Music of Azerbaijan:

From Mugham to Opera

By Aida Huseynova
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Indiana University Press, 2016

ISBN 978-0-253-01945-5

360 Pages


How does an eastern, modal, improvisational tradition merge with the western tempered orchestra to create a new legacy of world class art music? This is the fascinating question at the heart of Aida Huseynova’s Music of Azerbaijan: From Mugham to Opera. Tracing the development of Azerbaijani art music from its origins in the mugham genre through its fusion with western classical, jazz, and world art music, Huseynova reveals the fascinating and little-known history of music in Azerbaijan against the vivid cultural backdrop of the “Janus faced” Soviet period, which paradoxically both encouraged and repressed the evolution of national musics. Inspired by their neighbors to the East and to the West, Azerbaijani musicians generated an enormous output of music performances and institutions throughout the twentieth century including composing and performing the first opera (1908) and the first ballet in the Muslim East (1940); establishing the first Opera and Ballet Theater (1911) and founding the first Conservatory of Music (1921) in the region; and merging the modal lyricism of mugham with the rhythmic dynamics of jazz found in “jazz mugham” (1960s). Drawing on previously unstudied archives, letters, and documents, as well as her own experience as an Azerbaijani musician and music 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.



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



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.

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