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Music in Medieval Iberia: Contact, Influence and Hybridization

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In the early twentieth century a lively debate raged between scholars who believed that Christian Spanish and French music had developed independent of the musical culture of Muslim Spain and those who argued that Muslim ("Andalusian") musical traditions had greatly influenced the path of Western European music. That debate, however, died out in mid-century. This essay argues that there are strong reasons for revisiting that discussion: major new evidence has come to light in the past fifty years; scholars can now evaluate the situation removed from the passionately held positions of earlier writers, and, most importantly, can now move beyond the very limiting paradigm of "influence." Two miniature case studies are presented here—musicians and the history of the "bowed lute" or "fiddle"—to demonstrate the great historical complexity of medieval Iberian musical culture and to argue that even the term "hybridization" is too simplistic to describe the "complex genealogies" involved.

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Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA


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