Arabic music isn’t like Western music (it isn’t like Turkish or Persian music either). The Arabic music we use for dance often has Western influences. The following are notes on classical Arabic music.
The tonal system divides an octave into twenty-four (non-equal) intervals. Each tone has its own name (which is not repeated in the next octave) and is defined by its position relative to other tones – rather than absolute pitch. In fact the pitch can deviate by as much as a fourth from the nominated pitch.
(The independence in pitch is possible because Arabic music does not use harmony – no chords to sound ‘off’.)
The tones are arranged in over seventy maqamat. These are made from seven tones from the octave in a combination of augmented, major, medium, and minor second intervals. (In comparison the Turkish system also uses natural fifths and fourths) It is the use of the medium second (about a three-quarter tone) which gives Arabic music its unique quality.
Each maqam has a nucleus of tones which are used to give form to the improvisation. Each maqam also has an associated emotion – pride with the maqam rast, or joy with the maqam sikah.
The maqamat themselves have no definition in time. The rhythms are defined by awazan. (Not all Arabic music uses a wazn – it can be wazn-free). The wazn may be divided into either equal or unequal segments. For instance a wazn of six beats could be 3 then 3 or 4 then 2. There are over a hundred different cycles – some made up of 176 units of time!
01. Takseem in C Minor (Nahawand – Oud) by George Michel
02. Takseem in C (Rast – Kanoon) by Mohammed Abdo Saleh
03. Takseem in B Flat (Iraq – Violin) by Ahmed Hefnawi
04. Takseem in G (Bayat – Nye) by Hussein Fadel
05. My Joy in C Minor (Afahi – Oud) by George Michel
06. Takseem in C (Rast – Violin) by Ahmad Hefnawi
07. Enchantment in C Minor (Seeori – Oud) by George Michel
08. Takseem in E Flat (Seykah – Kanoon) by Mohammed Abdo Saleh
09. Memories in D (Bayat – Violin) by Ahmad Hefnawi
10. Flirtation in 10/4 (Sabah – Nye) by Hussein Fadel
11. Taksim in C Major (Ajam – Oud) by George Michel
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?