Music of Azerbaijan

Music of Azerbaijan

From Mugham to Opera
Aida Huseynova
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/21/2016
Format: Hardback 91 music exx., 27 b&w illus., 2 maps, 33 video, 30 audio
ISBN: 978-0-253-01937-0
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This book traces the development of Azerbaijani art music from its origins in the Eastern, modal, improvisational tradition known as mugham through its fusion with Western classical, jazz, and world art music. Aida Huseynova places the fascinating and little-known history of music in Azerbaijan against the vivid backdrop of cultural life under Soviet influence, which paradoxically both encouraged and repressed the evolution of national musics and post-Soviet independence. Inspired by their neighbors to the East and West, Azerbaijani musicians enjoyed a period of remarkable creativity, composing and performing the first opera and the first ballet in the Muslim East, establishing the region’s first Opera and Ballet Theater and Conservatory of Music, and discovering ways to merge the modal lyricism of mugham with the rhythmic dynamics of jazz. Drawing on previously unstudied archives, letters, and documents as well as her experience as an Azerbaijani musician and educator, Huseynova shows how Azerbaijani musical development was not a product of Soviet cultural policies but rather grew from and reflected deep and complex cultural processes.

Author Bio

Aida Huseynova, a musicologist from Azerbaijan, is Adjunct Lecturer in Music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. She is the author of the educational DVD Music and Culture of Azerbaijan and author (with Munara Mailybekova) of the DVD Music and Culture of Kyrgyzstan.


“In each chapter Huseynova combines historical context, cultural insights, and musicological analysis to create a study of musical and cultural fusion that is as compelling as it is informative. She rounds off the work with the re-staging of the Uzeyir Hajibeyli’s first mugham opera, played on the world stage with Alim Gasimov and Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble—a triumphant testimony to the power of cultural fusion. ”
 — Anna Oldfield, Coastal Carolina University

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Table of Contents

Ethnomusicology Multimedia Series Preface
Note on Language and Transliteration
Chapter 1: Azerbaijani Musical Nationalism during the Pre-Soviet and Soviet Eras
Chapter 2: Pioneers of the New Azerbaijani Musical Identity
Chapter 3: The Russian-Soviet Factor: Facilitating or Disrupting Synthesis?
Chapter 4: The Beginning of the National Style: 1900-The 1930s
Chapter 5: Growing Maturity: 1940-The Early 1960s
Chapter 6: The Spirit of Experimentalism: Since the 1960s
Chapter 7: Songwriters
Chapter 8: Jazz Mugham
Chapter 9: Leaving the Post-Soviet Era Behind
Chapter 10: "Mugham Opera" of the Silk Road