Dropsie College Theses

Date of Award

Winter 2-18-1975

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

A. Katsh

Second Advisor


Third Advisor

Leon Nemoy


Common to all the songs brought together in this thesis, is their being songs which were sung by the Jewish people in Baghdad to the tunes of well-known melodies.

These songs have been written in the Judaeo-Arabic dialect in a cursive hand called by the Jews, "suqi". The texts are virtually unvocalized, and consequently, correct reading of them requires expertise in the dialect of the Iraqi Jews. Most of the songs are preserved in manuscripts, copied mostly in the nineteenth century, or in oral tradition; a few are printed in small and rare pamphlets published in Baghdad. All the material is found either in manuscripts or in microfilms at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In this thesis, I have included two hundred songs out of sixteen manuscripts, and have translated nearly half of them into English. All the folk songs of the Iraqi Jews, except for the liturgic poems which are in Hebrew, are in Arabic. Much Hebrew liturgical poetry also was written on the model and melody of these Arabic folk songs. In addition to these folk songs, the manuscripts contain also folk songs in Persian, Turkish, and Hindu; these latter are not dealt with in this thesis.


Library at the Katz Center - Archives Thesis. ML3776 .K53 1975.

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