Music in Muslim Contexts: Deep Histories and Broad Futures

Mark Levine, Jonas Otterbeck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Music has been a topic of discussion throughout Islamic history. Writings by philosophers, jurists, Sufi mystics, and elite intellectuals have survived the centuries and paint a vivid picture of different ways to approach and understand music. This chapter explores this writing in relation to Islamic rituals, folk music, art music, and more. It ends just before the mass mediation of music was initiated during the nineteenth century. The main argument of the chapter is that by contextualizing discussions and positions, the internal logics of dominant discourses are made visible, making positions more graspable. The described positions are still well-known and important backdrops to contemporary Muslims understandings and discussions about music, maybe more so today than in earlier history as intellectual discourse has a much wider reach today than before the technological revolution of communication. Further, the chapter introduces many of the main historical characters, both writers and musicians, to be explored through further reading.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Contemporary Islam and Muslim Lives
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783030326265
ISBN (Print)9783030326258
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Islam
  • Islamicate history
  • Music
  • Sama
  • Sufism


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