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The Muwashshah: History, Origins and Present Practices

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Thornhaugh Square, London WC1
Friday 5 October - Sunday 7 October 2007


Papers and participations are invited for the Fourth International
Conference on The Muwashshah.



The song form known as the muwashshah has a 1,000-year history in and
around the Mediterranean basin. It originated in Andalus, where it was
cultivated by both Arabic and Jewish poets and musicians. It enjoyed cult
status in its time. Nowadays the muwashshah continues as a widely-enjoyed
musical form throughout the Arab world, still preserving forms which go
back to its Andalusian origins.

The muwashshah and its associated verse-form, the zajal, had an important
and largely undocumented influence on the forms of poetry and song in the
Christian West. To some extent this has been examined in academic research
on the kharjas of the muwashshahat. Other aspects, however, have remained
as unexplored territory.

The purpose of our conference is to open new ground in these areas of
research, and to examine a range of issues ranging from historical origins
to present performance practices of the muwashshah in countries of North
Africa and the Middle East, among both Arab and Jewish practitioners. For
this year's conference we are particularly interested in cultural
crossovers and transmissions between al-Andalus and early Europe.
Music-Studies and Romance-Studies contributions are particularly welcome.

Our panel of speakers will include participants of the earlier Madrid
[1989], Exeter [1990] and London [2004] "kharja" conferences. Our
programme will combine the presentation of academic papers with live
performance, audio-visual materials and a Saturday-night concert. Edited
proceedings of the conference will be published in book form.

[The Proceedings of the 2004 SOAS conference can be ordered via the above


Deadline for papers: 15 April 2007

Please send your contact details by e-mail to

or by post to:

     Ed Emery [Muwashshah Conference],
     Cambridge CB2 1RD

Conference organised with the support of the

Music Department, School of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS],
University of London

and the AHRC Research Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Dance
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