Sentimental Gesture and the Politics of ‘Shape’ in the Performances of Abd al-Halim Hafiz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter offers, as a case study that seeks to mediate between these extremes, the sentimental gestural world of Abd al-Halim Hafiz. Abd al-Halim Hafiz was a crooner whose singing career was deeply implicated in Nasser’s revolution in Egypt (1952) – a revolution that was modernising, non-aligned, secular. A few quick observations might be made about Abd al-Halim’s gestures to set the scene. Firstly, they had a viral quality, mimicked and reproduced across various media. Secondly, they were reflexive and self-aware. The more he gestured, the more he was represented gesturing; the more he was represented gesturing, the more it seemed he gestured. Thirdly, they were entangled with the media system’s dispositif. The organisation of the Abd al-Halim Hafiz Qariat al-Finjan performances could be approached rather separately from the point of view of the music or the text.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInvestigating Musical Performance
Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical Models and Intersections
EditorsGianmario Borio, Alessandro Cecchi, Giovanni Giuriati, Marco Lutzu
Place of PublicationLondon
Pages 185-197
ISBN (Electronic)9780429026461
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020

Cite this