Arab Music Essay Research Paper Arab MusicThe

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Arab Music Essay, Research Paper Arab Music The word “music” comes from the Greek word Mousiki which means ?the science of composing melodies?. Ilm al-musiqa was the name given by the Arabs to the Greek theory of music as to distinguish it from ilm al-ghinaa, the Arabian theory. The Arab music tradition developed in the courts of dynasties in the Islamic Empire from the seventh to the thirteenth century. It flourished during the Umayyad dynasty in the seventh and eighth centuries in Syria. Although the major writings of Arab music appeared after the spread of the Islamic religion in the beginning of the seventh century, the music tradition had already begun. Before the spread of Islam, Arab music incorporated music traditions of the Sassanid dynasty (224-651) in Persia

and the early Byzantine empire (fourth to sixth century) and of sung poetry from the Arabian Peninsula. Arab music is created using non-harmonized melodic and rhythmic systems. Arabic melodies draw from a vast array of models, or melodic modes, known as maqamat. Arabic books on music include as many as 52 melodic modes, of which at least 12 are commonly used. These modes feature more tones than are present in the Western musical system, including notably smaller intervals that are sometimes called microtones, or half-flats and half-sharps. Arab melodies frequently use the increased second interval, an interval larger than those of most Western melodies. The sound of Arab music is richly melodic and offers freedom for subtle nuance and creative diversity. The rhythmic structure of

Arab music is also complex. Rhythmic patterns have up to forty-eight beats and typically include several downbeats (called dums) as well as upbeats (called taks) and rests. To grasp a rhythmic mode, the listener must hear a relatively long pattern. Moreover, the performers do not simply play the pattern; they decorate and elaborate upon it. Often the pattern is recognizable only by the arrangement of downbeats. The order of these systems of melody and rhythm is essential to the composition and performance of Arab music. Students learn pieces of music, both songs and instrumental works, but rarely perform them exactly as they were originally composed or presented. In Arab tradition, a good musician is someone who can offer something new in each performance by varying and

improvising on known pieces or models in a fashion similar to that of musicians. The creations of musicians can be lengthy, extending ten-minute compositions into hour-long performances that bear only a skeletal resemblance to the models. The style of the new works traditionally depends upon the response of the audience. Listeners are expected to react during the performance, either verbally or with applause. Quiet is interpreted as disinterest or dislike. The audience members, in this tradition, are active participants in determining the length of the performance and in shaping the piece of music by encouraging musicians to either repeat a section of the piece or to move to the next section. Instruments typically used in an Arab musical performance include the ?ud, a prototype

of the European lute, and the nay, an end-blown reed flute. Frame drums, with or without jingles, and hourglass-shaped drums are common percussion instruments. These instruments vary in name and shape depending upon the region of their origin. Double-reed instruments of varying sizes, such as the Lebanese mijwiz and the Egyptian mizmar, are played at outdoor celebrations. The Arab rababah, a spike fiddle, may have been the prototype for the European violin, which is now also found in many Arab regions. Solo performance consisting of the interactive invention of good music with an appreciative audience represents a peak of musical accomplishment for the instrumentalist similar to that which the singing of poetry represents for the vocalist. In a taqsim, a form of instrumental