Music and history

                BY Najeeb Nsier

 Translated by me (Tareq Neman)

      Naming or classifying the music is the preoccupation that all the cultural scientists and musicians are seeking and  discussing about, no matter if they have the necessary  background in the history of music  or not, they are  using the rules of the mind to classify and arranging it. This acts or, let us say, behaviors appear as a service or preface to an ideological interests, which express the illusion that we can classify music without considering the whole history, or at least sufficient part of it. Those strugglers are giving the history the right to decide about the identity of the music… but which history? The history in which they believe will help their ideologies, so the music history starts when their history start. That’s why we hear about the Eastern music, and the Arab music, while such classifications don’t mean anything… neither in the reality nor even in history; not even if they use the psychological differentiation between the Arab and the Eastern composers. Therefore, such expressions aren’t true; they look like fabrications and they need to be reviewed if we want to be sure that they are scientifically credible.

It is possible that we make huge efforts to hide and remove the music from our religious culture, due to its origin and as a product of infidel and pagan time in the Ancient East (i.e. the greater Syria). Music, as it consists of tunes and songs, was the magnificent language that all the ancient people used to talk with their gods, as it belongs to intellectual products which, for the ancient man, seemed to be miracles, just like the miracles that the gods, like (Baal – the one who irrigates crops) and Ishtar (who fertilizes the earth) used to do at that time. The ancient people used to start their celebrations at the beginning of harvest season, exactly as they did in the temples, which they transformed to cultural centers that created the intellectual products (theories, researches) that helped to develop human-being, by developing his sense of beauty.  Inventing the music took place in the middle of such an atmosphere, as well as inventing the musical notation and scale; all of these inventions were a dialectic intellectual products.

This has been proved in many historical researches and studies, what will help us to uncover the fabrications about classifications of music, which means that the dialectic can contain all kinds of knowledge, no matter where it came from.

 It is known that Syria (the original Syria ) consists of Levant and Iraq.  This qualification, which depended on the social and economical circulation between those countries, has been influenced by exchanging the cultural products with its neighbors (the original Syria neighbors). Iraq had opened borders with the Eastern countries, such as Persia, India, China and Caucasus, while Levant had opened borders with western countries. Levant exported the name of Europe (Europe was a sister of the Syrian  Cadmus al-Chamle). This facts lead us to explanation of the two cultural doctrines in this country, as each side of this country has its own musical culture with contradictions the between them, i.e. the Iraqi side (which gave Syria it Assyrians name – Syria)) and the northern, Byzantine, ‘Chami’ side. Musical culture of this part of the country contributed helping to write down and preserve the history, but had also a negative influence, freezing it in the frame of the religion. Therefore, we can see that the sophisticated music was there before the existence of the church. Those two reasons gave the unique identity to the Syrian music and have affected all kinds of music later on.

Now music becomes a matter of dialectical interaction between all kinds of producers of the knowledge about music that results in producing a music that could help the human consciousness as a global matter.


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