The argument of Inside Arabic Music is simple. First, no one has ever written a proper introduction to the whole Arabic music system that is both thorough and accessible. Second, while the oral tradition of Arabic music is something to be respected, it has left the presentation of Arabic music theory incomplete. Thus, authors Johnny Farraj and Sami Abu Shumays narrate their book as a definitive pedagogical solution and tool designed to address both problems. They further tie the Arabic music they are writing about to the urban centers of the Arab Levant and Egypt in the twentieth century. They refer to a golden age of Arabic music, which they initially define as 1930–60, though the dates change throughout the book. At times, the golden age seems to include everything since the beginning of the twentieth century. At other times, the 1970s and even the 1980s seem important to defining...

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