is an Arabic word meaning 'familiar' or 'customary'. In Tunisia, it is the term used for the indigenous Arab Andalusian musical tradition. Like the related musical traditions of Morocco, Algeria, and Libya, the ma'l f
originated in the Islamic courts and cities of medieval Iberia (Al-Andalus) and is associated with the migrations of Muslim and Jewish refugees into North Africa in the wake of the Christian reconquest.
This is the first English-language book on Tunisian music or any national tradition of Arab Andalusian music, and it is the only book in any language to survey the recent history of the ma'l f
since its modern revival in the early 20th century. Drawing from and expanding upon her extensive body of published writings, this book presents key aspects of Davis's original research on the ma'l f
, including its musical aesthetics, personalities, institutions and myths, through a century of modernization and change from the early twentieth century to the present day.
The text is enriched by original photographs, musical examples, and song texts in Arabic and English translation, including a complete transcription of a twenty-minute performance of a nuba
- the principal genre of Arab Andalusian music.