International Studies | Topics In International Studies: Music of Central Eurasia & the Middle East
I300 | 24232 | Daneshgar
Topics in International Studies: Silk Road: Music of Central Eurasia
& the Middle East (INTL-I300) Note: This course is joint listed
This survey course introduces undergraduate and graduate students to
the main musical and cultural practices of the peoples of Central
Eurasia and the Middle East who constituted the cultures and
civilizations of the ancient Silk Road. As a necessary background to
the stories of these musics, we will briefly study the geography,
history, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity of the peoples
of the Silk Road. The musical component focuses on four major areas:
The Arab World (North Africa, Levant regions and Middle East); the
Caucasus and Asia Minor (Azerbaijan & Turkey); Iran and Afghanistan;
and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and Xingjian, the Western province of China
known as Uyghuristan or East Turkistan).
While the course will mainly focus on the Arab, Iranian, Turkic and
Central Asian cultures and their peoples, the musical cultures of
smaller ethnic groups within these countries and regions such as the
Christians, Jews of the Caucasus and Central Asia, gypsies, and
other ethnic minorities will also be discussed.
The course will cover the following genres of music:
• Art music (Maqam/Dastgah/ Shashmaqam/ Nuba/Mowashshahat):
referred to as the classical music of the sedentary cultures of the
Silk Road people.
• Folk music of the Central Eurasia and the Middle East.
• Naqqali (epic storytelling), Ashiq, aqin, and Bakhshi music
(bard music of the Central Asia and Turkic world).
• Spiritual and religious musical repertoires: Mevlevi,
Baktashi, Qaderi and Ahl-e Haqq orders’ spiritual music;
Tazi’eh “Passion Plays” observed by Shiits in Iran, Iraq and
Lebanon; Qur’anic recitation; the Central Asian Jewish cantor
recitations, and the Qawwali, Sufi music of Pakistan and India.
• Central Asian Jewish musical traditions and Sazandah
• The dances and choreographies of selected regions such as
the Bukhara, Kharazem, and Farghana Valley of Central Asia,
Azerbaijan, Iran and Afghanistan and Turkey will be briefly
The course is an interactive one in which students will listen to
and watch recorded archival materials and discuss them in the
classroom. Occasionally, guest artists of the regions will be
invited to talk about their music and cultures.