(In English) The Maghrebi-Andalusian Exchange in the Fields of Music and Linguistics:The Jewish Communities’ Contribution

A Workshop on the History and Culture of North African Jewry

(Yale University, April 21-28 2010)



The Maghrebi-Andalusian Exchange in the Fields of Music and Linguistics:

The Jewish Communities’ Contribution


Mohamed Elmedlaoui

Université Mohammed V – Souissi

Institut Universitaire de la Recheche Scientifique




The Maghrebi-Andalusian cultural exchange is rich and tight. But its imprint in memory through historical texts is mostly subject to a special grid of ethnical hierarchy of values. I will examine briefly here two fields: the musical heritage (sec. 1) and the linguistic sciences (sec. 2). Subsection (2.2) is devoted to that mentioned special grid of values. In fact, musical genres and linguistic sciences are nowadays two main modes of the “Moroccan presence” abroad. Through their warp and weft multidimensional tessitura, some genres of Moroccan music reflect many features of Moroccan culture and history, such as for example the various types and forms of relations that connected the country’s history the history of its neighbor in the North, Spain, with which it constituted what the ancient Moroccan chronicles and hagiologies used to designate as alεadwatân العدوتان “the two banks (of Gibraltar Strait)”. Those musical genres reflect namely how the various ethnic, linguistic and/or confessional components which coexisted and interfered in that space, the Jewish communities in particular, all played complementary roles in this historical network.

The overall Moroccan and Maghrebi presence in general, also took through history the shape of substantial contributions to the development of knowledge, especially in the field of the human sciences, linguistics in particular (but also socio-economy, field geography and philosophy of history). Here also, the Jewish communities of both the two banks of the Gibraltar Strait played a leading role.


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