Around the Mediterranean: Islamic Interactions
Andrew Killick [+]
University of Sheffield
The broader impact of Islamic culture on the world’s music is now considered through the music of those parts of Europe and Africa which historically came under Islamic control or influence. Much of Eastern Europe once belonged to the Ottoman Empire and shares certain musical features with the Islamic Middle East, such as “additive meter,” in which bars are formed by adding units of unequal length. The question of influence here, however, is complicated by the fact that the Middle East itself preserved aspects of ancient Greek musical theory and practice, which appears to have already included additive meter long before Greece came under Ottoman rule. North Africa became part of the Islamic world much earlier, and permanently, and through it Islamic culture reached Spain under the Moors. The “Andalusian” classical music that developed there was eventually brought back to North Africa, while the Islamic influence left its mark on the musical genre that the world most associates with Spain: flamenco. The chapter ends by showing how flamenco, while ostensibly using Western European harmonies and “divisive” meter, is actually founded on a scale type, rhythmic approach, and vocal technique that owe at least as much to the Middle East.