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The Lost ParadiseAndalusi Music in Urban North Africa$
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Jonathan Glasser

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226327068

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226327372.001.0001

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Heavy and Light: Andalusi Music as Genre

Heavy and Light: Andalusi Music as Genre

(p.80) 3 Heavy and Light: Andalusi Music as Genre
The Lost Paradise

Jonathan Glasser

University of Chicago Press

This chapter thinks through Andalusi music as a complex of genres. At its center is the nūba, a five-movement instrumental and vocal suite organized by melodic mode that highlights the muwashshaḥ, a poetic form with roots in al-Andalus. At the margins of this genre complex lie several other song forms that listeners understand as lighter Maghribi derivatives of the Andalusi nūba. Thus this genre complex encapsulates much of the urban Arabic-language repertoire that Algerians and other Maghribis describe as patrimonial, with the nūba standing as the heaviest, oldest, most authoritative center of the complex. While this genre complex stands in sharp contrast to a variety of generic "others," the nūba itself recapitulates aspects of this wider genre field within the sequence of its movements, which end with a shift toward rhythms marked as light, popular, and feminine. This chapter treats the sense of Andalusi musical genre as a durable framework for negotiating and maintaining a hierarchy of musical values.

Keywords:   genre, value, gender, social class, boundaries, nūba, muwashshaḥ, mode, circulation, patrimony

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