Arabic music

Arabic music

Table of contents

  1. History of Arabic Music
  2. Arabic maqam
  3. The most prominent artists of Arabic music
  4. The most famous musical instrument used in Arabic music

Arabic music has been known since ancient times, it has a long history since pre-Christian times and spread during the pre-Islamic era, it includes many tastes and genres in addition to various and distinctive musical instruments.

History of Arabic Music

Arabic music existed since the pre-Islamic era, the poets at that time had a fertile imagination and time that enabled them to devise words that express their feelings eloquently, so that understanding and studying the poems of pre-Islamic poetry until now represents a dilemma for many, as a single poem may require days and weeks to interpret and understand it in addition to resorting to the dictionaries of the classical Arabic language, which indicates the extent of eloquence, rhetoric, and strength of pre-Islamic poetry. At that time, men were reciting poems, while women were singing, playing, dancing, and so on.

In the past, music in the Arab region was known as oriental music, and each country had its own music and maqams, until it was unified and called Arabic music instead of oriental music through a meeting of musicians in the Middle East and North Africa regions held in 1932 AD in Egypt by the then Egyptian ruler.

Arabic maqam

Arabic music is distinguished by its maqams that express feelings by simply playing the melody on a musical instrument without expressing it through a verbal text, these maqams are:

  • Maqam Saba: It is one of the maqams that suggest sadness and longing, among the most prominent songs on this maqam are (“They envy me” by George Wassouf), (“Gana El Hawa” by Abdel Halim Hafez), and (“Howa Saheeh El Hawa Ghalab” by Umm Kulthum).
  • Maqam Bayati: it is one of the volatile maqamat, as it can be quiet, expressing grief, and can be fast, one of the most famous instruments on which this maqam is played is the “rababah”, among the most prominent songs on this maqam are (“El Qalb Yaashaq Kol Gameel” by Umm Kulthum ), (“Kol Dah Kan Leih” by Mohammed Abdel Wahab), and (“El Hayat Helwa” by Farid al-Atrash).
  • Maqam Rast: It is called “the father of maqamat” due to the derivation of some other maqamat from it. It is characterized by seriousness and solemnity, so it is used in chants and songs, especially songs in the Gulf countries. Among the most prominent songs on this maqam are (“I write your name, my country” by composer Elie Choueiri) and (“Ana Alby Leek Mayal” by Fayza Ahmed), it is also used in the recitation of the Holy Qur’an.

The most prominent artists of Arabic music

  • Umm Kulthum.
  • Abdel Halim Hafez.
  • Mohammed Abdel Wahab.
  • Sayed Darwish.
  • Asmahan.
  • Kadim Al Sahir.
  • Riad Al Sunbati.
  • Assi Rahbani.
  • Wadih El Safi.
  • Mohamed El Qasabgi.
  • Zakariyya Ahmad.
  • Abdo Al-Hamouli.

The most famous musical instrument used in Arabic music

There were many musical instruments throughout the history of Arabic music, such as percussion, string and wind instruments.

Percussion instruments

  • Tabla: it was used since 5500 BC, its design evolved into its current design, as its structure is made of wood or pottery, and the part on which it is beaten to produce sounds is made of plastic from one layer, and sometimes it is a layer of leather.
  • Tambourine: It is one of the most famous traditional instruments, which is commonly used in Islamic religious chants and songs. It is a tool that resembles a circular ring of wood, but the part that produces sounds when tapping on it with the fingers is made of a thin layer of leather, and on the sides of the wooden circle there may be metal parts that make a rattling sound when shaken.

Wind instruments

  • The oboe: It is one of the oldest musical instruments. It is made of wood in the form of a long, thin reed with holes for the musician to close or open so that the rhythms it emits vary when blown. Some instruments similar to it were originally developed, such as the clarinet and flute.
  • Ney: is considered one of the traditional instruments and it is made of wild reeds to be a single one of nine pieces, seven holes, six of which are in a straight line, one from the front and one from the back, to be controlled by the thumb.

String instruments

  • Oud: It is one of the most famous and prominent musical instruments used in Arabic music from ancient times. It is distinguished by its semi-circular shape (pear), and its structure is made of wood and includes 12 or 14 strings.
  • Simsimiyya: The origin of this instrument dates back to ancient Egypt, and the reason for its fame is its use in the songs that were spread during the popular resistance, War of Attrition. The most prominent of these songs is (Ghany Ya Simsimiyya).
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