THE MUWASHSHAH-LIKE ZAJAL: A NEW SOURCE FOR A HEBREW POEM SUSAN EINBINDER Hebrew Union College The strophic lyric known as the muwashshah has received generous attention in recent years. Stern's initial study, Les Chansons Mozarabe.s, was published in 1953,1 but the poems and the critical questions raised by them did not truly ignite scholarly interest for another twenty years. Over the last decade, increasingly interdisciplinary efforts have generated studies of a range and depth impossible to achieve from the vantage of one discipline alone.2 2 Certainly one of the most intriguing aspects of this medieval genre is the way in which new lyric texts were composed for pre-existing song models. These imitations attest to the vast popularity of both unusual and conventional muwashshahat beloved in their own day and long after. In Western music, the practice known as contrafaction is well known; the Harvard Dictionary of Music (2d ed., 1969) defines it as "a vocal com- position in which the original text is replaced by a new one, particularly a secular text by a sacred one or vice versa." The Arabic term, mucaraç/a, implies for classical verse the transfer of rhyme and meter as well as music from
Medieval Encounters – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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