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Title:Shaping tradition in Arabic song: The career and repertory of Umm Kulthum
Author(s):Danielson, Virginia Louise
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ringer, Alexander L.
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Anthropology, Cultural
History, Middle Eastern
Abstract:This dissertation attempts to account for the phenomenal popularity of Umm Kulthum (1904?-1975), considered the most famous singer in the Arab world, whose repertory came to be viewed as a model of modern, yet authentically Egyptian Arabic musical expression. Rather than emphasize the talent of an exceptional individual, attention is focused upon Umm Kulthum's repertory, which is treated as the widely shared cultural property it became through her extensive use of mass media. The repertory and the criticism which accompanied it are examined in light of other existing forms of Egyptian Arabic musical expression and of contemporary social and economic circumstances with the aim of distilling relevant musical concepts, categories and aesthetic principles which appealed to so large an audience for so many years.
The work is broadly based and interdisciplinary, drawing upon historical, anthropological and musicological models. The thesis is addressed to the larger issues of modernization and Westernization, the relationship between sacred and secular in Middle Eastern society, the roles of women in musical life, and the impact of mass media and of national policies governing the media and the arts. It sheds light on ways in which musical expression affirmed and, in fact, incited and supported attitudes, cultural values and political alignments not commonly articulated in speech. Thus the musician is seen as a contributor to major social and political trends.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Danielson, Virginia Louise
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9124403
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9124403

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