State Museum of Musical Culture of Azerbaijan
THE LEGACY OF NIZAMI GANJAVI AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION ON MUSIC PRACTICES IN MEDIEVAL CENTRAL ASIA
Shakespeare, writing of music, usually touched on its general aesthetic impact, not paying attention to details and theoretical issues. In his comedy Merry Wives of Windsor, when women talk about Falstaff, one of them says that his words are as opposite to his deeds as Psalm 100 is to Greensleeves. Here Shakespeare alludes to the contrast between the lyrics rather than the music of the psalm and the song. Psalm 100, “For giving grateful praise”, calls to “Worship the Lord with gladness”, while in the famous ballad Greensleeves a suffering man claims that his beloved lady has abandoned him. His works contain references to some 13 musical instruments, but for the sake of metaphor rather than information or classification. In his tragedy Hamlet, where Hamlet asks Guildenstern to play the flute, the latter has to confess four times that he cannot, but Shakespeare is making a point about human nature, not musical practice. Usually poets write about what they know and love. Shakespeare showed his professional knowledge of theatre, law and other fields, but he did not pay special attention to theoretical aspects of music.
But Nizami did. There is no doubt that Nizami’s acoustic environment was filled with music and that he had music performers in his close surroundings. He also gives an example of cultural management and a twelfth-century notion of cultural policy. In The Seven Beauties, Bahram Shah, as a way of celebrating the end of famine years, gathers six thousand musicians, dancers and puppeteers from all the cities, divides them into groups and appoints each group to a certain region to entertain people all over the country.
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