One of our goals is to provide collaborative bibliographies for important topics related to the study of Arab music. These are not exhaustive, but may provide starting points for research or reading. If you would like to add any resources or suggest a bibliography, please email Christopher Witulski.

2011 Revolutions

Thank you to Alan Karass for the beginnings of this bibliography on the 2011 Revolutions.

  • Magdalena Karolak, "Social Media in Democratic Transitions and Consolidations: What Can We Learn From the Case of Tunisia?," (2018), The Journal of North African Studies In press
  • Magdalena Karolak, "The Use of Social Media from Revolution to Democratic Consolidation: The Arab Spring and the Case of Tunisia," (2017), Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research 10(2)
  • Awad Ibrahim, "Arab Spring, 'Favelas,' Borders, and the Artistic Transnational Migration: Toward a Curriculum for a Global Hip-Hop Nation," (2017), Curriculum Inquiry 47(1)
  • Jason Brownlee et al., The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform (2015), Oxford University Press
  • Asaad al-Saleh, Voices of the Arab Spring: Personal Stories of the Arab Revolutions (2015), Columbia University Press
  • Stephen Grand and Cynthia Stock, Understanding Tahrir Square: What Transitions Elsewhere Can Teach Us About the Prospects for Arab Democracy (2014), Brookings Institution Press
  • Kerim Bouzouita, "Music of Dissent and Revolution," (2013), Middle East Critique 22(3)
  • Franceso Cavatorta, "Arab Spring: The Awakening of Civil Society. A General Overview," (2012)
  • Nurullah Ardic, "Understanding the 'Arab Spring': Justice, Dignity, Religion and International Politics," (2012), Afro Eurasian Studies 1
  • George Joffé, "The Arab Spring in North Africa: Origins and Prospects," (2011), The Journal of North African Studies 16(4)
  • Bryan Farrell, "Hip Hop and the Arab Spring," (2011)
  • Jack Goldstone and John Hazel, Jr., "Understanding the Revolutions of 2011: Weakness and Resilience in Middle Eastern Autocracies," (2011), Foreign Affairs 90(3)
  • Tarik Ahmed Elseewi, "The Arab Spring: A Revolution of the Imagination," (2011), International Journal of Communication 5
  • Council on Foreign Relations, The New Arab Revolt: What Happened, What It Means, and What Comes Next (2011), Council on Foreign Relations
  • Lauren Bohn, "“Rapping the Revolution," (2011), Foreign Policy July 22
  • Lisa Anderson, "Demystifying the Arab Spring: Parsing the Differences between Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya," (2011), Foreign Affairs 90(3)

New Publications

This list aims to present some of the newest scholarship on Arab music, organized by language.

  • Ruth F. Davis and Brian Oberlander, Music and Encounter at the Mediterranean Crossroads: A Sea of Voices (2022), Routledge
  • Issa Boulos, Virginia Danielson, Anne K. Rasmussen, eds., Music in Arabia: Perspectives on Heritage, Mobility, and Nation (2021), Indiana University Press
  • Dwight Reynolds, The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus (2020), Routledge
  • David A. McDonald, "Junction 48: Hip-Hop Activism, Gendered Violence, and Vulnerability in Palestine," (2020), Journal of Popular Music Studies 32/1: 26-43
  • David A. McDonald, "Critical Folkloristics, Free Speech, and the 'War on Terror.'," (2020), The Journal of American Folklore 133/530: 392-411

Recent Theses and Dissertations

This list aims to present some of the newest scholarship from the last five years focused on Arab music and organized by language.

  • Liza Munk, "Don’t Tell Me Underground": The Politics of Joy and Melancholy in Jordan’s Alternative Arabic Music (2021), PhD: University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Jillian Fulton-Melanson, The Post-Tarab Soundscape: Underground Electronic Dance Music Culture and the Arab-Canadian Diaspora (2021), PhD: York University
  • Christopher C. Orr, "Come, Ask My Heart": Voice, Meaning, and Affect among Algerian Sha'bi Musicians in Paris (2019), PhD: Florida State University

Taqsim (improvisation)

Thank you to Alan Karass for the beginnings of this bibliography on Arab improvisation, known as taqsim.

  • Mondher Ayari and Stephen McAdams, "Aural Analysis of Arabic Improvised Instrumental Music (Taqsīīm)," (2003), Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal 21(2)
  • Ali Jihad Racy, "The Many Faces of Improvisation: The Arab Taqāsīm as a Musical Symbol," (2000), Ethnomusicology 44(2)
  • Bruno Nettl and Ronald Riddle, "Taqsim Nahawand Revisited: The Musicianship of Jihad Racy," (1998), in In The Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation, edited by Bruno Nettl and Melinda Russell (pages 369-393)
  • Scott Marcus, "Solo Instrumental Improvisation (Taqæsîm) in Arab Music," (1993), Middle-East Studies Association Bulletin 27
  • Landy Leigh, "Arabic Taqsim Improvisation: A Methodological Study Using Computers," (1981), in Informatique et musique, edited by Hélène Charnassé (pages 21-30)
  • Samha El-Kholy, The Tradition of Improvisation in Arab Music (1978), Imprimerie Rizk
  • Habib Hassan Touma, "Relation between Aesthetics and Improvisation in Arab Music," (1976), The World of Music 18(2)
  • Habib Hassan Touma, Maqam Bayati in the Arabian Taqsim: A Study in the Phenomenology of the Maqam (1975), International Monograph Publishers
  • Poul Rovsing Olsen, "Six Versions de Taqsim en Maqam Rast," (1974), in Studia Instrumentorum Musicae Popularis III: Festschrift to Ernst Emsheimer on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday, edited by (pages 197-202)
  • Bruno Nettl, "Thoughts on Improvisation: A Comparative Approach," (1974), The Musical Quarterly 60(1)
  • Bruno Nettl and Ronald Riddle, "Taqsim Nahawand: A Study of Sixteen Performances by Jihad Racy," (1973), Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council 5
  • Habib Hassan Touma, "The Maqam Phenomenon: An Improvisation Technique in the Music of the Middle East," (1971), Ethnomusicology 15
  • Edith Gerson-Kiwi, "On the Technique of Arab Taqsim Composition," (1970), in Musik als Gestalt und Erlebnis: Festschrift Walter Graf zum 65, edited by E. Schenk (pages 66-73)

Useful readings for undergraduate teaching

This listing is intended to provide resources for the undergraduate-level classroom. This is just a cursory start, send along chapters, articles, or books that you have bread or used in your classes!

  • William Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East (2013), Westview Press
  • Scott Marcus, Music in Egypt: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (2007), Oxford University press
  • Jonathan Shannon, Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria (2006), Wesleyan University Press
  • Ali Jihad Racy, Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab (2003), Cambridge University Press
  • Kristina Nelson Davies, "The Qur’an Recited," (2002), Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Vol. 6, The Middle East
  • Virginia Danielson, "Snapshot: Opening Night for a Star Performer—Umm Kulthum and Inta Umri," (2002), Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Vol. 6, The Middle East