Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

MS. Arab. d. 257 (Bodleian Library, Oxford University)

Oriental Manuscripts


A copy of al-Fārābī's 'Grand Book on Music', collated and annotated by Rauf Yekta Bey.

Incipit: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله ربّ العالمين وصلّى الله على محمد وآله وصحبه وسلّم كتاب صناعة علم الموسيقي الّفه لابي جعفر محمد بن القسم الكَرْجي محمد بن محمد الطرحاني رحمة الله عليه افتتاح الكتاب ذكرتَ تشوّقَكَ الى النظر فيما تشتمل عليه صناعة علم الموسيقى المنسوبة الى القدمآء
Explicit: هذا ادام الله عزَّك تمام الصناعة التي احببت الاطلاع عليه . . . ولا يُشْكَرُ على اِتمامِها غيرُك ولا يُحمد على اِظهارها سواك فبلَّغك الله نهاية آمالك في دنياك وآخرتِك م م م
Colophon: تم الكتاب وفرغ من استنساخه عٮد الرؤف الڡراٮى يوم السبت الثامن والعشرون من ذى القعدة من سنة تسع عشرة وثلثمائة والف سنه ۱٣١۹ والحمد لله رب العالمين وصلواته على محمد سيّد الانبيآء والمرسلين وعلى آله الطيّبين الطاهرين المنتخبين المتنجبين وسلامه م م م

This MS was the working, annotated copy of the Turkish musicologist and ney-flute performer Rauf Yekta, 1871-1935. It is based on Istanbul MS Köprülü 953, and collated with Istanbul MS Ragıp Paşa 876, from which the several lacunae in the former MS are supplied in Yekta Bey's hand. Yekta Bey also made annotations based on the work of Kosegarten, and D' Erlanger [see bibliography below].

Language(s): Arabic


GAL I, 212, nos. 7-9.
Şeşen, Ramazan., et al. Fihris Makhṭūṭāt Maktabat Kūprīlī, 1986, i:484-485, no. 953.
Cf. Neubauer, E., Kitāb al-Mūsīqī al-Kabīr. Frankfurt: Institut für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften, 1998. [Facsimile of MS Köprülü 953, with lacunae supplied from Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana MS. 289].
Printed as: Fārābī, Kitāb al-Mūsīqá al-Kabīr. Eds. A.K. Ghaṭṭās & M.A. al-Ḥifnī. Cairo, 1967.
D'Erlanger, [Baron] Rodolphe. La Musique Arabe. 6 vols. Paris, 1930-. [Vols. i and ii contain a French translation of the K. al-Mūsīqī al-kabīr].

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: ff. iii + 256 + iv.
Dimensions (leaf): 27.0 × 20.0 cm.
Dimensions (written): 15.0 × 11.0 cm.

Modern foliation in pencil every 5 folios. Original pagination in some disorder.


Written in one column throughout; 13 lines per page; line height 11.5mm.


Script: Professional Naskh/taʻlīq, in black ink. Scribe: ʻAbd al-Raʼūf al-Qarābī[?]

Script: Common ruqʻah style script. Scribe: Rauf Yekta, 1871-1935

  • Marginalia: Extensive marginal collation notes and annotations in pencil and pen by Rauf Yekta Bey.
  • Catchwords: There are catchwords in the inferior inner margin of each verso.


Bound in contemporaneous red cloth over boards. Label on upper board gives title as 'Kitāb al-Mūsīqī al-kabīr'.


Good condition. Spine slightly worn.


Origin: Istanbul; 28th Dhū al-Qaʻdah 1319. AH; 8th March 1902. CE

Provenance and Acquisition

Rauf Yekta Bey.

Bought from N. G. McBurney ABA, [early printing and manuscripts of the Islamic world, list II], 11th December 2019. Purchased with the support of Friends of the Bodleian, and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund , and a private donor.

Record Sources

Born digital.


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