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Among the Jasmine Trees
Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria
Jonathan Holt Shannon


2006 • 288 pp. 24 illus. 6 x 9"
Music / Middle East Studies

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6944-8
$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-6985-1

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Among the Jasmine Trees is a hauntingly beautiful example of all that is best in contemporary anthropology and ethnomusicology and their mutual nexus with performance studies and the ideas of embodied knowledge.”Jonathan Zilberg, Jakarta Institute for the Arts, Leonardo Reviews

The first ethnographic study of music-making in modern Syria

How does a Middle Eastern community create a modern image through its expression of heritage and authenticity? In Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria, Jonathan H. Shannon investigates expressions of authenticity in Syria's musical culture, which is particularly known for embracing and preserving the Arab musical tradition, and which has seldom been researched in depth by Western scholars. Music plays a key role in the process of self-imaging by virtue of its ability to convey feeling and emotion, and Shannon explores a variety of performance genres, Sufi rituals, song lyrics, melodic modes, and aesthetic criteria. Shannon shows that although the music may evoke the old, the traditional, and the local, these are re-envisioned as signifiers of the modern national profile. A valuable contribution to the study of music and identity and to the ethnomusicology of the modern Middle East, Among the Jasmine Trees details this music and its reception for the first time, offering an original theoretical framework for understanding contemporary Arab culture, music, and society.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Shannon provides an evocative and highly readable discussion of how music and discourse about music factor in processes of identity-formation in modern Syria.”—Anne Elise Thomas, Ethnomusicology

“Both intellectually stimulating and delightfully engaging, the book stands out for its scholarly rigor and rich documentation. Shannon approaches his subject matter with keen musical sensibility and remarkable affinity for the community that he has studied.” —A.J. Racy, author of Making Music in the Arab World

“Throughout the 20th century, societies in the Middle East have labored to produce their own modernities which are often manifest in expressive culture. Shannon's nuanced and expert text should motivate thought about Middle Eastern societies for years to come.”—Virginia Danielson, Loeb Music Library, Harvard University

Author Photo

JONATHAN HOLT SHANNON is an assistant professor in the department of anthropology at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Fri, 9 Nov 2018 09:28:31 -0500