen of the court musicians, who furthered his musical education. Ibrahim said that a youth with such talents had a great future, and he heralded him as his succes…


(3,006 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
(a), song, singing. This is the specific meaning of the word, although it stands for music in its generic sense, an interpretation accepted by the Ik̲h̲wān al-Ṣafāʾ (4th/10th century) who say (Bombay ed., i, 87): “ mūsīḳī is g̲h̲ināʾ , and the mūsīḳār is the mug̲h̲annī ” (see R. Payne-Smith, Thes. Syr ., 977, s.v. hedhrula ). The origin and development of the song must be traced through the folk. From a musical point of view there is no difference between the simple chant of the faḳīr and the artless song of the saḳḳāʾ (water-carrier), or between the elaborate cantillation of the muʾad̲h̲d̲h̲in


(1,801 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
, the generic name for any instrument of the horn or trumpet family. Wind instruments played by means of a cup-shaped mouthpiece may be divided into two classes, viz .: 1. the horn or conical tube type; and 2. the trumpet or cylindrical tube type. 1. The horn type. Whether the ṣūr and nāḳūr mentioned in the Ḳurʾān (vi, 73; lxxiv, 8; lxxviii, 18) were horns, as Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal (d. 241/855) and al-Ḏj̲awharī (d. ca. 396/1005) say respectively, the early Persians and Arabs certainly knew of a conical tube instrument of the animal…


(1,087 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
or Mūrṭus , a Greek author (?) of works on musical instruments that have only been preserved in Arabic. He appears to be identical with the Mīrisṭus mentioned by al-D̲j̲āḥiẓ (d. 255/868-9), and these works must therefore have been known in Arabic at least as early as the 3rd/9th century. According to the Fihrist (completed in 377/987-8). Mūrisṭus wrote two books on organ construction: 1. Kitāb fi ’l-Ālāt al-muṣawwita al-musammāt bi ’l-urg̲h̲anun al-būḳī wa ’l-urg̲h̲anun al-zamrī ; 2. Kitāb Āla muṣawwita tusmaʿu ʿalā sittīn mīl an . On the other hand, Ibn al-…


(1,878 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
( Daff , the modern pronunciation, may be traced back to Abū ʿUbayda [d. ca. 210/825]) generic name for any instrument of the tambourine family, although sometimes it is the name for a special type. Islamic tradition says that it was invented by Tubal b. Lamak Masʿūdī, Murūd̲j̲ , viii, 88) whilst other gossip avers that it was first played on the nuptial night of Sulaymān and Bilḳīs (Ewliyā Čelebi, i/2, 226). Al-Mufaḍḍal b. Salama (d. 307-8/920) says that it was of Arab origin (fol. 20) and Ibn Iyās (d. ca. 930/ 1524) says in his Badāʾiʿ al-zuhūr that it was the duff that w…


(658 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G.
, G̲h̲āʾita or G̲h̲īta . A reed-pipe of cylindrical bore or an oboe of conical bore, popular in Muslim Spain and North Africa. The word is not Arabic, but originated in the low Latin wactare and the French guetter , whence the old English term wayte —the modern wait —who sounded the hours at night on an instrument thus named. Delphin and Guin say that the g̲h̲ayṭa was introduced by the Turks, but it is mentioned by Ibn Baṭṭūṭa (d. 779/1377) who likens the instrument to the Mesopotamian surnāy . It was blown by means of a single or double reed ( ḳaṣba ) placed in the inflatio…


(441 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G. | Neubauer, E.
(“little peacock”), Abū ʿAbd al-Munʿim ʿĪsā b. ʿAbd Allāh al-D̲h̲āʾib, born probably 11/632 in Medina, died 92/711 in Suwaydāʾ, the first great singer in the days of Islam. He was a mawlā of the Banū Mak̲h̲zūm, being in the service of Arwā bt. Kurayz, the mother of the caliph ʿUt̲h̲mān b. ʿAffān. He first attracted attention by singing melodies that he had learned from Persian captives, and rose to fame as a musician in the reign of ʿUt̲h̲mān. About this time, a new style of music was introduced which was known as al-g̲h̲ināʾ al-raḳīḳ or al-g̲h̲ināʾ al-mutḳan , its esp…

Yūnus al-Kātib al-Mug̲h̲annī

(766 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G. | Neubauer, E.
, Abū Sulaymān Yūnus b. Sulaymān b. Kurd b. S̲h̲ahriyār, wellknown musician and writer on music in the first half of the 2nd/8th century. He was the son of a jurist ( faḳīh ) of Persian origin and a mawlā of the family of al-Zubayr b. al-ʿAwwām (Ḳurays̲h̲). Yūnus was born and grew up in Medina. He entered the local dīwān as a scribe, hence his surname al-Kātib. Early in life, however, he was attracted by music, and he is said to have taken lessons mainly from Maʿbad [ q.v.], but also from Ibn Surayd̲j̲, Ibn Muḥriz, al-G̲h̲arīḍ [ q.vv.], and Muḥammad b. ʿAbbād al-Kātib. He was also a gifted po…

Maʿbad b. Wahb

(707 words)

Author(s): Farmer, H.G. | Neubauer, E
, Abū ʿAbbād , one of the great singers and composers in Umayyad times, was born in Medina and died at Damascus in 125/743 or 126/744. Being the son of a negro, he was an ʿabd and later on became mawlā of one of the Mak̲h̲zūm families, serving them as overseer of their cattle. Like many other oriental musicians, he is said to have been led to music by a dream, and he took music lessons from Sāʾib K̲h̲āt̲h̲ir and Nas̲h̲īṭ. He soon made a name for himself in Medina and followed invitations to sing at Mecca, where I…
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