The gayat al-matlub fi `ilm al-adwar wa-'l-durub by Ibn Kurr is the
only theoretical text of any substance that can be considered
representative of musicological discourse in Cairo during the first
half of the fourteenth century CE. Indeed, nothing comparable
survives from the whole Mamluk period, which extends from 1260
until the Ottoman invasion and conquest of Egypt in 1516. But its
value does not derive merely from its fortuitous isolation: it is
important, rather, because of the richness of the information it
provides with regard to modal and rhythmic structures, and also
because of the extent to which the definitions it offers differ
from those set forth in an interrelated series of major theoretical
works in both Arabic and Persian that span the period from the
middle of the thirteenth century to the late fifteenth. Alongside
the presumption of transregional uniformity these texts suggest, it
consequently asserts the significance of local particularism. Owen
Wright provides a critical edition of the text itself, together
with a glossary, prefaced by an introduction and a detailed
commentary and analysis. The introduction provides immediate
context, situating the work in relation to the dominant theoretical
tradition of the period and providing biographical information
about the author, active in Cairo during the first half of the
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