Mr Salvatore Morra

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Personal profile



2011 Morra, S. Liuto Magico,Iuppiter Edizioni, Napoli.

Journal Articles, Edited Volumes and Websites  


2018 Morra, S. ‘The Tunisian ʻūd Video Culture’. Ethnomusicology in Audiovisual Time, Zhejiang University           Press.


2018 Morra, S. ‘al-ʻūd al-ʻarbī al-tūnsī’. [The Tunisian ʻūd ʻarbī]. Jaridāt al-Founūn. (178): 79-83.


2017 Morra, S. ‘The Tunisian ʻūd in Screen: A Nostalgic Revival’. Music on Screen, 1(2): 201-224.


2017 Morra, S. ‘Reshaping the Tunisian ʻūd in the 21st Century’. Studia Instrumentorum Musicae                         Popularis,5 (2): 263-268.


2017 Morra, S. ‘A Tunisian Musical Icon’.


2016 Morra, S. ‘But is it an ʻūd?’.


2016 Morra, S. “Funzione e Interpretazione della Ninna Nanna nel Vicino Oriente Arabo: un                                caso Tunisino.” In Civiltà Musicale, (70): 14-23.




2017 William E. Gribbon Fund, American Musical Instrument Society, $400 

2016 Tullia Magrini Award, Università di Bologna, €3.000 

2014 Doctoral Studentship, Italian Ministry of Education, €57.000 

2012 CHESS Thalman Fees Award, University of Cambridge, £8,000



2019 "The Tunisian Ud’ Arbi: Morphology, Features and African Identity". ICTM Study Group for the Music in the Arab World Symposium “A socio-cultural mapping of the Music in the Arab World” Institut français d’archéologie orientale (IFAO) Cairo, January 7-10 2019. 

2017 ‘But is it a ʻūd? The quwaytara, lute of the Horniman Museum’.
The joint conference of the Galpin Society and the American Musical Instrument Society, University of Edinburgh, UK.   

2017 ‘The making of the Tunisian ʻūd in the 21st century’. The 21st symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Musical Instruments. Academy of Music, University of Sarajevo. 

2016 ‘The Tunisian ʻūd Video Culture’. The 1st Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Audiovisual ethnomusicology. City Museum, Ljubljana, Slovenia. 

2016 ‘Modal Transformations in Tunisian istikhbār. Musicians in the Mediterranean: Narratives of Movement. Joint meeting of the ICTM Study Group “Mediterranean Music Studies” and the International Musicological Society, in association with ISMEO - International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies. The Conservatorio San Pietro a Majella and the Università degli studi di Napoli "L'Orientale". Napoli, Italy.

2015 ‘Al Kindi,Villoteau and the North African oud: The Case of the Horniman Museum in London’. Rachel Beckles Willson and Salvatore Morra joint paper. Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum. Music Department, City University London (in conjunction with the Institute of Musical Research), London UK.  

2015 ‘The Tunisia ‘ūd of the Horniman Collection London’. Centre National de Recherches Préhistoriques, Antropologiques et Historiques, Sixième édition du colloque international d’anthropologie et musique, Savoir-faire et transmission dans les musiques de tradition orale et le Malouf constantinois, Constantine Algeria.

2015 ‘Funzione ed Interpretazione della "Ninna Nanna" nell'Oriente Arabo’. Convegno “Ninna Nanna nasce una mamma: dalla culla alla relazione”. Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali dell’Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II e Conservatorio di musica di Napoli S. Pietro a Majella. Napoli, Italy.

2014 ‘Authenticity and Innovation: Conceptualising a “Tunisian School’ of ʻūd Performance in the Twentieth Century’. Symposium on “Musical Traditions in North Africa”. Centre of Arab and Mediterranean Music. Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. 

2014 ‘The Tunisian ʻūd Soundscape’. Encontro Científico Internacional para Estudos sobre Som e Instrumentos Musicais, Museu Nogueira da Silva. Braga, Portugal.

2014 ‘Authenticity and Innovation: Analysing Tunisian ʻūd Improvisation’. “Analysis, Cognition and Ethnomusicology”, annual conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and the third international conference on “Analytical Approaches to World Music”. Centre for Music and Science (University of Cambridge) and the Society for Music Analysis. The Institute of Musical Research (IMR), School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK.



Fluent: Italian, English, Arabic

Proficient: French

Reading knowledge: Spanish


My research focuses on the use, experience, and mediation of music in everyday life, particularly in the region of the Mediterranean Sea and Middle East. My doctoral research examined the public and intimate identities of the Tunisian musical instrument ʻūd ʻarbī within the context of mālūf urban music. Through archival work, long-term participant observation, and interviews with musicians, instrument-makers and audiences, my thesis seeks to demonstrate how the ʻūd ʻarbī inhabits and performs several aspects of cultural and national identity in modern Tunisia (1865-present), highlighting the diverse ways in which the instrument is transmitted, constructed, and performed.

My current research project, which is supported by the University of Bologna and Magrini family award (2016-2019), explores how continued and increasing migration is transforming contemporary Tunisian musical society, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which Tunisian emigrés to Italy and France are dealing with shifting migratory musical realities within the ‘receiving’ countries. In line with existing migration studies (Snel, Engbersen and Leerkes 2006), this perspective investigates the integration and transnational musical identification of certain Tunisian musicians under migratory circumstances. They include Marzuk Mejri, who seeks to make the World Music scene more of a hybrid voice in local circles (Italy), and Ahmad Ridha Abbes, of the Parisian Mālouf Tounès association, who integrates it as a nostalgic feature of the city (Paris).



Outside of the academy, I am a practicing musician, who performs regularly across Italy, Tunisia, and the UK. I trained as a classical guitarist (2000-2005), before working as a chamber musician, performing with both singers and string quartets. I have recorded guitar music for the Adoro-records (2004) and Draf-records (2013). In 2007, I began studying Arab music theory and performance on the Arab ʻūd with the Tunisian musician Selmi Mongi (2007-2009), and with Kamel Gharbi (2012-2015). Since 2015, I have served as the Naples/London correspondent for the Italian journal Il Giornale della Musica, writing articles and reviews on Opera and Oriental music. Since 2019 I am member of the ISMEO Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies (Rome) and responsible for the promotion and exchange of musical projects among institutions in the middle east.  


Educational background

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, WOLFSON COLLEGE                                           Cambridge, UK

Mphil Music Studies, Faculty of Music                                                                  2012/2013

Dissertation Title:Authenticity and Innovation: Conceptualising a “Tunisian School” of ʿūd Performance in the Twentieth Century”


UNIVERSITY OF NAPLES, L'ORIENTALE”                                                 

Naples, IT 2010

BA, Laurea in Lingue e Culture Comparate (Inglese/Arabo), Facoltà di Lettere      


CONSERVATORIO DI MUSICA “NICOLA SALA”                                             

Benevento, IT 2005


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