Musical and Orientalist Elaborations: Edward Said on Music


This paper examines Edward Said’s views on music and its connection with key concepts such as orientalism and worldliness in his writings. It is suggested that to see the importance of classical Western music as a key component of Western culture in Said’s work, one has to take into account the centrality of culture in his critical views and the stress he puts on its complicity with Western imperialism and colonialism. The article reviews Said’s analysis of the socio-cultural moorings of Western classical music as an art which both reflected and affected society. Central to the paper is also Said’s account of the paradoxical character of music in its private/public dialectic.