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Additional resources for Sufism, Music and Society in Turkey and the Middle East (Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul Transactions Volume 10)
The musical component was supposed to be subservient; it was only a medium of communication —not because it was seen as impotent or irrelevant; on the contrary, it was regarded as very powerful and important. But the medium was not allowed to become the message; musical aestheticism was a frequent temptation but was always condemned. Musical instruments had no place in the houses of worship and prayer. In the East much was written about music—theoretical treatises about pitch, intervals, scale and rhythms.
But it must be noted that much music does not have this character; especially, rock music may express quite violent emotions, and thus show aggressive feelings in and towards society. The accusations of immorality and indecency levelled against some forms of music—such as jazz music in the 1920s—also apply to the expressivist kind of music; the charge is that this sort of music expresses certain unwanted attitudes and feelings, and thus demoralises the listeners. Structure and Structural Interpretation Here, the word structure is taken in the sense of structural linguistics, a sense which was generalised and imported into the social and cultural sciences and the humanities with the structuralist movement in the GENERAL SOCIO-MUSICOLOGICAL CONCEPTS 21 1960s.
In a way, this approach may be considered as another adaptive strategy; it reached its peak with the hasidic movements in East Europe, at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The borrowing of alien tunes was looked upon as performing a holy mission since the borrowed melodies, by implication, were thus elevated from profanity to sanctity, and the borrowers were redeemers in that they recognized the “holy sparks” embedded in the foreign folk song. The foregoing survey has confronted us with multiple facets of the single category of religious music.