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Abstract: The Moroccan Gnawa--widely understood to be the descendants of
slaves from sub-Saharan Africa--practice ritualized healing involving spirit possession
with a vast Afro-Maghrebi musical repertoire. Because the role of Gnawa music in ritual is
that of healing, musical aesthetics are often contested on the grounds of spiritual potency
and efficacy in completing trance. For ritual expert ... read moreand master musician, Abdellatif
Makhzoumi, the ethics of Gnawa ritual life and the ethics of everyday life are collapsed
into a collective sensibility. This sensibility is audible through musical aesthetics that
are based on relationships of tension: specifically in the timbre and tuning of the Gnawa's
three-stringed, bass register lute, the ginbri. By way of this musical sensibility--that he
refers to as kinds of speech--Abdellatif maps a collective and historical moral geography,
cherishing and cultivating certain musical aesthetics because of their shared ethical
orientation to ideal aesthetics of everyday life.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Music.
Advisor: Richard Jankowsky.
Committee: David Locke, and Stephan Pennington.
Keyword: Music.read less