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Title: The contemporary revival of Nahda music in Lebanon : politics of remembrance and representation
Author: da Cunha, Maria Manuel Rijo de Lopes
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 6469
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis focuses on the contemporary revival of music from the Nahḍa period in Lebanon and considers how the revival challenges mainstream – and state-sponsored – notions of music heritage (turath) in Lebanon. I investigate the impact of the revival on, firstly, the politics of identity and representation through the interplay between public and private heritage, and secondly, on music policies in education. I argue that nostalgia plays a crucial role both in the revival of, and innovation within, Nahḍa repertoire and heritage. I also contend that notions of music tradition in Lebanon are inseparable from the politics of remembrance of the Lebanese civil war (1974–1990) and I explore this relationship between music tradition, identity and violent conflict. I suggest that changes in notions and practices of music tradition are underpinned by changes in modes of remembrance and representation. My research is underpinned by the fields of postcolonial discourse on identity politics, sociology of nostalgia and musicological sources and I combined library research with fieldwork in Lebanon (during 2012 and 2013). My fieldwork included interviews, concert attendance, and lessons in colloquial Arabic. I open my thesis with an introduction explaining my background, the scope and approaches of my Ph.D. and a literature review. In Chapter 1 I introduce the historical context of Nahḍa, and in Chapters 2 and 3 I move on to analysing contemporary Nahḍa music-making. In Chapter 4 I discuss the revival of Nahḍa music in the Aṣīl Ensemble's practice. In Chapter 5 I discuss 'The Burda', an innovative composition by Mustafa Said and the Aṣīl Ensemble. Chapter 6 investigates public initiatives for traditional music. I conclude that the impact of the Nahḍa revival revitalises a period of Arabic music that had become obsolete whilst fostering innovation and creativity within contemporary Arabic music traditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral