Egon Wellesz presents here a thorough study of music in the Ethiopic Christian tradition. Wellesz’s discussion includes a survey of previous literature, a comparison of musical features with other traditions, and examples of Ethiopic musical texts.
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The study of music is often neglected in historical surveys, particularly with regard to the historical study of Christian traditions. Egon Wellesz argues that music is an important component in the cultural history of people and language, and therefore should not be ignored. In the present study, Wellesz presents a thorough discussion of the musical traditions of Ethiopic Christianity. Wellesz begins with a survey of literature on music in the Oriental tradition, and then provides a brief comparison of the features of Ethiopic music with that of other Eastern and Oriental traditions. Wellesz proceeds by discussing the signification of musical directions and the notation. Finally, Wellesz provides examples of Ethiopic music by including pictures of a few manuscripts containing musical texts, transcribing the Ethiopic text of those manuscripts, and providing a transliterated song with the Ethiopic musical notations. This significant study serves both as an introduction to Ethiopic music for beginners and as an important reference work for experts.