Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Islamic Mystical Spiritual Music Tradition in the Era of New Musical Tendencies

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Islamic Mystical Spiritual Music Tradition in the Era of New Musical Tendencies

Article excerpt

Abstract

Our research on the music tradition perspectives during the periods similar to the current 21st century conditions in the Republic of Macedonia resulted in findings that reveal significant modifications in the musical expressions. We perceive these changes as an outcome of the individual and collective cultural identities, which are derived from both the ethnicity and domination of the global tendencies. Though these two ongoing and sequential "live" processes are dissimilar in nature, they are also complementary to each other in certain segments to such an extent that the specifics of their music products encompass the most subtle elements of the spiritual tradition. The main objective of this study is to present the cultural identity's impact on the musical segments in the spiritual mystical tradition in the Republic of Macedonia, where there are four dervish orders active at the moment: Rifai, Halveti, Bektashi, and Melami. Due to the complexity of this phenomenon, we have restricted our field of theoretical and research interest to spiritual music in the rites of the Rifai order. Rifai was considered to be the only dervish order in which there have been alterations in the ethnicity of the followers of the tarikat; hence, we believed this to be the most radiant example for our initial thesis. The qualitative research involved analyses of digitalized music contents that were performed on the occasion of the festive dhikirs during the period 2008-2009. Collected data validate the manifestation of certain modifications in the musical expression, developed by the recognition of particular segments from the global music culture and also as a result of the ethnic-cultural identity.

Keywords: ethnic-cultural identity, global tendencies, mystical musical tradition, contemporary conditions

1. Introduction

The contemporary lifestyle during the transition period from the 20th to the 21st century is characterized by numerous changes in the global culture, such as the predominance of electronic media, electronic communications, and digitalization. Globalization-a term frequently used in the modern societies-which would not have happened without the digital technology and other technologies, consists of a rapid and abundant exchange of information across the globe (Taylor 2001:119). Due to this technical process, cultural traditions are undergoing modifications in versatile forms of technological novelties.

As a segment of culture, music is more exposed to the newly created circumstances, mainly through the integration of the new technical and technological achievements. We are witnesses to the fact that this process is reflected everywhere where music is present in various forms and to a different extent. Therefore, we wish to stress the absolute predominance of the production and reproduction means through digital sound media, sound processors, etc. This is even more evident through music instruments, which changed and broadened their sound and even the music itself.

These new trends inspired us to concentrate more on the effect they have on the Islamic spiritual tradition. Our main aim was to see whether or how much these novelties are reflected on the sound in the musical segment of the spiritual services. In this study, we analyzed the segment of the spiritual tradition practiced by the dervish orders, since musical instruments are used in some of them. Though the musical characteristics practiced by these mystic orders in the physical and physiological sense do not entirely correspond with the secular viewpoint, in the rites it is still considered the most powerful means for the "education of the individual" (Tezkiye-nefs) and for the "purification of the heart" (Tasviye-i Kulub) (Uludag 1999: 231).

Due to the complexity of the phenomenon, we restricted our theoretical and research field of interest to the performance of spiritual music in the dervish rites in the "Vefa Baba" Sadi Tekke in Skopje. …

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