Music is central to many important events in the Islamic world. Yet many members of Islamic society who follow the teachings of the Qur'an hold music and musicians in very little regard. Hiromi Lorraine Sakata examined this paradox during her research in Afghanistan in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and produced this insightful book.
Through case studies in the city of Herat (western Afghanistan), the remote provincial capital Faizabad (northeastern Afghanistan), and the village of Khadir (central Afghanistan), Sakata discusses traditional Islamic concepts of music and musician and interprets modern attitudes towards them both. She pays particular attention to the term musiqi (which can be generally translated as "secular music") and how misinterpretations of this construct may be the root of Western misunderstandings about music and musicians in Muslim societies.
Sakata collaborated with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to produce a CD of Afghan music, which is included with the book.
This is an unpretentious yet extremely valuable contribution to our understanding of traditional music in Afghanistan. It may well be the last important study of Afghani music for some time. (Choice)
Her book is an important contribution to the study of art and artists in society, which should prove stimulating to students of the Middle East with no particular interest in music, and to ethnomusicologist with no particular interest in the Middle East. For specialists in the music of the Middle East and Central Asia, Music in the Mind is indispensable. (International Journal Of Middle East Studies)