Robert Lachmann’s “Oriental Music” Broadcasts, 1936–1937: A Musical Ethnography of Mandatory Palestine

Edited volume with editorial introduction, notes, commentary, musical transcriptions, and transcriptions and translations of the Hebrew, Arabic (Palestinian), Judeo-Arabic and Coptic song texts. Accompanying 2-CD set of digitally restored metal disc recordings. Produced in collaboration with Simon Godsill (Dept. of Engineering, University of Cambridge).

The ethnomusicologist Robert Lachmann (1892–1939) wrote and presented twelve radio programs entitled Oriental Music, which were transmitted by the Palestine Broadcasting Service between November 1936 and April 1937. The programs, which formed part of Lachmann’s pioneering project to establish an “Oriental music archive” at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, included live performances of traditional music representing the different ethnic and religious communities of Palestine, performances that were simultaneously recorded onto metal disc. This edition presents Lachmann’s scripts with musical transcriptions of performances, transcriptions and translations of the sung texts, and selected digitally restored musical recordings (provided on the accompanying set of compact discs). The introduction and editorial commentaries explore Lachmann’s radio lectures as they relate to his body of research on “Oriental music” and to wider concerns of scholarship, politics, and ideology. This edition will appeal to scholars of Middle Eastern cultural history and ethnomusicology, and especially to those interested in the history of sound archives, recording and broadcasting, the intellectual history of ethnomusicology, and the history, theory, and aesthetics of Middle Eastern music.