Series: Ethnomusicology Research Seminars
In this seminar, it is my intention to compare and contrast the salient elements of (i) Had Gadya - a popular paraliturgical “table song” that concludes the Jewish Seder service conducted traditionally in the home on the first two nights of the Passover Festival each Spring, with (ii) Murghak - an equally entertaining mavrigi (a song style originating from the oasis city of Merv, now called Mari, in Turkmenistan), performed at Toi celebrations in the Central Asian tradition. Humorous songs such as these do exist in folk and nursery-rhyme repertoires throughout the world. However, individual texts and/or tunes, developing within different religious traditions and cultural backgrounds, and expressed through the medium of different languages, are sometimes so strikingly similar, that questions of chronology, direction of influence, and the possibilities of a common source, demand to be asked. First of all, I shall look at the historical, social and musical background of Had Gadya, then that of Murghak. Each text will then be considered from the perspectives of deeper symbolism, structure and meaning - and the significance of these phenomena - leading, finally, to an assessment of the music itself.
Alexander Knapp (SOAS)
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When & where
12.00am - 12.00amThursday 25th February 2010