http://www. touregypt. net/music. htm Overview and Ancient Music Music has been a part of Egyptian culture probably since its beginning. Tomb and temple paintings show a variety of musical instruments in both sacred and secular environments, and many of the dead were buried with instruments. This leads to the thought that music formed an integral part of not only Egyptian rituals, but also daily life and recreation. Sadly, no written pieces of music have survived, and no system of notation is known to have been developed by the ancient Egyptians.
It would seem that music in ancient Egypt was, like so many of the arts at that time, passed down from one person to another in a form of “aural” tradition. Various universities and institutions are working to extrapolate what ancient Egyptian music might have sounded like based on present-day and known historical forms using recreations of instruments. Instruments known to have existed in ancient Egypt are roughly the same ones as have been created by nearly all civilizations.
Lyres, harps, flutes, pipes, horns (not “true” horns as we know them, but instruments similar to the didgeridoo of the Australian Aborigines, the dragon-horn of Tibet, and the shofar of the Hebrew people), and of course, drums, cymbals, and other percussion. As the ages passed, new instruments were added in as they were developed or introduced from other peoples. Given Egypt’s importance in the ancient world, one can easily assume that at one time or another, every kind of instrument ever created has been played in within its borders.
The Arab musical tradition as it is known today developed between the AD 7th and 13th Centuries in the courts of Islam. The first great renaissance of Arab music occurred in Syria and the surrounding regions during the Umayyad Dynasty (AD 7th-8th Century). At that time Baghdad, in what is now Iraq, was a central city for musicians and performers, partly due to its ruler, the legendary Haroun al-Raschid. Arabic music, insofar as can be inferred reliably, traces its ancestry in part to the music of the 3rd Century Persians and the early Byzantine Empire (AD 4th-6th Century).
These traditions in turn can trace themselves back in part to the works of the Greeks, themselves great lovers of poetry and song. But both are traced back to the ancient Semitic traditions which may have their origins in the music of the ancient Egyptians. The 10th Century music theorist Al-Farabi translated the major works of the ancient Greeks on music into Arabic: Aristotle’s Problems, Themistius’ commentaries on the Problems, Ptolemy’s Harmonics, and the Elements of Music by Euclid.
This increased the effect of the Greeks on Arabic music, but also gave a foundation upon which to build a concrete theory of Arabic music, which Al-Farabi did. Like Euclid before him, Al-Farabi was a mathematician and physicist, and so was able to examine musical structure from the scientific standpoint. But what was more, he was a musician and was perhaps better equipped mentally to study music as an art form and not cold mathematics. He focused not only on the science of sound but also the aesthetics and the enjoyment of music, a subject which the Greeks apparently had ignored.
Structure of Arabic Music, or, “I’ve Got Rhythm” The musical forms of the Arab and Islamic world are the predominant form of music in Egypt in its recent history (two millennia is recent to an historian). However, there is some weight to the idea that Arabic musical forms are in fact the product of ancient Egyptian musical forms. Such a discussion is unfortunately beyond the scope of this article. The Arabic forms are the most easily accessible for study and their basic traits have continued relatively unchanged for several centuries.
Arabic music, like most other forms of the African tradition, is based largely on variation and improvisation of and upon a central theme. This makes it very similar in structure to jazz, which also has deep roots in African music. Central to the musical piece is a complex skeletal rhythm comprised of strong downbeats (dum), rests, and upbeats (tak). This base structure, the maqamat, can be played on a variety of instruments, though the drum and the guitar are the most common. On this framework, the performers build a sequence of unharmonized melodies, varying the original rhythm and improvising new ones.
An intriguing side-effect of improvisational music forms is the use of notes not actually present in the formal musical scale used by the artist. Arabic music makes extensive use of what are called microtones, or half-flats and half-sharps, resulting in music that has more notes than many Western forms (though jazz, with its portmanteau technique, is a notable exception). A performance of traditional Arabic music is a union of performer and audience. A silent audience is seen by many Arab musicians as disapproving.
Unlike Western audiences, the perfect audience in the Arab world is expected to clap, sing along, and make requests for the performer to repeat sections of the piece. Often, these requests are made during the performance, and a ten-minute composition may turn into a half-hour one as the musicians replay and embellish their melody for an appreciative audience. A performance of traditional music can be quite friendly and informal and hearkens back to the days before recordings when most Arabic music was played in coffeehouses.
The Turn of the Century and the Recording Boom It was the invention of the phonograph and its later descendants that put music in the hands of the people at large. Obviously, before recordings, music was limited to performance only, and depending on the genre, this could greatly limit the audience. Orchestral pieces, for example, were the mostly the province of the rich due to the cost of maintaining facilities and performers and the high ticket prices to cover that cost. With the coming of recorded music, people could listen anytime they wished.
In 1909, Britain’s Gramophone Company created its first record label, “His Master’s Voice,” whose famous dog-and-gramophone logo still exists as part of RCA. “His Master’s Voice” began a massive campaign a few years later to record traditional Arabic music as well as the newer forms that were created. In 1914, Decca introduced the famous mass-produced “case” gramophone. Although the gramophone was still expensive, and only the richest individuals purchased them, many public businesses would buy them to play for their customers.
It became quite common a decade or so later in Egypt for people to travel to the local coffeehouse to socialize and listen to the latest performances by artists such as Umm Kulthum and Mohamed Abdel Wahab. Shortly before this time Arabic music began to change, especially in Egypt. Composers like Sayed Darwish were adopting Western elements into traditional forms, resulting in what was considered to be the first truly Egyptian music in centuries. The new music became more orchestral and modern while still retaining the power and freedom of the older.
Many of these pieces are still alive today, being arranged for contemporary artists like Sabah Fakhri and Fairouz. As recording technology became cheaper, so did records and players. More people could purchase them, and did. The gramophone became a household item much in the same way the radio would soon after. The “new” music of Egypt and the Arab world spread, bringing with it a strong cultural identity The Modern Day However, the evolution of Arabic music was not one-way. Being one of the oldest musical traditions in the world still existing it naturally had its influence on other forms.
Spanish music shows a strong ancestry of Arabic music due to the conquest of Spain by the Islamic empires (8th-15th Centuries), as does the “Mediterranean” music of Greece and Italy. The effects of Arabic music can even be felt as far as the United States as traditional maqamat surface in nightclub techno music and the Tejano music of the Southwest. Modern Arabic music now fills all genres. There are musicians who perform traditional melodies and there are those that are closer to the Western conventions of pop and “Top 40. ” Throughout the years the Egyptians have never lost their love for music.
If anything, it has intensified, and today Egypt is seen as a major focus for music in the Arab world. Lebanese-born conductor and composer Salim Sahab, now a citizen of Egypt, once said, “No matter how brilliantly an Arab singer or artist shines in his own country, he or she will never fulfill dreams before setting foot in Egypt. ” Egypt’s importance in Arabic music is shown by the fact that many of the great masters of Arabic music were Egyptian: Sayed Darwish, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Umm Kulthum, Mohamed Al-Qasabji, Zakariyya Ahmad, and Riad Al-Sunbati just to name a few.
Egypt has also opened its doors to artists of other countries, some of them persecuted in their own lands. For example, when Abu Khalil Al-Qabani was accused in Syria of being a negative influence on the youth, he went to Cairo and there founded the first true orchestra for Arabic music. Egypt loves its musicians, and it is said that the funeral of Egypt’s greatest singer, Umm Kulthum, in 1975 was larger than that of President Nasser. Today the ranks of Arabic musicians are filled out with names like Ilham Al Madfai, Fairouz, and Magda El Roumi.
Yet the name that is truly taking Arabic music to the world is that of Amr Diab. His talent for music has garnered him numerous accolades including the 1998 World Music Award for his song “Nour El Ain,” making him only the second Arabian singer ever to win the award. His English version of that song, called “Habibi,” was a top song in Europe and became popular in dance clubs in the United States. He has toured around the world and is an artist with broad appeal because his songs show a variety of musical styles, from traditional Arabic rhythms to European dance to the soulful ballads of the Americas. ———————————————— The music of the Middle East is now coming full-circle as the modern musicians assimilate elements from many of the musical forms that had their beginnings in Arabic music. Guitar virtuosos like Ilham Al Madfai play with a deep, rich Mediterranean sound that comes from the Moorish Conquest, and the techno and rave music of Ibiza comes now to Alexandria and Cairo, not realizing that it is in fact returning to its homeland. The future paths of Arabic music will show that what is old really can be new again.
Links for Further Enjoyment Seven thousand years of musical history is too much for a simple article like this, so I am including my list of source material so that you can go through it. Much of what I have learned about Arabic music comes from these sources. Take a look at them and learn even more. I am deeply grateful to these sources for providing me with the information I needed. Books Danielson, Virginia Louise. The Voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic Song, and Egyptian Society in the Twentieth Century. Chicago, University of Chicago Press: 1997. Farmer, Henry George.
A History of Arabian Music. Suffolk, Lowe and Brydon: 1929. Faruqi, Lois. An Annotated Glossary of Arabic Musical Terms. Greenwood Publishing Group: 1981. ————————————————- Liu, Benjamin M. and Monroe, James T. Ten Hispano-Arabic Strophic Songs in the Modern Oral Tradition: Music and Texts. Berkeley, University of California Press: 1990. Musical Instruments http://looklex. com/e. o/tar. htm Tar | | A wood-framed singleheaded drum covered with goatskin. The Tar is similar to the tambourine in shape and size, but is without the metal disks.
Since many versions of this drum were made with a single string placed beneath the drum-head, the instrument acquired the name Tar. This name comes from Persian, and means string. The Tar originated probably in Pharaonic Egypt, but it has many counterparts worldwide. The Tar is traditionally played with the bare hands, but in some cultures a stick is used in order to beat it. Tar is the main instrument accompanying the Nubian songs, citings & songs in Sudan and Egypt. The Nubian singers master a very remarkable and distinctive rhythmic tapping on Tar. ttp://looklex. com/e. o/oud. htm Oud Arabic: ‘al-? ud | | The Oud is a highly ornate instrument made of wood, with six double strings, with a pear-shaped body and a non-fretted neck. Traditionally, the Oud was plucked with an eagle feather or a pick made from the horn of a water buffalo. Originating in Pharaonic Egypt, where it was known as Nefer, it was adopted by Persian invaders and its name changed to Barbet. From Persia it moved north into Russia, then east into China and Japan, to respectively become the Balalaika, Pipa and Biwa.
In the fifth century, it travelled westward to the Arabian Peninsula with the Persians who helped rebuild the Ka’ba in Mecca. In Arabia it was given the name Oud, which in Arabic means wood and is the root from whence the European word “lute” is derived. The Bedouins used the Oud to accompany the poetry recitations for which they were justly renowned. With the Islamic expansion, the Oud reached many diverse lands and cultures which had come under Islamic rule. During the Abbasid Caliphate, at the court of Harun Al-Rashid in Baghdad, the Oud was further refined by the great Iraqi musician Zeriab.
Jealousy and intrigue on the part of Ishag-al-Mawsili, his teacher and the royal court musician, drove Zeriab to seek refuge in Andalusia. When he arrived in Spain, the cities of Cordoba, Seville and Granada were centers of great cultural, artistic, and religious activity. These centers, under the inspiration and influence of the Sufis, were to have a tremendous impact on medieval Europe. Once settled at the court in Cordoba, Zeriab set about introducing the concepts of a new music, drawn from Greek, Persian and Arab elements, that were to influence deeply the foundations of European classical music.
The Oud was introduced into western Europe by the Knights Templar returning from the Holy Land and by the Troubadours (from the Arabic root T-r-b, meaning lutanist) from Provence. Having reached the troubadours from Muslim Spain, this instrument was to play a crucial role in the establishment of the Romantic Courts. The poetry, music, and ideals that ensued from this great endeavor became the infrastructure upon which the Renaissance was built. Brought into the British Isles, the Oud was transformed in the Elizabethan period into the western European lute.
Today, the Oud still remains very popular in the Middle East, where it is regarded as the queen of instruments. ————————————————- By Abubakr Sidahmed Musical styles http://looklex. com/e. o/rai. htm Rai Arabic: ra’yy | Music examples| Chaba Fadela: Rai Rayi (Live, 1992) Cheb Bilal: Rak Mrid 2002| Prominent performers| Cheikha Rimitti Khaled Cheb Mami| All articles include music examples. | Music style mixing modern, western rhythms and technology with a traditional music line. Rai grew out of northwestern Algeria, and has reached all corners of the world.
The most prominent performers are now living abroad, mainly in France. The Arabic word ra’yy is the common word for ‘opinion, view, notion’. The Rai has been a style that have provoked both the Algerian governments, which banned all Rai from being played in radio up until 1985, and also among militant Islamists which assassinated the performer Cheb Hasni during the civil unrest in the country. Rai music had its centre in Oran, and its origins were older religious traditions close to Sufism and female cult around the zawiyyas.
Even if a clear majority of today’s performers of Rai are men, Rai is noted for the strong position of its female performers. Men that started to perform this type of music, often did it among women, but they added elements to it even the main subject remained unchanged: problems in the everyday life. When the music spread around Algeria in the 1960’s it was very much because of its danceability. An important aid to the distribution were music cassettes. The style was a catchy mixture of medieval melody lines and Western rhythms. There was also a mixture of both traditional and modern instruments.
And the lyrics covered the whole range of subjects from religion to politics. More than any other form of Arab music, Rai has been the caught on world attention, and performers like Khaled (formerly Cheb Khaled) and Cheb Mami are international stars, with Europe and America as their most important markets. ————————————————- By Tore Kjeilen Musicians http://looklex. com/e. o/hafez_abdel_halim. htm Abdel Halim Hafez Arabic: ? adbu l-halim hafiz Given name: Abdel Halim Ali Ismail Shabana | Music examples| Abdel Halim Hafez in concert (Date unknown)|
Movies| Lahn al-Wafa (The Song of Truth)| 1955| Ayamna l-Halwa (Our Beautiful Days)| 1955| Ayam wa Layali (Days and Nights)| 1955| Mawed Gharam (Promised Love)| 1956| Dalila| 1956| Banat al-Yawm (The Girls of Today)| 1957| Fata Ahlami (The Man Of Dreams) | 1957| Alwisada el-Khalia (The Empty Pillow)| 1957| Shari’ al-Hubb (Love Street)| 1958| Hakayit Hubb (A Love Story)| 1959| Al-Banat wa-l-Sayf (Girls and Summer) | 1960| Yawm Min Umri (A Day of My Life)| 1961| al-Khataya (The Sins)| 1962| Ma’abudat al Gamahir (The Beloved Diva)| 1963| Abi Fuq el-Shagara (My Father Atop a Tree)| 1969| (1929-1977) Egyptian singer and actor. Abdel Halim is among the most popular artists ever in the Arab world, combing real talents in both singing and acting. He is remembered for his sweet voice, gaining him the nickname the “Tan Nightingale. ” Most of his songs were romantic in nature, and many were written by Muhammad Abdel Wahhab. Though the core of his music was traditional, he is noted for having welcomed modern instruments, like the synthesizer, in order to bring forth new dimensions in the music. Abdel Halim never married, but there were rumours of his doing so in secret.
In his younger days, Abdel Halim was about to marry, but his fiancee died shortly before the marriage. This tragic event would come to have much influence on his art. Abdel Halim recorded albums, but was mainly a live performer. Much of his music is available only from live recordings. Among his most popular songs are Qariat al-Fingan, Ahwak, Khosara, Gana el-Hawa and Sawah. He also starred in 16 films. Biography 1929 June 21: Born in the small town Halawat, in the Nile Delta, as son of a local shaykh. His mother dies after giving birth to him. 1934: His father dies, and he moves in with close relatives in Cairo. 940: Jopins the Academy of Arabic Music in Cairo, taking lessons in singing and learning to play the oboe. 1948: Graduates from the academy. Around 1950: Plays at night clubs, and is discovered by hazard while singing on national radio by one the executives, Hafez Abdel Wahab. Abdul Halim would add Hafez to his own name in recognition of his importance to his own life and career. 1977 March 30: Abdel Halim dies in London, UK, from Bilharzia, which he had contracted as an 11-year old kid. The crowds following his funeral were reported to have been about 100,000, one of the largest crowds at any funeral ever in Egypt. ———————————————— By Tore Kjeilen http://looklex. com/e. o/amr_diab. htm Amr Diab Arabic: ? amruw ? abdi l-basit diyab | Music examples| Habibi (1996) Tamally Maak (2000) Wu He Amla Eh (2000) Ya Kenzi (2003)| Studio albums| Ya Tareeq| 1983| Ghani Min Albak| 1984| Hala Hala| 1986| Khalseen| 1987| Mayaal| 1988| Shawakna| 1989| Matkhafish| 1990| Habibi| 1991| Ice Cream Fe Gleem| 1992| Ayamna| 1992| Ya Omrena| 1993| Zekrayat| 1994| We Yloumouni| 1994| Ragein| 1995| Nour el Ain| 1996| Awedony| 1998| Amarain| 1999| Tamally Maak| 2000| Aktar Wahed| 2001|
Aliem Alby| 2003| Leily Nahary| 2004| Kammel Kalamak| 2005| | (1961-) Egyptian singer and songwriter, one of the most popular in the Arab world. Amr Diab has a public image according to Western patterns, in everything from clothes to nightlife. Still, his music belongs to the Egyptian streetstyle known as al-gil. It remains close to the traditional Arabic styles, even though incorporating Western rhythms. Amr Diab has grown to become an international phenomenon, and has received several prizes for his achievements. His 1996 album Nour el Ain is the best-selling album ever by an Arab artist.
He has cooperated at occasions with the Algerian musician, Khaled. ————————————————- Biography 1961 October 11: Born in Port Said into a wealthy family. 1968: Six years old, he sings on Egyptian radio, and is highly praised. 1983. Releases his debut album, Ya Tareeq, which becomes an instant hit. 1986: Graduates from the Cairo Academy of Art. 1996: He gets great international success with Habibi, also in Western countries. It goes no. 1 in India, Argentina, Chile, France and South Africa. ————————————————- By Tore Kjeilen
Umm Kulthum http://looklex. com/e. o/umm_kult. htm Arabic: ‘umm kulthum Other spellings: Oum, Omm; Kalsoum, Kalthum, Kalthoum, Kolthoum Incorrect spellings: Khalthoum Tamayya z-Zahira, Dakhliyya 1904- Cairo 1975) Egyptian singer and musician. Umm Kulthum is the most popular and treasured musician in the Middle East of this century. She was immensely popular for 50 years, and still her songs are heard frequently all over the entire Arab world. Umm Kulthum was born into a poor family. The father was the village imam who made some extra money by singing at weddings and at other special occasions.
He taught Umm Kulthum religious songs and let her take part in the performances, but they had to dress her up as a boy. Until 1923 Umm Kulthum toured the local Delta area, but then the family went to Cairo in the search of a commercial career. Within some years she had established herself as one of the top performers in Egypt, and she had a lucrative recording deal and gave both public and private concerts. She worked with composers like Zakariyya Ahmad, Muhammadu l-Qasabji and Riyadu s-Sunbati, she recited classical poetry and she made a handful of musical films.
After the revolution in 1952, she used her art to support the new rulers, but she also gave speeches. From the 1960s her style became more popular and she sang about love between man and womna, Even if this resulted in more po popularity, this part of her production is not counted among the best. In her last years she visited many other Arab countries and this took the shape of state visits. Her funeral in 1975 is described as bigger than the one of president Nasser five years earlier. The style of Umm Kulthum was influenced by Western popular music of her time, but is firmly and dominantly based upon traditional classical Arab music.
She always used large orchestras, but the main force in her performances were always her own powerful voice. She recorded over 300 songs, most famous are al-Atlal, Raqqu l-Habib, Inta umri, and Fakarouni. By Tore Kjeilen | Music example| Fakarouni (live, unknown date)| | Arabic music http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Arabic_music Bayad plays the oud to The Lady. from the Riyad & Bayad , Arabic tale Arabic music or Arab music (Arabic: ?????? ????? ; Musiqa ? Arabiyya) is the music of the Arab World, including several genres and styles of music ranging from Arabic classical to Arabic pop music and from secular to sacred music.
Arabic music, while independent and very alive, has a long history of interaction with many other regional musical styles and genres. It is an amalgam of the music of the Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula and the music of all the peoples that make up the Arab World today. As was the case in other artistic and scientific fields, Arabs translated and developed Greek texts and works of music and mastered the musical theory of the Greeks (i. e. Systema ametabolon, enharmonium, chromatikon, diatonon).  Contents * 1 History * 1. 1 Pre-Islamic period * 1. Early Islamic period * 1. 2. 1 Al-Andalus * 1. 2. 2 Influence of Arabic music * 1. 3 Sixteenth century * 1. 4 Early Modern Music in Cairo * 1. 5 Female Harem * 1. 6 Male instrumentalists * 2 Twentieth century * 2. 1 Early Secular Formation * 2. 2 Westernization * 2. 2. 1 Franco-Arabic * 2. 2. 2 Arabic R&B, Reggae, and Hip Hop * 2. 2. 3 Arabic electronica * 2. 2. 4 Arabic jazz * 2. 2. 5 Arabic rock * 3 Musical regions * 3. 1 North Africa * 3. 2 Arabian Peninsula * 3. Levant * 4 Genres * 4. 1 Secular art music * 4. 2 Sacred music * 5 Characteristics of Arabic music * 5. 1 Maqam system * 5. 1. 1 Jins/Ajnas * 5. 2 More notes used than in Western scales * 5. 2. 1 Regional scales * 5. 2. 2 Practical treatment * 5. 3 Vocal traditions * 5. 4 Instruments and ensembles * 6 External links * 7 Sources| History Pre-Islamic period The development of Arabic music has extremely deep roots in Arabic poetry dating back to the pre-Islamic period known as Jahiliyyah.
Though there is a lack of scientific study to definitively confirm the existence of Arabic music at those times, most historians agree that there existed distinct forms of music in the Arabian peninsula in the pre-Islamic period between the 5th and the 7th century AD. Arab poets of that time – called ????? ???????? or “Jahili poets” which translates to “The poets of the period of ignorance” – used to recite poems with a high musical rhythm and tone.  Music at that time played an important role in cultivating the mystique of exorcists and magicians.
It was believed that Jinns revealed poems to poets and music to musicians.  The Choir at the time served as a pedagogic facility where the educated poets would recite their poems. Singing was not thought to be the work of these intellectuals and was instead entrusted to women with beautiful voices (i. e. Al-Khansa) who would learn how to play some instruments used at that time (i. e. lute, drum, Oud, rebab, etc… ) and then perform the songs while respecting the poetic metre.  It should be noted that the compositions were simple and every singer would sing in a single maqam.
Among the notable songs of the period were the “huda” from which the ghina’ derived, the nasb, sanad, and rukbani’ Early Islamic period Arabic maqam is the system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music, which is mainly melodic. The word maqam in Arabic means “station” and denotes a melody type built on a scale and carrying a tradition that defines its habitual phrases, important notes, melodic development and modulation. Both compositions and improvisations in traditional Arabic music are based on the maqam system. Maqams can be realized with either vocal or instrumental music, and do not include a rhythmic component.
Al-Kindi (801–873 AD) was the first great theoretician of Arabic music. He proposed adding a fifth string to the oud and discussed the cosmological connotations of music. He surpassed the achievement of the Greek musicians in using the alphabetical annotation for one eighth. He published fifteen treatises on music theory, but only five have survived. In one of his treaties the word musiqa was used for the first time in Arabic, which today means music in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, English and several other languages in the Islamic world. 4] Abulfaraj (897–967) wrote great book about music Kitab al-Aghani is an encyclopedic collection of poems and songs that runs to over 20 volumes in modern editions by the 8th/9th-century litterateur . Al-Farabi (872-950) wrote a notable book on music titled Kitab al-Musiqi al-Kabir (The Great Book of Music). His pure Arabian tone system is still used in Arabic music.  Al-Ghazali (1059–1111) wrote a treatise on music in Persia which declared, “Ecstasy means the state that comes from listening to music”. In 1252, Safi al-Din developed a unique form of musical notation, where rhythms were represented by geometric representation.
A similar geometric representation would not appear in the Western world until 1987, when Kjell Gustafson published a method to represent a rhythm as a two-dimensional graph.  Al-Andalus Main article: Andalusian classical music By the 11th century, Moorish Spain had become a center for the manufacture of instruments. These goods spread gradually throughout France, influencing French troubadours, and eventually reaching the rest of Europe. The English words lute, rebec, organ and naker are derived from Arabic oud, rabab, urghun and nagqara’. Influence of Arabic music See also: Islamic contributions to Medieval Europe
A number of musical instruments used in classical music are believed to have been derived from Arabic musical instruments: the lute was derived from the Oud, the rebec (ancestor of violin) from the rebab, the guitar from qitara, which in turn was derived from the Persian Tar, naker from naqareh, adufe from al-duff, alboka from al-buq, anafil from al-nafir, exabeba from al-shabbaba (flute), atabal (bass drum) from al-tabl, atambal from al-tinbal, the balaban, the castanet from kasatan, sonajas de azofar from sunuj al-sufr, the conical bore wind instruments, the xelami from the sulami or fistula (flute or musical pipe), the shawm and dulzaina from the reed instruments zamr and al-zurna, the gaita from the ghaita, rackett from iraqya or iraqiyya, geige (violin) from ghichak, and the theorbo from the tarab. 13] Whether these links between European instruments and Oriental instruments are more than etymological is not known but is likely to be nothing more than that. The music of the troubadors may have had some Arabic origins. Ezra Pound, in his Canto VIII, famously declared that William of Aquitaine, an early troubador, “had brought the song up out of Spain / with the singers and veils… “. In his study, Levi-Provencal is said to have found four Arabo-Hispanic verses nearly or completely recopied in William’s manuscript. According to historic sources, William VIII, the father of William, brought to Poitiers hundreds of Muslim prisoners.  Trend admitted that the troubadours derived their sense of form and even the subject matter of their poetry from the Andalusian Muslims. 15] The hypothesis that the troubadour tradition was created, more or less, by William after his experience of Moorish arts while fighting with the Reconquista in Spain was also championed by Ramon Menendez Pidal in the early 20th-century, but its origins go back to the Cinquecento and Giammaria Barbieri (died 1575) and Juan Andres (died 1822). Meg Bogin, English translator of the female troubadors, also held this hypothesis, as did Idries Shah. Certainly “a body of song of comparable intensity, profanity and eroticism [existed] in Arabic from the second half of the 9th century onwards. “ One possible theory on the origins of the Western Solfege musical notation suggests that it may have had Arabic origins.
It has been argued that the Solfege syllables (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti) may have been derived from the syllables of the Arabic solmization system Durr-i-Mufassal (“Separated Pearls”) (dal, ra, mim, fa, sad, lam). This origin theory was first proposed by Meninski in his Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalum (1680) and then by Laborde in his Essai sur la Musique Ancienne et Moderne (1780), while more recent supporters include Henry George Farmer and Samuel D. Miller.  Sixteenth century Bartol Gyurgieuvits (1506–1566) spent 13 years as a slave in the Ottoman empire. After escaping, he published De Turvarum ritu et caermoniis in Amsterdam in 1544. It is one of the first European books to describe music in Islamic society. In India, the Islamic Mughal emperors ruled both Muslims and Hindus.
The greatest of these, Akbar (1542–1605) had a team of at least fifty musicians, thirty-six of whom are known to us by name. The origins of the “belly dance” are very obscure, as depictions and descriptions are rare. It may have originated in Pre islamic Arabia Examples have been found from 200 BC, suggesting a possible pre-Islamic origin. Early Modern Music in Cairo Though, according to Edward William Lane, no man of sense would ever become a musician, music was a key part of society. Tradesmen of every occupation used music during work and the schools taught the Quran by chanting. Their music was derived from Greek, Persian and Indian traditions.
According to Lane, the most remarkable peculiarity of the Arab system of music is the division of tones into thirds. The songs of this period were similar in sound and simple, consisting of only a few notes. Male professional musicians during this period were called Alateeyeh (pl) (Egyptian: [?? l?? tej?? ]), or Alatee (singular) (Egyptian: [??? l?? ti]), which means “a player upon an instrument”. However, this name applies to both vocalists as well as instrumentalists. This position was considered disreputable and lowly. However, musicians found work singing or playing at parties to entertain the company. They generally made three shillings a night, but earned more by the guests giving more.
Female professional musicians were called Alawim (pl) or Al’meh, which means a learned female. These singers were often hired on the occasion of a celebration in the harem of a wealthy person. They were not with the harem, but in an elevated room that was concealed by a screen so as not to be seen by either the harem or the master of the house. The female Alawim were more highly paid than male performers and more highly regarded than the Alateeyeh as well. Lane relates an instance of a female performer who so enraptured her audience that she earned to fifty guineas for one night’s performance from the guests and host, who were not considered wealthy.  Female Harem
Slavery was widespread around the world. Just as in the Roman empire, slaves were often brought into the Arab world from Africa. Black slaves from Zanzibar were noted in the 11th century for the quality of their song and dance. The “Epistle on Singing Girls”, written by the Basra Mu’tazilite writer al-Jahiz in the 9th century CE, satirizes the excessive money that could be made by singers. The author mentions an Abyssinian girl who fetched 120,000 dinars at an auction – far more than an ordinary slave. A festival in the 8th century CE is mentioned as having fifty singing slave-girls with lutes who acted as back-up musicians for a singer called Jamilia.
In 1893, “Little Egypt”, a belly-dancer from Syria, appeared at the Chicago world’s fair and caused a sensation. Male instrumentalists Musicians in Aleppo, 18th century. Male instrumentalists were condemned in a treatise in 9 CE. They were associated with perceived vices such as chess, love poetry, wine drinking and homosexuality. Many Persian treatises on music were burned by zealots. Following the invasion of Egypt, Napoleon commissioned reports on the state of Ottoman culture. Villoteau’s account reveals that there were guilds of male instrumentalists, who played to male audiences, and “learned females,” who sang and played for women. The instruments included the oud, the kanun (zither) and the ney (flute).
By 1800, several instruments that were first encountered in Turkish military bands had been adopted into European classical orchestras: the piccolo, the cymbal and the kettle drum. The santur, a hammered dulcimer, was cultivated within Persian classical schools of music that can be traced back to the middle of 19 CE. There was no written notation for the santur until the 1970s. Everything was learned face-to-face . Twentieth century Early Secular Formation Musicians in Aleppo, 1915. In the 20th century, Egypt was the first in a series of Arab countries to experience a sudden emergence of nationalism, as it became independent after 2000 years of foreign rule.
Turkish music, popular during the rule of the Ottoman Empire in the region, was replaced by national music. Cairo became a center for musical innovation. One of the first female musicians to take a secular approach was Umm Kulthum quickly followed by Fairuz. Both have been extremely popular through the decades that followed and both are considered legends of Arabic music. Westernization During the 1950s and the 1960s Arabic music began to take on a more Western tone with such artists as Abdel Halim Hafez paving the way. By the 1970s several other singers had followed suit and a strand of Arabic pop was born. Arabic pop usually consists of Western styled songs with Arabic instruments and lyrics. Melodies are often a mix between Eastern and Western.
In the 1990s the several artists have taken up such a style including Amr Diab, Samira Said, Hisham Abbas, Angham, Asalah Nasri, Kadhem Al Saher, Mostafa Amar, Najwa Karam, Nawal Al Zoghbi, Ehab Tawfik, Mohamed Fouad, Diana Haddad, Mohamed Mounir, Latifa, Cheb Khaled, George Wassouf, and Hakim. In 1996,( Amr Diab – Habibi ya Nour El Ain ) was released, becoming a tremendous success not only in the Middle East nor the Arab world but throughout the entire world. The title track, and its English version “Habibi”, was an international phenomenon, becoming a massive crossover hit. In this song Amr Diab has mixed three music civilizations in one track. The Spanish music in flamenco music, French music by accordion solo and Arabic which showed in the playing of drums by Duff instrument and tamphits.
This song opened the door in front of Arabic music in the way of internationality and to be popular all over the world. Franco-Arabic A popular form of West meets East style of music, similar in many respects to modern Arabic Pop. This blend of western and eastern music was popularized as Franco-Arabic music by artists such as Dalida (Egypt), Sammy Clarke (Lebanon) and Aldo from Australia. Although Franco-Arabic is a term used to describe many forms of cross-cultural blending between the West and the Middle East, musically the genre crosses over many lines as is seen in songs that incorporate Arabic and Italian, Arabic and French and, of course, Arabic and English styles and or lyrics. Arabic R&B, Reggae, and Hip Hop Main article: Arabic hip hop
There has also been a rise of R&B, reggae and hip hop influence of Arabic music in the past five years. This usually involves a rapper featured in a song (such as Ishtar in her song ‘Habibi Sawah’). The Moroccan singer Elam Jay develop a contemporary version of Gnawa, fusing it with R&B which he named Gnawitone Styla. Another variation of contemporary Gnawa played in Morocco is introduced by Darga. Based in Casablanca, the group fusing the Gnawa with Reggae. However certain artists have taken to using full R&B and reggae beats and styling such as Darine. This has been met with mixed critical and commercial reaction. As of now it is not a widespread genre. Arabic electronica
Electronic dance music is another genre to come out into popularity, influenced by the styles of North America, Europe, Australia, and other Western countries. Often, songs in this genre would combine electronic musical instruments with traditional Middle Eastern instruments. There are also, likewise, a number of nightclubs in the Arab world that play this kind of music. Arabic jazz Another popular form of West meets East, Arabic Jazz is also popular, with many songs using jazz instruments. Early jazz influences began with the use of the saxophone by musicians like Samir Suroor, in the “oriental” style. The use of the saxophone in that manner can be found in Abdel Halim Hafez’s songs, as well as Kadim Al Sahir and Rida Al Abdallah today.
The first mainstream jazz elements were incorporated into Arabic music by the Rahbani brothers. Fairuz’s later work was almost exclusively made up of jazz songs, composed by her son Ziad Rahbani. Ziad Rahbani also pioneered today’s oriental jazz movement, to which singers including Rima Khcheich, Salma El Mosfi, and (on occasion) Latifa adhere. We can also find a lot of jazz music in Mohamed Mounir’s songs starting from his first album which it was in 1977, till now he still make some good jazz music. Arabic rock Rock music is popular all around the world, and the Arab world is no exception. There are many Arabic rock bands that fuse the sound of hard rock with traditional Arabic instruments.
Arabic Rock is gaining a lot of attention in the Middle East, with bands such as Massar Egbari , Sahara, Wyvern and Cartoon Killerz in Egypt, Meen and Mashrou’ Leila in Lebanon, and in Jordan with bands such as Jadal. The band Hoba Hoba Spirit from Morocco is also popular, especially in the Maghrebi region. Rachid Taha, an Algerian musician, plays a fusion of Rock and Rai. Musical regions The world of modern Arabic music has long been dominated by musical trends that have emerged from Cairo, Egypt. The city is generally considered a cultural center in the Arab world. Innovations in popular music via the influence of other regional styles have also abounded from Morocco to Saudi Arabia. In recent years, Beirut has become a major center, dictating trends in the development of Arabic pop music.
Other regional styles that have enjoyed popular music status throughout the Arab world, including: North Africa * Andalusian classical music * Chaabi (Algeria) * Chaabi (Morocco) * Al Jeel (Egypt) * Gnawa * Haqibah * Malhun * Mezwed * Rai * Sha’abi| | Arabian Peninsula * Adani * Ardha * Fann at Tanbura * Fijiri * Khaliji * Liwa * Mizmar * M’alayah * Samri * Samiri * Sawt| | Levant * Dabke| | Genres Secular art music Secular genres include maqam al-iraqi, andalusi nubah, muwashshah, Fjiri songs, qasidah, layali, mawwal, taqsim, bashraf, sama’i, tahmilah, dulab, sawt, and liwa (Touma 1996, pp. 55–108).
Sacred music Arabic religious music includes Jewish (Pizmonim and Baqashot), Christian, and Islamic music. However, Islamic music, including the Tajwid or recitation of Qur’an readings, is structurally equivalent to Arabic secular music, while Christian Arab music has been influenced by Syriac Orthodox, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Coptic, and Maronite church music. (ibid, p. 152) Characteristics of Arabic music Much Arabic music, is characterized by an emphasis on melody and rhythm, as opposed to harmony. There are some genres of Arabic music that are polyphonic, but typically, Arabic music is homophonic.  Habib Hassan Touma (1996, p. ix-xx) submits that there are “five components” that characterize Arabic music: 1. The Arab tone system; that is, a musical tuning system that relies on specific interval structures and was invented by al-Farabi in the 10th century (p. 170) 2. Rhythmic-temporal structures that produce a rich variety of rhythmic patterns, known as awzan or “weight”, that are used to accompany metered vocal and instrumental genres, to accent or give them form. 3. A number of musical instruments that are found throughout the Arab world that represent a standardized tone system, are played with generally standardized performance techniques, and display similar details in construction and design. 4.
Specific social contexts that produce sub-categories of Arabic music, or musical genres that can be broadly classified as urban (music of the city inhabitants), rural (music of the country inhabitants), or Bedouin (music of the desert inhabitants)… ” 5. An Arab musical mentality, “responsible for the esthetic homogeneity of the tonal-spatial and rhythmic-temporal structures throughout the Arab world whether composed or improvised, instrumental or vocal, secular or sacred. ” Touma describes this musical mentality as being composed of: * The phenomenon of the maqam * The predominance of vocal music * The tendency toward small instrumental ensembles * The arrangement in different combinatory sequences of the small and smallest melodic elements – the maqams and ajnas – “and their repetition, combination, and permutation within the framework of the tonal-spatial model. * The general absence of polyphony, polyrhythm, and motivic development, though Arabic music is familiar with the use of ostinato, and an even more instinctive heterophonic way of producing and performing music. * The alternation between a free rhythmic-temporal and fixed tonal-spatial organization on the one hand, and a fixed rhythmic-temporal and free tonal-spatial structure on the other. Maqam system A Maqam tone level example Though it would be incorrect to call it a modal system, the Arabic system is more complex than that of the Greek modes. The basis of Arabic music is the maqam (pl. maqamat), which looks like the mode, but is not quite the same.
The tonic note, dominant note, and ending note (unless modulation occurs) are generally determined by the maqam used. Arabic maqam theory as ascribed in literature over the ages names between 90 and 110 maqams, that are grouped into larger categories known as fasilah. Fasilah are groupings of maqams whose first four primary pitches are shared in common.  Jins/Ajnas Main article: Jins The maqam consists of at least two jins, or scale segments. “Jins” in Arabic comes from the ancient Latin word “genus,” meaning type. In practice, a jins (pl. ajnas) is either a trichord, a tetrachord, or a pentachord. The trichord is three notes, the tetrachord four, and the pentachord five. The maqam usually covers only one octave (usually two jins), but can cover more.
Like the melodic minor scale, some maqamat use different ajnas, and thus note progressions, when descending and ascending. Due to continuous innovation and the emergence of new jins, and because most music scholars have not reached consensus on the subject, it is difficult to provide a solid figure for the total number of jins in use. Nonetheless, in practice most musicians would agree there are at least eight major ajnas: Rast, Bayat, Sikah, Hijaz, Saba, Kurd, Nahawand, and Ajam – and their commonly used variants such as the Nakriz, Athar Kurd, Sikah Beladi, Saba Zamzama. Mukhalif is a rare jins used almost exclusively in Iraq, and it is not used in combination with other ajnas. More notes used than in Western scales
The main difference between the Western chromatic scale and the Arabic scales is the existence of many in-between notes, which are sometimes referred to as quarter tones, for the sake of simplicity. In some treatments of theory, the quarter tone scale or all twenty four tones should exist. According to Yusuf Shawqi (1969), in practice, there are many fewer tones (Touma 1996, p. 170). Additionally, in 1932, at the Cairo Congress of Arab Music held in Cairo, Egypt – and attended by such Western luminaries as Bela Bartok and Henry George Farmer – experiments were done which determined conclusively that the notes in actual use differ substantially from an even-tempered 24-tone scale. Furthermore, the intonation of many of those notes differ slightly from region to region (Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq). Regional scales
As a result of these findings, the following recommendation was issued: “The tempered scale and the natural scale should be rejected. In Egypt, the Egyptian scale is to be kept with the values, which were measured with all possible precision. The Turkish, Syrian, and Iraqi scales should remain what they are… ” (translated in Maalouf 2002, p. 220).  Both in modern practice, and evident in recorded music over the course of the last century, several differently-tuned “E”s in between the E-flat and E-natural of the Western Chromatic scale are used, that vary according to the types of maqams and ajnas used, and the region in which they are used. Practical treatment
Musicians and teachers refer to these in-between notes as “quarter tones,” using “half-flat” or “half-sharp” as a designation for the in-between flats and sharps, for ease of nomenclature. Performance and teaching of the exact values of intonation in each jins or maqam is usually done by ear. It should also be added, in reference to Habib Hassan Touma’s comment above, that these “quarter-tones” are not used everywhere in the maqamat: in practice, Arabic music does not modulate to 12 different tonic areas like the Well-Tempered Klavier. The most commonly used “quarter tones” are on E (between E-flat and E-natural), A, B, D, F (between F-natural and F-sharp) and C. Vocal traditions
Arab classical music is known for its famed virtuoso singers, who sing long, elaborately ornamented, melismatic tunes, and are known for driving audiences into ecstasy. Its traditions come from pre-Islamic times, when female singing slaves entertained the wealthy, and inspired warriors on the battlefield with their rajaz poetry, also performing at weddings.  Instruments and ensembles Front and rear views of an oud. The prototypical Arabic music ensemble in Egypt and Syria is known as the takht, and includes, (or included at different time periods) instruments such as the ‘oud, qanun, rabab, ney, violin (introduced in the 1840s or 50s), riq and dumbek.
In Iraq, the traditional ensemble, known as the chalghi, includes only two melodic instruments – the jowza (similar to the rabab but with four strings) and santur- accompanied by the riq and dumbek. The Arab world has incorporated instruments from the West, including the electric guitar, cello, double bass and oboe, and incorporated influences from jazz and other foreign musical styles. The singers remained the stars, however, especially after the development of the recording and film industry in the 1920s in Cairo. These singing celebrities include Abd el-Halim Hafez, Farid Al Attrach, Asmahan, Sayed Darwish, Mohammed Abd el-Wahaab, Warda Al-Jazairia, and possibly the biggest star of modern Arab classical music, Umm Kulthum. External links * Largest Arabic Music catalog List of Arabic Music Videos – Scoopspy. com * Arabic Music radio * Between Two Notes – a documentary * on Arab Music at NFB. ca Sources * Shireen Maalouf (2002). History of Arabic Music Theory: Change and Continuity in the Tone Systems, Genres, and Scales. Kaslik, Lebanon: Universite Saint-Esprit. * Peter van der Merwe (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentiet. h-Century Popular Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN . * Habib Hassan Touma (1996). The Music of the Arabs, trans. Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 1-57467-081-6. * ____________________________________________________________ __________________
Arabic musical instruments http://www. coe. ufl. edu/webtech/Timemachine/music/Arabic/answer. htm First the families and its instruments. 1- Plucked strings The Oud: The king of Tarab, the Oud’s rich low tone makes it the ideal instrument for long Tarab evenings. It is a pear-shaped lute with a short fretless neck. It can be plucked with the fingers or with a feather (usually made of plastic nowadays). The Oud is essential to thesmall ensembles, as well as to the classical “takht”. It is also the instrument of choice to accompany male soloists, and many of the greatest singers are/were great Oud players ( Muhammad Abdel Wahab, Marcel Khalife, … ) The Qanoun:
The word “Qanun” translates to “law”. The instrument however consists of 50(? ) strings strung on a metallic table, in a way reminescent of the Santour in Iranian music. The strings however, are plucked instead of “hammered”, in a way that produces a very nasal sound. The musician straps metal plucks onto his/her left and right indexes, and sits the instrument on their lap or on a small table. The Qanoun provides the fast attack as well as some of the high harmonics in an orchestra where the melodies are played by the bowed strings or the Oud, thus providing a sharper edge to the music. The Saz (turkish instrument) or Buzuk: A “saz” is a lute with a long neck.
There are different sizes of it. Largest is the divan sazi. Smallest is cura sazi. The instrument has a pear shaped body. Sometimes saz is refered as ‘baglama’. This name is more descriptive. It literally means ‘to tie’; referring to the instrument’s tied frets. Number of frets differs with size : six to twenty-six frets. Strings generally are arranged in three sets of double course. The istrument is tuned in many different ways depending on region or mood/occasion. There are many situations for saz playing. Usually, a poet-musician will sing while playing it. There are also duo performances where each musician will take turn playing and singing. This is improvisonal.
It is also an instrument that is commonly used to back up folk singers. You might actually see about a dozen players playing at the same time. 2- Winds The Nay: Bamboo flute, made of an open piece of bamboo, with seven holes (one for the thumb, and 6 for other fingers). Can also come with a mouthpiece made of goat horn. Professional Nays come in sets; for example, a professional nay player will have a case full of different instruments which are tuned to play different maqams. Different Nays also cover different registers. The Mejwiz: Made of two “twin” pipes, with a stopper going through them. The Mejwiz is a folk instrument that is often used in weddings and other social gatherings.
The whole end is inserted into the mouth, and the musician uses circular breathing, in order to achieve a continuous sound. The instrument sounds very nasal, and is quite loud. Kernayta: This is just the western “clarinette”, used in a different setting. 3- Percussion Tabla: Also called Dumbek certain places. It is a drum shaped like an hour glass. Traditionally made of clay, more recently it has been made of metal. The head is made of fish, goat or other animal skins, has also largely been replaced by a plastic substitute. The derbakkeh provides the basic rhythm in an arabic orchestra, and it is a very versatile instrument. Daff, or oriental tambourine:- Called Riq or Duff certain places.
It is impressive to see a good riq player, and to see the range of sounds and rhythm patterns that they can play. The riq is a small (approx 20cm diameter) circular percussion instrument, with an animal skin head, and many small cymbals on the sides. The Bendir: The Bendir is a circular instrument, with a diameter of about 75cm, used in the Maghreb countries. This is what Bahi wrote about it: it is a sort of “rural” instrument. You will not find it in an “urban” music group The typical combination is Gasba (flute) + Bendir + singing. The bendir has a hole in the wooden edge, so that the player may introduce his thumb. Part of the show is to make the bendir turn very rapidly on itself, using the thumb as an axis, between 2 beats.
The bendir is also very often used in Moroccan music of the Gnaoua tradition -among others-. There is a wonderful group named Nass el Ghiwan who masters this instrument and could be a very attractive introduction to it. 4- Bowed strings Kamanja, or violin: The violin was introduced into arabic music by Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt. Since then however, it has become an integral part of the classical arabic orchestra, if not of the traditional one. It adapts quite well to the style in that it allows the musician much freedom; being fretless, quarter tones are not a problem. Also different echniques allow the violin (or kamanja) player to adapt quite well whatever style is necessary.
The cello and the double bass are also quite common in Arabic music; the Bass is usually plucked however, and the cello’s presence is less frequent. Rababeh: ————————————————- A one-stringed Lebanese folk instrument, the Rababeh’s nasal sound blends well with the nasal voice of the musician/singer who is performing on it. The technique is mainly to hold a kind of “organ point” on the Rababeh while the performer sings along. http://trumpet. sdsu. edu/M151/Arab_Music1. html Article on History of Arabic music by Ali Jihad Racy, Ph. D. Arab music covers a vast geographical area ranging from the Atlas Mountains and parts of the Sahara in Africa to the Arabian Gulf region and the banks of the Euphrates.
Whether from Morocco, Egypt, or Iraq, Arabs are able to identify today with a multi-faceted musical heritage that originated in antiquity, but that gained sophistication and momentum during the height of the Islamic Empire between the eighth and the thirteenth centuries. Since the spread of Islam from the Arabian Peninsula towards the middle of the seventh century until the present century, Arab music has been shaped by five principal processes, some purely intellectual and cultural, others political. Contact with Assimilated Cultures The first process took place during the early centuries of Islam, with the growth of cosmopolitan cultural centers in Syria under the Umayyads (661-750) and in Iraq under the Abbasids (750-909).
The ethnic blending that occurred during these centuries brought the music of Arabia into close contact with the musical traditions of Syria, Mesopotamia, Byzantium, and Persia. This contact resulted in the cultivation of new Arab music. While retaining strong local elements, such as the singing of poetical lyrics in Arabic – the language of the Qur’an and the lingua franca of the Islamic Empire – this music featured new performance techniques, new aspects of intonation, and new musical instruments. Proponents of the new trend included Persians and others from non-Arabian backgrounds. Court affluence and acquaintance with the worldly splendor of conquered empires stimulated humanistic interests and artistic and intellectual tolerance on the part of the Arab rulers.
In a short time court patronage of poets and musicians became common practice, in contrast to the antipathy of some early Muslims towards music and musicians. The Abbasid caliphs al-Mahdi (reigned 775-85) and al-Amin (reigned 809-13) are particularly known for their fondness for music. In contrast to the quynat, or female slave singers, who were prevalent during the early decades, the emerging court artists were often well-educated and from distinguished backgrounds. Among such artists were the singers and scholars Prince Ibrahim al-Mahdi (779-839) and Ishaq al-Mawsili (767-850), and the ‘ud (lute) virtuoso, Zalzal (died 791), who was Ishaq’s uncle. Contact with the Classical Past
The second process was marked by the introduction of scholars of the Islamic world to ancient Greek treatises, many of which had probably been influenced previously by the legacies of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. This contact was initiated during the ninth century under the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma’mun (reigned 813-33. ) This ruler established Bayt al-Hikmah, literally “the House of Wisdom,” a scholarly institution responsible for translating into Arabic a vast number of Greek classics, including musical treatises by major Pythagorean scholars and works by Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. The outcome of this exposure to the classical past was profound and enduring. The Arabic language was enriched and expanded by a wealth of treatises and commentaries on music written by prominent philosophers, scientists, and physicians.
Music, or al-shymusiqa, a term that came from the Greek, emerged as a speculative discipline and as one of al-shyulum al-shyriyadiyyah, or “the mathematical sciences,” which paralleled the Quatrivium (arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy) in the Latin West. In addition, Greek treatises provided an extensive musical nomenclature, most of which was translated into Arabic and retained in theoretical usages until the present day. Theoretical treatises written in Arabic between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries established an enduring trend in Near Eastern musical scholarship and inspired subsequent generations of scholars. An early contributor was Ibn al–Munajjim (died 912) who left us a description of an established system of eight melodic modes. Each mode had its own diatonic scale, namely an octave span of Pythagorean half and whole steps.
Used during the eighth and ninth centuries, these modes were frequently alluded to in conjunction with the song texts included in the monumental Kitab al-Aghani, or Book of Songs, by Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani (died 967). In this system, each mode was indicated by the names of the fingers and the frets employed when playing the ‘ud. | Lute (from the Arab word “al-‘ud”) players are among the most common themes of early Abbasid art, as in this Iraqi lusterware bowl of the tenth century. Another major contribution was made by the philosopher al-Kindi (died about 873), who in his treatises discussed the phenomenon of sound, intervals, and compositions.
Al-Kindi presented an elaboration on the diatonic ‘ud-fretting known at his time and proposed adding a fifth string to the four-stringed ‘ud in order to expand the theoretical pitch range into two octaves. Al-Kindi is also known for the cosmological links he made between the four strings of the ‘ud and the seasons, the elements, the humors, and various celestial entities. Comparable emphasis on cosmology and numerology was presented by the Ikhwan as-Safa’, “Brethren of sincerity,” in their tenth century epistle on music. One of the most prolific contributors was Abu Nasr al-Farabi (died 950), whose Kitab al-Musiqa al-Kabir, The Grand Treatise on Music, is an encompassing work. It discusses such major topics as the science of sound, intervals, tetrachords, octave species, musical instruments, compositions, and the influence of music.
Al-Farabi provided a lute fretting that combined the basic diatonic arrangement of Pythagorean intervals with additional frets suited for playing two newly introduced neutral, or microtonal, intervals. Al-Farabi also described two types of tunbur, or long-necked fretted lute, each with a different system of frets: an old Arabian type whose frets produced quarter-tone intervals, and another type attributed to Khorasan with intervals based on the limma and comma subdivisions of the Pythagorean whole-tone. Discussions on the phenomenon of sound, the dissonants and the consonants, lute fretting, and references to melodic modes by specific names are also found in the writings of the famous philosopher and physician Ibn Sina, or Avicenna, (died 1037. Another influential theorist who contributed to the knowledge and systematization of the melodic modes was Safi ad-Din al-Urmawi (died 1291) In two authoritative treatises, Safi ad-Din discussed various aspects of musical knowledge including rhythm and meter. He also expounded on the subject of melodic modes, describing the intervals of each mode in accordance with a detailed theoretical scale similar to the one found in the Khorasani tanbur described by al-Farabi. Accordingly, each Pythagorean whole step in the seven-tone scale was divided into two limmas (90-cent intervals) and a small remainder or comma (a 24-cent interval). Thus, it was possible to accommodate the neutral intervals found in certain modes. Safi ad-Din’s contribution to modal theory had a profound influence upon later scholars and particularly upon the musical systems of contemporary Iran and Turkey.
Although there is no evidence that musical notation was employed in actual performance, al-Kindi and Safi an-Din left us fragments of songs recorded in a system of notation based on alphabetical symbols. Contact with the Medieval West The third major process affecting Arab music was the contact between the Islamic Near East and Europe at the time of the Crusades in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries and during the Islamic occupation of Spain (713-1492. ) This contact had a widespread impact on both Islamic and European traditions. The westward movement of scientific scholarship into the Muslim universities of Spain is known to have influenced the Christian
West and to have promoted the translation of Arabic works, including commentaries on Greek sources, into Latin. Although it is difficult to assess precisely the nature and extent of the Near Eastern musical impact upon medieval Europe, such scholars as Julian Ribera, Alois R. Nykl, and Henry George Farmer have argued that substantial influence existed in areas ranging from rhythm and song forms to music theory, nomenclature, and musical instruments. | Ivory plaque of the Fatimid period in Egypt. | The ‘ud, known as the “amir al-tarab” or “the prince of enchantment” was a favorite instrument among composers and amateur performers. Here, from The Story of Bayad and Riyad, the courtier Bayad sings to Riyad and her handmaidens.
Influence in the case of instruments is indicated by name derivations: for example, the lute from al-‘ud; the nakers, or kettledrums, from naqqarat; the rebec from rabab; and the anafil, or natural trumpet, from al-nafir. Added evidence comes from manuscript illustrations of instruments that have obvious Near Eastern origins. One such document is the thirteenth-century collection of songs entitled Cantigas de Santa Maria, prepared for the Spanish King Alfonso X, who was known as el Sabio (the wise). This work was decorated with miniature illustrations in color, showing musicians, including Moors, performing on a wide variety of instruments such as the lute, the psaltery, and the double-reed shawm. The contributions of Moorish Spain to Arab music were profound and far-reaching.
The Easterners’ adaptation to a new physical environment and the introduction of Eastern science and literature into settings of wealth and splendor, as represented in the courts of Seville, Granada, and Cordoba, were inspirational to the new artistic life of al-Andalus. Zaryab (died about 850) was a freed slave who moved from Baghdad to Cordoba, where he became a highly respected singer, ‘ud player, and music teacher. Zaryab is credited with compiling a repertoire of twenty-four nawbat, (singular nawbah or nubah), each of which was a composite of vocal and instrumental pieces in a certain melodic mode. The nawbat were reportedly associated with the different hours of the day. The nawbah tradition was largely transported to North Africa by the Muslims who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in the late fifteenth century.
Moorish Spain also witnessed the development of a literary-musical form that utilized romantic subject matter and featured strophic texts with refrains, in contrast to the classical Arabic qasidah, which followed a continuous flow of lines or of couplets using a single poetical meter and a single rhyme ending. The muwashshah form, which was utilized by major poets, also emerged as a musical form and survived as such in North African cities and in the Levant, an area covering what is known historically as greater Syria and Palestine. In this area, the muwashshah genre became popular in Aleppo, Syria. | Tenth Century Abbasid Coin | Falling water activates the drummers on the water clock described and illustrated in The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by al-Jazari.
The fourth major process influencing Arab music was the hegemony of the Ottoman Turks over Syria, Palestine, Iraq, the coasts of Arabia, and much of North Africa (1517-1917. ) During this four-centuries span, the center of power in the Sunni Muslim world shifted to the Ottoman court in Turkey, while Iran was gradually emerging as a separate political, cultural, and religious entity, eventually instituting Shiism as the state religion, Musically, the Ottoman period was characterized by gradual assimilation and exchange. Arab music interacted with Turkish music, which had already absorbed musical elements from Central Asia, Anotolia, Persia, and medieval Islamic Syria and Iraq. This interaction was most obvious in larger cities, particularly Aleppo, Damascus, and Cairo.
In the rural communities – for example, among the Syrian Bedouins and North African Berbers – musical traditions apparently maintained a fair degree of continuity and stability. During this period in Arab history, certain aspects of musical life may have resulted from broader cultural and political contacts. In the Ottoman world, musicians, like members of other professions, belonged to specialized professional guilds (tawa’if). In Egypt, such musicians included the alatiyyah, literally, “male instrumentalists”, and the ‘awalim, literally “learned females. ” According to M. Villoteau, whose extensive description of Egyptian music is part of the accounts prepared by the Napoleonic mission to Egypt, the former groups entertained male audiences, while the latter specialized in performing for female audiences.
Instruments associated with professional musicians of the cities, included the ‘ud, the qanun (zither) and the nay (flute) and were commonly used in Turkey and in the Arab world. The sama’i (or Turkish saz semai) and the bashraf (or pesrev), both instrumental genres used in Turkish court and religious Sufi music, were introduced into the Arab world before the late nineteenth century. Instrumental and possibly vocal and dance forms were transmitted partly through the Mevlevis, a mystical order established in Konya, Turkey, in the thirteenth century. Known for cultivating music and including famous composers and theorists, this order spread into parts of Syria, Iraq, and North Africa.
Military bands, similar to the type connected with the Janissary army, existed in various political centers of the Ottoman world. (An example found in Cairo was described by Villoteau. ) With respect to theory and nomenclature, Arab and Turkish musical systems overlapped considerably. Melodic and metric modes in Turkey and in the Arab world, particularly Syria, have exhibited and still exhibit strong similarities. Contact with the Modern West The fifth and most recent process is the contact between Arab music and the modern West following the Napoleonic conquest of Egypt (1798-1801) and the subsequent cultural and political interaction during the nineteenth centuries.
One of the earliest manifestations of Westernization in the Arab world was Muhammad ‘Ali’s importation of the European military-band concept into Egypt in the early nineteenth century and the establishment of military schools in which Western instruments and musical notation were employed. Later in the century, on the occasion of the opening of the Suez Canal, Khedive Isma’il (reigned 1863-1876) built the Cairo Opera House, which became an historical landmark and a symbol of Westernization in the Near Eastern Muslim world. The Opera House was inaugurated with the performance of Rigoletto by Verdi, in November 1869, followed by Aida in December, 1871.
Isma’il, who sought to Europeanize Egypt, patronized and promoted the fame and social status of Egyptian artists, such as the female singer Almaz (1860-1896) and the male singer ‘Abduh al-Hamuli (1843-1901). Westernization was further promoted by nineteenth-century American and European Protestant missionaries in the Levant. The Protestant hymnal introduced was based on contra facta, or the setting of newly written religious poems to various well-known tunes, mostly European. These tunes appeared in standard Western musical notation. The twentieth century is marked by an increase in the role of Western theory, notation, instruments, and overall musical attitudes.
In his Kitab al-Musiqa al-Sharqi, written around 1904, the Egyptian theorist and composer Kamil al-Khula’i mentioned that the piano, the accordion, and the mouth organ were becoming common household instruments in Egypt. The twentieth century also marked the continuation and growth of a medium that had begun in the nineteenth century and flourished in Egypt: the musical theater. Dramas mainly by European authors were Arabized and presented as combinations of acting, singing, and sometimes dancing. Among the theatrical artists were the Syrian-born Abu Khalil al-Qabbani (1841-1902), who also performed at the Columbian World Fair in Chicago in 1893, and the Egyptian Shaykh Salamah Hijazi (1852-1917), a Sufi-trained singer and stage actor whose theatrical songs were heard on early recordings throughout the entire Arab world.
Between World War I and the late 1920s, Cairo witnessed the rise of a new theatrical form, a type of musical play that typically combined comedy and vaudeville and was comparable to the European operetta. Among the prime contributors to this form was the celebrated composer Shaykh Sayyid Darwish (died 1923), who is now considered the father of modern Egyptian music. By the early 1930s, the impact of Westernization on Egyptian music was considerable, as testified to in the reports issued by the Congress of Arab Music held in Cairo in 1932. With the emergence of independent Arab states following European domination, many Arab governments accepted Western music as a fine art and as a component in formal music education.
In many Arab capitals today, traditional Arab music and Western music are taught in government institutions organized in the Western conservatory tradition. Unifying Traits of Arab Music Today, traits contributing to unity in Arab music are numerous. These traits may not be universally applicable, however, and their orientation and detailed features may differ from one community to another. Furthermore, because of common historical backgrounds and geographical and cultural proximity, many non-Arabs – particularly Turks and Persians – share many of these traits, a fact that enables scholars to study the Near East as one broad musical area. One aspect of unity in Arab music is the intimate connection between the music and the Arabic language.
This is demonstrated by the emphasis placed upon the vocal idiom and by the often central role played by the poet-singer. Examples are the sha’ir, literally “poet,” in Upper Egypt and among the Syrian-Desert Bedouins, and the qawwal, literally “one who says,” in the Lebanese tradition of zajal, or sung folk-poetry. This link is also exemplified in the common practice of setting to music various literary forms, including the qasidah and the muwashshah. Maqam Another salient trait is the principal position of Arab melody in Arab music and the absence of complex polyphony, a phenomenon distinguishing music of this part of the world, and a good portion of Asia, from the music of Europe and certain areas in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Instead, Arab music exhibits refinement and complexity in the melody marked by subtle and intricate ornaments and nuances. Melody in Arab music also incorporates microtonality, namely intervals that do not conform to the half-step and whole-step divisions of traditional Western art music. The concept of melody is commonly connected with modality, a conceptual organizational framework widely known under the name maqam; plural, maqamat). Each of the maqamat is based on a theoretical scale, specific notes of emphasis, and a typical pattern of melodic movement, in many instances beginning around the tonic note of the scale, gradually ascending, and finally descending to the tonic.
Although it is the basis for various musical compositions, the maqam scheme may be best illustrated through such nonmetric improvisatory genres as the instrumental solo known in Egypt and the Levant as taqasim, vocal forms such as the layali and the mawwal, and religious genres such as Qur’anic chanting and the Sufi Qasidah. In Egypt and the Levant, theorists divide the octave scale into small microtones comparable to those discussed earlier by al-Farabi and Safi ad-Din. Several types of micro-intervals have been advocated, including the comma division (roughly one-ninth of a whole step), which is found in some Syrian theories. Yet, it is generally conceived that the maqamat are based on a referential octave scale consisting of twenty-four equal quarter-tones. Despite the essentially aural nature of Arab music, Western notation has become fully established, and extra symbols are widely used.
In addition to the regular flat and sharp signs, the symbol lowers a note by approximately a quarter tone while the symbol raises a note by roughly a quarter tone. Following is a list of the scales of maqamat most often used in Egypt and the Levant: Iqa’ The modal conception and organization of melody is paralleled by a modal treatment of Arab rhythm. In Arab music, metric modes are employed in various metric compositions and are widely known by the name iqa’at (singular iqa’). Influencing the nature of phrasing and the patterns of accentuation of a musical composition, these modes are rendered on percussion instruments within the ensemble, including the tablah (a vase-shaped hand-drum) and the riqq (a small tambourine).
Each iqa’ has a specific name and a pattern of beats ranging in number from two to twenty-four or more. As presented in contemporary music theory, an iqa’ consists primarily of rests and beats distinguished by timbre. In the Egyptian tradition, the dumm (represented by a note with a downward stem) indicates a deep sound produced by hitting closer to the central position of the drum or tambourine head. The takk (represented by a note with an upward stem) is a high pitched crisp sound produced by beating or tapping near the rim of the instrument. Although the theoretical representation of a metric mode is essentially simple, the interpretation can be highly complex and varied.
While maintaining the essential features of organization and emphasis within the pattern, percussion players usually improvise further rhythmic subdivisions and create numerous variants using a vast vocabulary of timbral effects. Following is a list of the beat patterns of iqa’at most commonly heard in the contemporary music of Egypt and the Levant: In Arab music, and in Near Eastern music in general, compound forms predominate. Such forms are based on the assembling together of instrumental and vocal pieces that share the same melodic mode. Within a compound form, the individual pieces may vary in style, improvised or precomposed, featuring a solo singer or chorus, metric or nonmetric. A compound form is sually known by its local generic name and by the name of the melodic mode it belongs to. Examples include an established Iraqi repertoire typical of the cities and known generically by the name maqam. Other examples are the Syrian fasil and the North African Nawbah. | An eleventh-century ivory casket from Cordoba. In Egypt, the late nineteenth early twentieth-century waslah, customarily incorporated a precomposed ensemble prelude, either a dulab or the more elaborate sama’i; a number of solo instrumental improvisations; a muwashshah sung by a small chorus; and vocal improvisations, namely the layali, which is a vocalization using the syllables ya layl, and the mawwal, which uses a poetical text in colloquial Arabic.
The Egyptian waslah culminated in the dawr, which although basically precomposed allowed considerable freedom of interpretation by the mutrib, or main male vocalist, especially in passages based on call and response between him and the accompanying chorus. Another feature of musical unity in the contemporary Arab world lies in the area of musical instruments. Instruments such as the qanun, ‘ud, nay and the Western violin are found in most urban Arab orchestras. Furthermore, certain types of instruments are frequently associated with specific social functions. Bowed instruments often accompany the solo voice. In this case, the singer and the accompanist are typically the same person.
The Bedouin sha’ir uses the rababah to accompany the love song genre known as the ‘ataba and the heroic poems known as shruqi or qasid. Similarly, the Egyptian sha’ir uses the rababah to accompany his recitation of the medieval Arab epic known after its hero, Abu Zayd al-Hilali. In folk life, wind instruments are generally played outdoors; for example, the mizmar of Egypt and the tabl baladi (a large double-sided drum) are used at weddings and similarly festive events, mostly for the accompaniment of dance. At Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian weddings, the mijwiz is an adjunct to the dabkah or line dance. Aspects of unity are also found in the traditional musical content of Arab social and religious life.
Since Islam is the prevalent religion of the Arab world, Qur’anic chanting is the quintessential religious expression, transcending ethnic and national boundaries. This form is nonmetric, solo-performed, and based upon the established rules of tajwid, the Islamic principles of recitation. Of comparable prevalence is the adhan, or Islamic call to prayer, which is heard from the minaret at the times of prayer throughout the Arab and Muslim world. Sufi performances of music and dance have been held in private and in public for centuries throughout North Africa and the Levant. Exhibiting considerable unity in song genres and in style of performance, Sufi music has been influenced by, and in turn influenced, the various secular vocal traditions.
Finally, a more recent contributor to musical unity has been the modern electronic media. The rise of wide-scale commercial recording around 1904, the appearance of the musical film in Egypt in 1932, and the establishment of public radio stations in later years promoted the creation of a large pan-Arab audience. Today the word ughniyyah generally refers to a prevalent song category featuring a solo singer and an elaborate orchestra equipped with both Western and traditional Arab instruments. Presented by such celebrities as Egypt’s Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab and the late female singer Um Kulthum, these songs are now enjoyed by a huge audience extending from Morocco to Iraq.
Despite such unity, the Arab world is also a land of musical contrasts. In a sense, Arab music is the summation of musical traditions, each of which has its own cultural and aesthetic substance and integrity. From a broader perspective, diversity exists among larger geographical areas. For example, the music of North Africa, primarily Morocco and Algeria, differs from the music of Egypt and the Levant in matters of intonation, modality, preference for certain musical instruments, and degree of exposure and retention of Andalusian musical influence. Similarly, the music of Egypt differs in matters of rhythm and intonation from the overall musical traditions of the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq. ———————————————— From a closer perspective, individuality can be seen in various smaller areas and repertoires. The Ginnawa ethnic group of Morocco has a musical style that is closely associated with West Africa; similarities include the use of syncopated rhythm and emphasis on percussion. In Nubia and Sudan, the music employs pentatonicism, the use of five-tone scales. In Kuwait and Bahrain, pearl fishermen’s songs utilize a high pitched male voice accompanied by distinct low-pitched drones, complex polyrhythmic clapping, and percussion instruments including a clay pot comparable in construction and playing technique to the ghatam of South India.
In the Baghdadi chalghi ensemble accompanying maqam singing, the instruments usually include the santur, a type of hammer dulcimer, and the jawzah, a spike-fiddle, both having close counterparts in the musical traditions of Persia and Central Asia. Similarly, individual musical features can be found in the liturgies of various non-Muslim religious groups of the Arab world, including the Maronites of the Levant and the Copts of Egypt. Note: Information courtesy of Wikipedia Encyclopedia in a summary form:: http://www. traditionalarabicmusic. com/music_of_egypt. htm Music of Egypt Musicians of Amun, Tomb of Nakht, 18th Dynasty, Western Thebes. Egyptian music has been an integral part of Egyptian culture since ancient times. The ancient Egyptians credited the god Thoth with the invention of music, which Osiris in turn used as part of his effort to civilize the world.
The earliest material and representational evidence of Egyptian musical instruments dates to the Predyanstic period, but the evidence is more securely attested in the Old Kingdom when harps, flutes and double clarinets were played. Percussion instruments, lyres and lutes were added to orchestras by the Middle Kingdom. Cymbals frequently accompanied music and dance, much as they still do in Egypt today. Egyptian folk music, including the traditional Sufi zikr rituals, are the closest contemporary music genre to ancient Egyptian music, having preserved many of its features, rhythms and instruments. In general, modern Egyptian music blends these indigenous traditions with Turkish, Arabic, and Western elements. Arabic music is usually said to have begun in the 7th century in Syria during the Umayyad dynasty.
Early Arabic music was influenced by Byzantine, Indian and Persian forms, which were themselves heavily influenced by earlier Greek, Semitic, and ancient Egyptian music. The tonal structure of Arabic music is defined by the Maqamat, loosely similar to Western modes, while the rhythm of Arabic music is governed by the awzan (wazn, sing. ), formed by combinations of accented and unaccented beats and rests. Front and rear views of the Oud. Since the 1970s, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, particularly among the large youth population of Egypt. Egyptian folk music continues to be played during weddings and other traditional festivities. In the last quarter of the 20th century, Egyptian music was a way to communicate social and class issues.
Among some of the most popular Egyptian pop singers today are Mohamed Mounir and Amr Diab. Religious music remains an essential part of traditional Muslim and Coptic celebrations called mulids. Mulids are held in Egypt to celebrate the saint of a particular mosque or church. Muslim mulids are related to the Sufi Zikr ritual. The Egyptian flute, called the Ney, is commonly played at mulids. The liturgical music of the Coptic Church also constitutes an important element of Egyptian music and is said to have preserved many features of ancient Egyptian music. Modern popular and folk traditions Lute and double pipe players from a painting found in the Theban tomb of Nebamun, a nobleman of the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom, c. 350 BC Contemporary Egyptian music traces its beginnings to the creative work of luminaries such as Abdu-Al Hamuli, Almaz and Mahmud Osman, who were all patronized by Khedive Ismail, and who influenced the later work of Seyyid Darwich, Um Kulthoum, Mohammed Abdilwahhab, Abdel Halim Hafez, Zakariyya Ahmad and other Egyptian music giants. Egyptian music began its recorded history in the 1910s, around the time composers such as Seyyid Darwich were incorporating western musical forms into their work. Some of the Middle East’s biggest musical stars have been Egyptian. Um Kalthoum was especially popular, and is considered the most successful Egyptian recording artist in history. Most of these stars, including Um Kulthoum, were part of the classical Egyptian and Arabic music tradition. Some, like Abdilhaleem Hafez, were associated with the Egyptian nationalist movement in 1952. Folk and roots revival
The 20th century has seen Cairo become associated with a roots revival. Musicians from across Egypt are keeping folk traditions alive, such as those of rural Egyptians (fellahin), the Nubians, and the Arab and Berber Bedouins. Mixtures of folk and pop have also risen from the Cairo hit factory. Sawahli (coastal) music is a type of popular music from the northern coast, and is based around the simsimaya, an indigenous stringed instrument. Well-known singers include Abdo’l Iskandrani and Aid el-Gannirni. Coptic Coptic music is the liturgical music of the Coptic Church. It consists mainly of chanted hymns in rhythm with instruments such as cymbals (hand and large size) and the triangle.
It has preserved some features of ancient Egyptian music, and few of its melodies are identified and labeled as Syrian (called Shamy in the Coptic Church) or Byzantine (called Roumy or Roman in the Coptic Church). Bedouin Bedouin music is found in the deserts of the west, near Libya, and the eastern Sinai area. The Mizmar, a twin-pipe clarinet, is the most popular folk instrument, and popular singers include Awad e’Medic. Saidi (Upper Egyptian) Egyptian musicians from Upper Egypt play a form of folk music called Saidi (Upper Egyptian). Metqal Qenawi’s Les Musiciens du Nil are the most popular saidi group, and were chosen by the government to represent Egyptian folk music abroad.
Other performers include Shoukoukou, Ahmad Ismail, Omar Gharzawi, Sohar Magdy and Ahmed Mougahid. Nubian Nubians are native to the south of Egypt and northern Sudan, though many live in Cairo and other cities. Nubian folk music can still be heard, but migration and intercultural contact with Egyptian and other musical genres have produced new innovations. Ali Hassan Kuban’s jazz fusions had made him a regular on the world music scene, while Mohamed Mounir’s social criticism and sophisticated pop have made him a star among Nubians, Egyptians, and other people worldwide. Ahmed Mounib, Mohamed Mounir’s mentor, was by far the most notable Nubian singer to hit the Egyptian music scene, singing in both Egyptian Arabic and his native Nobiin.
Hamza El Din is another popular Nubian artist, well-known on the world music scene and has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet. Popular music Until the late 1970s, classical singers like Um Kulthoum were Egypt’s biggest pop stars. By the middle of the 1990s, though, Al Jeel and al shaabi music had taken over, especially among young audiences. Starting in the late 1960s, light song emerged as the first modern Egyptian pop tradition. Often nationalist in tone, light songs were humorous and sometimes risque. It was dominated by singers like Aida el-Shah and Leila Nazmi, who were popular in middle-class communities. The working class youth of Egypt reacted against light songs and shaabi music evolved out of Cairo’s poorest districts.
Shaabi began entering the mainstream of Egyptian society in 1971, with the breakthrough success of Ahmed Adaweyah. Sha’abi Adaweyah, by far the most popular Egyptian sha’abi singer in the history of Egyptian music, initially gained controversy for his lyrics, which were often humorous, salacious and highly critical of social rules and respectable society. By the 1980s, shaabi was being influenced by music from the United Kingdom and United States, as well as other Egyptian pop stars. Electric guitars, synthesizers, and later beat boxes, were integrated into the music, which is now highly-polished and meant for mainstream consumption. Today, the most popular shaabi stars are Hakeem and Shaaban Abdel Rahim. Al Jeel Al Jeel music genre arose in the 70s.
It was dance-pop modeled after foreign rock and roll and pop music with a background rhythm similar to reggae, and it included distinctively Egyptian characteristics. Hamid el Shaery, a Libyan living in Egypt, was the most influential of Al-Jeel’s early performers. Bands The start After the second millennium, a music revolution was started in Egypt as bands started to become more popular and more famous year after year. It began with bands like Eftekasat and Wust El Balad with the help of El Sawy Cutlurewheel, Cairo Jazz Club, multiple cultural centers like the French Culture Centre. As a result, people started to become more aware of the different genres that could be presented by the different bands as the bigger Egyptian taste was more of pop artists like Amr Diab, Mohamed Mounir and Tamer Hosny.
Other factors like the Metal Accord concert series which was quite a revolution in itself as metal-heads were labeled as satanists 10 years ago Release of albums The movement wasn’t there yet as occasional concerts weren’t enough for neither the bands nor the audience and the bands began to start thinking about making and releasing albums. Perhaps the first professional album was Mirror of Vibrations by ODIOUS. Although it wasn’t a huge success it opened the door for other bands like Eftekasat to release their debut album Mouled Sidi El-Latini which was a hugh success and was covered relatively heavily by the media which covered mainly pop artists. The track “Mouled Sidi El-Latini” became very popular even among the fans of pop music.
This started to raise questions and light up the dreams of several bands like Redeemers, Anoxia and of course Wust El Balad. Redeemers, a Symphonic Metal band, has already reached some notability as a result of their multiple concerts and recorded a promo CD which can be downloaded from their official website. Anoxia also became quite famous and received multiple underground awards that they are even preparing at the current time to release an album possibly next year. However, the major step was taken by Wust El Balad as they were the third band after Eftekasat to release a debut album. It came out in February 2008, 2 years after the release of Mouled Sidi El-Latini.
Concerts Concerts became more and more popular and easier to be organized with the opening and the fame of several places, most notably El Sawy Culture wheel. Metal Accord and S. O. S. are probably the most famous and the most attended in Egypt together with the nearly daily presentations of both new and old bands at El Sawy Culture wheel. These major 3 helped present many new artists and bands like Nagham Masry, Shara, Asphalt, Hate Suffocation, Idle Mind, The Riff Band, etc… to the public, youth and adults alike of different genders and backgrounds. The revolution even reached the point to present the Christian band Better Life in S. O. S. 7!
This very strong introduction became supported with the presentation of professional bands like The Scorpions in 2006 and the 2008 concert which was supposed to feature the first death metal band ever to perform in Egypt, Vader. The concert was supposed to feature Nerve cell and the Egyptian bands Worm and Dark Philosophy in order to support Vader. After the tickets were sold, the concert was cancelled due to security reasons and the pressure applied by the government as people starting protesting against bringing a satanic band into an Islamic country after the lyrics of Halleluiah!!! (God is Dead)” were posted on a Face book group with the Arabic translation. Western classical music
Western classical music was introduced to Egypt by Europeans, and, beginning in the 19th century, instruments such as the piano and violin were gradually adopted by Egyptians. Opera also became increasingly popular during this period, and Giuseppe Verdi’s Egyptian-themed Aida was premiered in Cairo on December 24, 1871. By the early 20th century, the first generation of Egyptian composers, including Yusef Greiss, Abu Bakr Khairat, and Hasan Rashid, began writing for Western instruments. The second generation of Egyptian composers included notable artists such as Gamal Abdelrahim. Representative composers of the third generation are Ahmed El-Saidi and Rageh Daoud.
In the early 21st century, even fourth generation composers such as Mohamed Abdilwahhab Abdilfattah (of the Cairo Conservatory) have gained international attention. Revival of Ancient Egyptian music In the early 20th century, interest in the music of the pharaonic period began to grow, inspired by the research of such foreign-born musicologists as Hans Hickmann. By the early 21st century, Egyptian musicians and musicologists led by the musicology professor Khairy El-Malt at Helwan University in Cairo had begun to reconstruct musical instruments of Ancient Egypt, a project that is ongoing. ____________________________________________________________ ________-