Arabic music has a long history of interaction with many other regional musical styles and genres. It represents the music of all the peoples that make up the Arab world
today, all the 22 states
Pre-Islamic period (Arabian Peninsula)
Pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula
music was similar to that of Ancient Middle Eastern
music. Most historians agree that there existed distinct forms of music in the Arabian peninsula
in the pre-Islamic period between the 5th and 7th century AD. Arab poets
of that time—called shu`ara' al-Jahiliyah
: شعراء الجاهلية) or "Jahili poets", meaning "the poets of the period of ignorance"—used to recite poems with a high notes.
It was believed that Jinns
revealed poems to poets and music to musicians.
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 who would learn how to play some instruments used at that time such as the drum
, the lute
or the rebab
, and perform the songs while respecting the poetic metre
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
, and rukbani
Early Islamic period
(801–873 AD) was a notable early theorist of Arabic music. He joined several others like al-Farabi
in proposing the addition of a makeshift fifth string to the oud. He published several tracts on musical theory, including the cosmological connotations of music.
He identified twelve tones on the Arabic musical scale, based on the location of fingers on and the strings of the oud.
(897–967) wrote the Kitab al-Aghani
, an encyclopedic collection of poems and songs that runs to over 20 volumes in modern editions.
(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.
16th to 19th century
(1506–1566) spent 13 years as a slave in the Ottoman empire
. After escaping, he published De Turvarum ritu et caermoniis
in 1544. It is one of the first European books to describe music in Islamic society.
20th century–present (Egypt and the Levant)
In the early 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. Any English, French or European songs got replaced by national Egyptian music. Cairo
became a center for musical innovation.
Female singers were some of the first to take a secular approach. Egyptian
performer Umm Kulthum
and Lebanese singer Fairuz
were notable examples of this. Both have been popular through the decades that followed and both are considered legends of Arabic music. Across the Mediterranean, Moroccan singer Zohra Al Fassiya
was the first female performer to achieve wide popularity in the Maghreb region, performing traditional Arab Andalusian folk songs and later recording numerous albums of her own.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Arabic music began to take on a more Western tone – Egyptian artists Umm Kulthum
and Abdel Halim Hafez
along with composers Mohammed Abdel Wahab
and Baligh Hamdi pioneered the use of western instruments in Egyptian music. 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. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Lydia Canaan
, musical pioneer
widely regarded as the first rock star of the Middle East
fused English lyrics and Western sound with Middle-Eastern quarter tones
and became the first internationally successful Lebanese recording artist.
In the 1990s, several Arab artists have taken up such a style including Amr Diab
, Najwa Karam
, Nawal Al Zoghbi
, Nancy Ajram
, Haifa Wehbe
, Fadl Shaker
, Majida Al Roumi
, Wael Kfoury
, Asalah Nasri
, Myriam Fares
, Carole Samaha
, Samira Said
, Hisham Abbas
, Kadhem Al Saher
, Mostafa Amar
, Ehab Tawfik
, Mohamed Fouad
, Diana Haddad
, Mohamed Mounir
, Cheb Khaled
, George Wassouf
, Fares Karam
, Julia Boutros
, and Amal Hijazi
Influence of Arabic music
12th century Arabic painting of musicians in Palermo
The majority of musical instruments
used in European medieval and classical music
have roots in Arabic musical instruments that were adopted from the medieval Arab world
They include the lute
, which shares an ancestor with the oud
(an ancestor of the violin
) from rebab
, exabeba (a type of flute
) from al-shabbaba
, atabal (a type of bass drum
) from al-tabl
, atambal from al-tinbal
, and sonajas de azófar
from sunuj al-sufr
Some scholars believe that the troubadors
may have had Arabian origins, with Magda Bogin
stating that the Arab poetic and musical tradition was one of several influences on European "courtly love poetry". Évariste Lévi-Provençal
and other scholars stated that three lines of a poem by William IX of Aquitaine
were in some form of Arabic, indicating a potential Andalusian origin for his works. The scholars attempted to translate the lines in question and produced various different translations. The medievalist Istvan Frank contended that the lines were not Arabic at all, but instead the result of the rewriting of the original by a later scribe.
The theory that the troubadour tradition was created by William after his experience of Moorish
arts while fighting with the Reconquista
in Spain has been championed by Ramón Menéndez Pidal
and Idries Shah
. George T. Beech states that there is only one documented battle that William fought in Spain, and it occurred towards the end of his life. Beech adds that William and his father did have Spanish individuals within their extended family, and that while there is no evidence he himself knew Arabic, he may have been friendly with some Europeans who could speak the language.
Others state that the notion that William created the concept of troubadours is itself incorrect, and that his "songs represent not the beginnings of a tradition but summits of achievement in that tradition."
Most scholars believe that Guido of Arezzo
musical notation system had its origins in a Latin hymn,
but others suggest that it may have had Arabic origins instead. It has been argued that the Solfège syllables (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti
) may have been derived from the syllables of an Arabic solmization
("Separated Pearls") (dal, ra, mim, fa, sad, lam
). This was first proposed by Meninski in his Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalum
(1680). However, there is no documentary evidence for this theory, and no Arabic musical manuscripts utilizing sequences from the Arabic alphabet are known to exist. Henry George Farmer
believes that there is no firm evidence on the origins of the notation, and therefore the Arabian origin theory and the hymnal origin theories are equally credible.
Franco-Arabic music is 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 by artists such as Dalida
(Egypt), Sammy Clark (Lebanon), and Aldo from Australia. Although Franco-Arabic music includes 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 or lyrics.
Arabic R&B, reggae, and hip hop
There has also been a rise of R&B
and hip hop
influenced Arab music in the past couple of years. These songs usually feature a rapper
in a traditional Arab pop
song (such as Ishtar
's song 'Habibi Sawah'). The Moroccan singer Elam Jay
developed a contemporary version of the Gnawa
genre that is fused 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 fuses Gnawa
artists such as TootArd from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights
and from Haifa
(Originally from Iqrith) started gaining popularity in Palestine
in 2011 after the YouTube
premiere of a song about the Arab Spring
(mainly the Tunisian
revolution), called "The Green Revolution", sung by them and an ensemble of Palestinian artists, most notable among them being Mahmoud Jrere of DAM
Notable is Shadia Mansour
, a Palestinian British rapper known as "The First Lady of Arab Hip Hop."
Much of her music focuses on the Palestinian cause.
Also there is the Moroccan pop
introduced by the Moroccan singer Oussama Belhcen
who's mixing between the American and the Moroccan music in his songs.
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.
Electronic dance music
is another genre to come out into popularity. Often, songs in this genre would combine electronic musical instruments with traditional Middle Eastern instruments. Artists like Richii
popularized this style with songs like "Ana Lubnaneyoun".
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
'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 Alemony Eneeki
in 1977, and he is considered to be the King of Arabic Jazz and Arabic Music generally.
Another notable performer of this genre is the Palestinian singer Reem Kelani
who blends jazz with Arabic music, both in her own compositions and in her arrangements of traditional songs.
Arabic Jazz has met many new kinds of composition since the end of the 20th century:
Arabic rock has been gaining a lot of attention lately in the Middle East
with bands like Cairokee
, El Morabba3
and Akher Zapheer
, The Wanton Bishops
, Mashrou' Leila
, Massar Egbari
, Sahara, Wyvern
and Cartoon Killerz of Egypt
, and Chaos of Palestine
. The Tunisian
rock band Myrath
is gaining popularity worldwide. The band Hoba Hoba Spirit
is also gaining popularity, especially in the Maghrebi
region. Rachid Taha
, an Algerian
musician, plays a fusion of rock
Recently, there has been a new wave of bands emerging in the underground scene across the Arab world. These include Shaghaf
, Khayal, Sada That, Code Masr and Hawas of Egypt
and Ayloul of Lebanon
The world of modern Arabic music has long been dominated by musical trends that have emerged from Cairo
. The city is generally considered one of the important cultural centers
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 an important city where singers can fluently sing in various Arabic Dialects
. Other regional styles that have enjoyed popular music
status throughout the Arab world, including:
A collection of 1980s Raï
Sacred and Art music
Arabic religious music
, 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
, Greek Orthodox
, and Maronite
Secular art musical
genres include maqam al-iraqi
, andalusi nubah
, Fijiri songs
, and liwa
Characteristics of Arabic music
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)..."
- 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 many things.
A Maqam tone level example
The basis of Arabic music is the maqam
(pl. maqamat), which looks like the mode, but is not quite the same.[clarification needed]
note, and ending note (unless modulation occurs) are generally determined by the maqam used. Arabic maqam theory as described 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.
The maqam consists of at least two ajnas
, or scale segments. Ajnas
is the plural form of jins
, which in Arabic comes from the Latin word genus
, meaning "type". In practice, a jins is either a trichord
(three notes), a tetrachord
(four notes), or a pentachord
(five notes). A maqam usually covers only one octave
(usually two ajnas), but can cover more. Like the melodic minor scale, some maqamat use different ajnas when descending and ascending. Due to continuous innovation and the emergence of new ajnas, and because most music scholars have not reached consensus on the subject, a solid figure for the total number of ajnas in use is uncertain. In practice, however, most musicians would agree there are at least eight major ajnas: rast
, and ajam
, and commonly used variants such as nakriz
, athar kurd
, sikah beladi
, saba zamzama
. For example, Mukhalif
is a rare jins (in the Sikah) family used almost exclusively in Iraq, and it is not used in combination with other ajnas.
Microtones in Arabic music
Unlike the tradition of Western music, Arabic music contains microtones
, which are notes that lie between notes in the Western chromatic scale
. While notes in the chromatic scale are separated by semitones
(or half steps), notes in Arabic music can be separated by quarter tones
. In some treatments of theory, the quarter tone scale or all twenty four tones should exist, but according to Yūsuf Shawqī
(1969), fewer tones are used in practice.
Additionally, in 1932, at the Cairo Congress of Arab Music
held in Cairo, Egypt—and attended by such Western luminaries as Béla Bartók
and Henry George Farmer
—experiments were done that 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).
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...."
Both in modern practice, and evident in recorded music over the course of the last century, several differently-tuned Es 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.
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 and E♭), A, B, D, F (between F and F♯), and C.
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, inspired warriors on the battlefield with their rajaz poetry, and performed at weddings
Instruments and ensembles
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
, rabab, ney
(introduced in the 1840s or 50s), riq
. 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
. The Arab world has incorporated instruments from the West, including the electric guitar
, double bass
, and incorporated influences from jazz and other foreign musical styles.
The singers have remained the stars, however, especially after the development of the recording and film industry in the 1920s in Cairo
. These singing celebrities are (or were) the biggest stars in Arabic classic music, they include Farid Al Attrache
, Abdel Halim Hafez
, Sayed Darwish
, Mohamed Abdel Wahab
, Warda Al-Jazairia
, Wadih El Safi
, and Umm Kulthum
Research and documentation of Arabic music
Even though musical traditions in the Arab world have been handed down orally, Arab scholars like Al-Kindi
and later Safi al-Din
published treatises on Arabic music since at least the 9th century AD. In 1932, the first Congress of Arab Music
was held in Cairo, where scholarship about the past, present and future of Arabic music was presented both from Western as well as Arab experts. The results were later documented, both in writing as well as in the form of audio recordings.
Research on Arabic music is a focus of departments of ethnomusicology
at universities worldwide, and the global interest in World Music
has led to a growing number of studies and re-issues of historic recordings by indepentent researchers or private companies.
Making use of digital archives for texts, pictures and sounds, detailed information on the history of Arabic music is also made accessible over the Internet. The Lebanese foundation AMMAR, for example, is committed to the preservation and dissemination of traditional Arab music and has published a host of historical documents.
- ^ a b c Singing in the Jahili period – khaledtrm.net (in Arabic)
- ^ Farmer, Henry George (1988), Historical facts for the Arabian Musical Influence, Ayer Publishing, ISBN 0-405-08496-X, OCLC 220811631. Pages 241 and 257.
- ^ al-Kindi, Abu Yusuf. Risālāh fi khũbr ta"alif al-alḥān. Translated by SDS Abdoun. pp. 100–115.
- ^ a b c Habib Hassan Touma (1996), The Music of the Arabs, p. 170, trans. Laurie Schwartz, Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, ISBN 0-931340-88-8
- ^ Toussaint, Godfried (August 2004), A Comparison of Rhythmic Similarity Measures(PDF), 5th International Conference on Music Information, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-07, retrieved 2009-07-06
- ^ Smith, Douglas Alton (2002). A History of the Lute from Antiquity to the Renaissance. ISBN 0-9714071-0-X.
- ^ "Asian Music 32, no. 1: Tribal Music of India". Archived from the original on 2008-12-20. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
- ^ Bohlman, Philip V. (1987), "The European Discovery of Music in the Islamic World and the "Non-Western" in 19th-Century Music History", The Journal of Musicology, 5 (2): 147–163, doi:10.2307/763849, JSTOR 763849
- ^ O'Connor, Tom. "Lydia Canaan One Step Closer to Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame", The Daily Star, Beirut, April 27, 2016.
- ^ Justin Salhani, The Daily Star, November 17, 2014
- ^ David Livingstone, Campus, No. 8, p. 2, February 1997
- ^ Wafik Ajouz, Cedar Wings, No. 28, p. 2, July–August 1995
- ^ Youmna Aschkar, Eco News, No. 77, p. 2, January 20, 1997
- ^ George Hayek, Al-Hayat, No. 12,513, June 3, 1997
- ^ Mireille Khalife, Al-Hayat, Issue No. 13,732, October 16, 2000
- ^ Lydia Canaan Receiving Lebanese International Success Award
- ^ a b Holgate, Steve (14 September 2006). "Guitarist Dick Dale Brought Arabic Folk Song to Surf Music". The Washington File. Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- ^ Sachs, Curt (1940), The History of Musical Instruments, Dover Publications, p. 260, ISBN 978-0-486-45265-4
- ^ a b Farmer 1988, pp. 136–137
- ^ Farmer 1988, p. 137
- ^ "rabab (musical instrument) - Encyclopædia Britannica". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (2009), lira, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, retrieved 2009-02-20
- ^ "ʿūd | musical instrument". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
- ^ Summerfield, Maurice J. (2003). The Classical Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1800 (5th ed.). Blaydon on Tyne: Ashley Mark. ISBN 1872639461.
- ^ Tom and Mary Anne Evans. Guitars: From the Renaissance to Rock. Paddington Press Ltd 1977 p.16
- ^ Farmer 1988, p. 140
- ^ Farmer 1988, pp. 140–41
- ^ Bogin, Magda; Bogin, Meg (1995). The Women Troubadours. WW Norton. ISBN 978-0393009651.
- ^ a b Beech, George T. (1992). "Troubadour Contacts with Muslim Spain and Knowledge of Arabic : New Evidence Concerning William IX of Aquitaine". Romania. 113 (449): 14–26. doi:10.3406/roma.1992.2180.
- ^ Peter Dronke, The Medieval Lyric, Perennial Library, 1968. p. 111.
- ^ McNaught, W. G. (1893). "The History and Uses of the Sol-fa Syllables". Proceedings of the Musical Association. Novello, Ewer and Co. 19: 35–51. doi:10.1093/jrma/19.1.35. ISSN 0958-8442.
- ^ Miller, Samuel D. (Autumn 1973), "Guido d'Arezzo: Medieval Musician and Educator", Journal of Research in Music Education, 21 (3): 239–45, doi:10.2307/3345093, JSTOR 3345093
- ^ Farmer 1988, pp. 81–82
- ^ Celli A. "Ya Catarì. La musica leggera franco-araba". In Alle radici dell'Europa. Mori giudei e zingari nei paesi del Mediterraneo occidentale, vol. III, XX-XXI Century, ed. Felice Gambin. Verona: SEID, 2010 (155–174).
- ^http://www.assabahia.com/%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%A3%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B3%D9%86-%D8%A5%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3/ عودة الفنان الشاب أسامة بالحسن إلى الساحة الغنائية
- ^ http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/aa5b1abe-a585-11db-a4e0-0000779e2340.html#axzz2xf64aPMK
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- ^ Touma 1996, p. 152.
- ^ Touma 1996, pp. 55–108.
- ^ "Arabian music" on the on-line edition of The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, at www.encyclopedia.com
- ^ Touma (1996), p.xix-xx.
- ^ http://www.musiq.com/makam/page0.htmlArchived 2006-11-08 at the Wayback MachineMusiq.com
- ^ Maalouf, Shireen (2002). History of Arabic Music Theory: Change and Continuity in the Tone Systems, Genres, and Scales, p.220. Kaslik, Lebanon: Université Saint-Esprit.
- ^ See the discography and literature on Cairo Congress of Arab Music.
- ^ Faber, Tom (2019-06-07). "The keen collectors battling to preserve Arab music". www.ft.com. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
- ^ "About « AMAR Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research". Retrieved 2020-04-18.
- Lodge, David and Bill Badley. "Partner of Poetry". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 323–331. Rough Guides Ltd., Penguin Books. ISBN
- Shiloah, Amnon. Music in the World of Islam. A Socio-Cultural Study 2001. ISBN
- Julián Ribera y Tarragó. La música árabe y su influencia en la española (1985). (in Spanish)
- Fernández Manzano, Reynaldo. De las melodías del reino nazarí de Granada a las estructuras musicales cristianas. La transformación de las tradiciones Hispano-árabes en la península Ibérica. 1984. ISBN 8450511895
- Fernández Manzano, Reynaldo y Santiago Simón, Emilio de (Coordinación y supervisión ed.). Música y Poesía del Sur de al-Andalus. 1995. ISBN 8477823359
- Fernández Manzano, Reynaldo.: La música de al-Andalus en la cultura medieval, imágenes en el tiempo, Granada, Universidad e Granada, 2012. ISBN 9788490280935
Last edited on 13 July 2021, at 18:47
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.