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Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam

Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam
Foreword by Ali Asani

Bringing together the perspectives of ethnomusicology, Islamic studies, art history, and architecture, this edited collection investigates how sound production in built environments is central to Muslim religious and cultural expression.

Image and sound files to accompany this volume are available at

March 2018
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480 pages | 6 x 9 | 16 color and 68 b&w photos, 5 b&w charts/graphs |

Tracing the connections between music making and built space in both historical and contemporary times, Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam brings together domains of intellectual reflection that have rarely been in dialogue to promote a greater understanding of the centrality of sound production in constructed environments in Muslim religious and cultural expression.

Representing the fields of ethnomusicology, anthropology, art history, architecture, history of architecture, religious studies, and Islamic studies, the volume’s contributors consider sonic performances ranging from poetry recitation to art, folk, popular, and ritual musics—as well as religious expressions that are not usually labeled as “music” from an Islamic perspective—in relation to monumental, vernacular, ephemeral, and landscape architectures; interior design; decoration and furniture; urban planning; and geography. Underscoring the intimate relationship between traditional Muslim sonic performances, such as the recitation of the Qur’an or devotional songs, and conventional Muslim architectural spaces, from mosques and Sufi shrines to historic aristocratic villas, gardens, and gymnasiums, the book reveals Islam as an ideal site for investigating the relationship between sound and architecture, which in turn proves to be an innovative and significant angle from which to explore Muslim cultures.

  • List of Figures, Plates, Charts, and Tables
  • Foreword, by Ali S. Asani
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam, by Michael Frishkopf and Federico Spinetti
  • Part One: Transregional
    • 1. Listening to Islamic Gardens and Landscapes, by D. Fairchild Ruggles
  • Part Two: The Ottoman Empire and Turkey
    • 2. A Sound Status among the Ottoman Elite: Architectural Patrons of Sixteenth-Century Istanbul Mosques and Their Recitation Programs, by Nina Ergin
    • 3. A Concert Platform: A Space for a Style in Turkish Music, by John Morgan O’Connell
    • 4. Articulating Otherness in the Construction of Alevi-Bektaşi Rituals and Ritual Space in a Transnational Perspective, by Irene Markoff
  • Part Three: The Arab World
    • 5. Venerating Cairo’s Saints through Monument and Ritual: Islamic Reform and the Rise of the Architext, by Michael Frishkopf
    • 6. Nightingales and Sweet Basil: The Cultural Geography of Aleppine Song, by Jonathan H. Shannon
    • 7. Aural Geometry: Poetry, Music, and Architecture in the Arabic Tradition, by Samer Akkach
  • Part Four: Andalusia and Europe
    • 8. Tents of Silk and Trees of Light in the Lands of Najd: The Aural and the Visual at a Mawlid Celebration in the Alhambra, by Cynthia Robinson
    • 9. Aristocratic Residences and the Majlis in Umayyad Córdoba, by Glaire D. Anderson
    • 10. Sounds of Love and Hate: Sufi Rap, Ghetto Patrimony, and the Concrete Politics of the French Urban Periphery, by Paul A. Silverstein
  • Part Five: Central and South Asia
    • 11. Ideal Form and Meaning in Sufi Shrines of Pakistan: A Return to the Spirit, by Kamil Khan Mumtaz
    • 12. The Social and Sacred Microcosm of the Kiiz Üi: Space and Sound in Rituals for the Dead among the Kazakhs of Mongolia, by Saida Daukeyeva
  • Part Six: Iran
    • 13. Listening to Pictures in Iran, by Anthony Welch
    • 14. Of Mirrors and Frames: Music, Sound, and Architecture at the Iranian Zūrkhāneh, by Federico Spinetti
  • References
  • Contributors
  • Index

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Frishkopf is a professor of music and Director of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta. He is the editor of Music and Media in the Arab World.

Cologne, Germany

Spinetti is a professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Cologne. He is the editor of Giuseppe Donizetti Pasha: Musical and Historical Trajectories between Italy and Turkey.


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This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca