- The Society for Research in Asiatic Music (Toyo Ongaku Gakkai, TOG)
- 東洋音楽研究 (ISSN:00393851)
- vol.1994, no.59, pp.1-22,L1, 1994-08-31 (Released:2010-02-25)
Al-Kindi (Alkindus in Latin, ca. 801-866), the first philosopher of the Islamic world, was a man of encyclopedic knowledge and wrote many treatises under the influence of ancient Greek philosophers. Thereby he built up a sound foundation of Islamic philosophy, which would be succeeded and developed by muslim philosopers such as al-Farabi (Alfarabius in Latin, ca. 870-950) and Ibn Sina (Avicennna in Latin, 980-1038), and by European scholars after the twelfth century. Music was regarded as a science adjacent to philosophy in ancient Greece and the Islamic world as well. Al-Kind's musical theory must hence not be neglected from such viewpoints.I have tried, in the course of the present paper, to give the full picture of al-Kindi's musical theory through analyzing all his extant treatises on music. These are the following four texts: 1) MS London: British Museum, Oriental Manuscript 2361, fols. 165r-168r; 2) MS Berlin: Staatsbibliothek, Wetzstein II, 1240, fols. 22r-35v; 3) MS Manisa: II Halk Kütüphanesi, Ms. 1705, fols. 107r-109v; 4) MS Oxford: Bodleian Library, Marsh 663, pp. 203-204, 226-238.The paper is divided into five parts dealing with lute ('ud in Arabic), various elements of music, compositional technique, the perfecting of musicianship, and theory of ethos. The first part describes al-Kindi's explanations on the strings, the method of tuning the strings, execution, the method of practice of 'ud as well as the size and the construction of this instrument. The second part deals with musical tone, interval, tune, transposition, and rhythm. The focus of the third part lies in types of composition; that of the fourth does in what is required to composers. The last part is divided into three sections: the strings of 'ud, colour, and smell.Throwing light upon the musical theory of al-Kindi, the paper have demonstrated that al-Kindi was not only an introducer of the Greek musical theory to the Islamic world but also an original theorist. He connected, for example, the four strings of 'ud with cosmology, and thought about the influence each string exerted upon the soul.Another grave issue have come up in the course of the paper: the importance of studying manuscripts and text critique. F. Rosenthal had already pointed out, in his article (1966), the possibility of the mixture of a work of al-Kindi and that of false-Euclid in some folios of MS Berlin. A newly discovered text, MS Manisa, was proved to be a different edition of some parts of MS Berlin. In addition, according to my opinion, MS London, the text being most popular among researchers, has some problems too.Certainly, MS London deals with various topics of music, but it is much different from the other texts in its contents. The number of strings of 'ud, for example, is five, like the later philosophers such as al-Farabi and Ibn Sina, according to MS London, whereas the number is four in the other texts; diagrams are included only in MS London; unlike the other texts, no idea of astrology is found in MS London.To settle this problem, the date of copying MS London may yield some clues. The manuscript was copied on November 29, 1662 from a manuscript written at Damascus in the middle of November 1224 based on “an imperfect and undependable” manuscript according to the copyist of MS London. It may therefore well be that there are some interpolations of copyists in MS London. One must hence be careful in citing this text for arguing al-Kind's theory; the full picture of his musical theory described in the present paper must also be renewed whenever the text critique is advanced and a new text is discovered.