Iraq, Israel, and Saudi Arabia Music of West Asia
Music of Iraq • The music of Iraq or Iraqi music, (also known as the Music of Mesopotamia) encompasses the music of a number of ethnic groups and musical genres. • It includes Arabic, Assyrian, Turcoman, Armenian, Roma and Kurdish music among others
Instruments in Iraq • Iraq is recognized mainly for three instruments named Oud, Iraqi Santur and Joza. • Oud: Readily distinguished by its lack of frets and smaller neck; an ancestor of the guitar • Iraqi Santur: Trapezoid box zither with a walnut body and ninety-two steel (or bronze) strings; strings, tuned to the same pitch in groups of four, are struck with two wooden mallets • Joza: usually consists of a small, rounded body, the front of which is covered in a membrane; has a long thin neck with a pegbox at the end and there are four strings; no fingerboard; the instrument is held upright
Traditional Music of Iraq • Iraqi classical music needs some discussion of the social environment, as well as to the poetry. • Poetry is always rendered clearly. Poetry is the art of the Iraqis, and sung poetry is the finest of all. • Use of the lower end of a melodic range is characteristic, as is the use of silence (one listens through silence)
Traditional Music of Iraq • Historically, music would have been played for gatherings of men. • With the modern sound recording industry, things have changed somewhat. • Today, musicians are invited to perform at weddings • By the 1930s, concerts were being staged at concert venues.
Maqam • Across the Arab world, maqam refers to specific melodic modes. • When a musician performs maqam performances, the performer improvises, based on rules. • There are between fifty and seventy different maqams, each with its own mood and characteristics. • There are also many sub-styles. • Other characteristics of Iraqi music include a slow tempo, rhythmically free ornamentation or melodic lines, and predominantly minor modes
Modern Music • Early in the 20th century, many of the most prominent musicians in Iraq were Jewish • One of the reasons for the predominance of Jewish instrumentalists in early 20th century Iraqi music was a prominent school for blind Jewish children • Singers were generally Muslim, Jewish and Christian. • The most famous singer of the 1930s–1940s was perhaps Salima Pasha (later SalimaMurad). The respect and adoration for Pasha were unusual at the time, since public performance by women was considered shameful.
Modern Music • In 1936, Iraq Radio was established by two of Iraq's most prominent performers and composers, Saleh and Daoud Al-Kuwaitywith an ensemble made up entirely of Jews, with the exception of the percussion player. • The nightclubs of Baghdad also featured almost entirely Jewish musicians. At these nightclubs, ensembles consisted of oud, qanun (zither) and two percussionists • The same instrumentation with a ney (flute) and cello were used on the radio
Modern Music • For much of the 20th century, Egypt was the center for Arab popular music, with only a few stars from other countries finding international success
Pop Music in Iraq • Pop music in Iraq usually indicates musical motifs and lyrics dating back centuries but performed with a mix of traditional and modern instruments. • Kadim Al Sahir, for example, may be nicknamed "the Elvis of the Middle East," but he sings in classical Arabic. • Popular musician Ilham al-Madfai features the electric guitar and saxophone, but uses the instruments to reinterpret age-old folk songs
Contemporary Music • Until the fall of Saddam Hussein, the most popular radio station was the Voice of Youth, which used to play the popular music of Iraq to continue the culture of the country. The station also played a mix of rock, hip hop and pop music from artists such as Eminem to R.E.M., and both disc jockeys and callers spoke exclusively in English • The Corrs and Westlife are especially popular. Iraq has also produced a major pan-Arab pop star-in-exile in Kazem al Sahir, whose songs include "Ladghat E-Hayya", which was banned by Saddam Hussein for its racy lyrical content.
Effects of War • Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq and fall of Saddam Hussein, some militant extremists have been attacking musicians, especially those in the port city of Basra. Basra's sea shanties are well-known throughout Iraq. • Music shops in Summar have been the target of grenade bombings. Religious leaders have closed some of the concert halls and clubs in the city.
Recent Music • Rap • Hip Hop • Dance
A Long Long Time Ago • Music in Israel is an integral part of national identity. Beginning in the days of the pioneers, Hebrew songs and public singalongs (ShirabeTsibur) were encouraged and supported by the establishment • Jewish immigrants from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere brought with them their musical traditions, melding and molding them into a new Israeli sound
Immigrant Influence • Many of the Zionist immigrants who arrived before 1935 came from Russia. They brought folk song with them. • These Russian-style tunes are generally in a minor key, and often accompanied by accordion, or by guitar imitating the sound of the balalaika • Like this
Immigrant Influences • Eastern European Klezmer music was also brought to the country by the immigrants of the early 20th century. • Many Hassidic and klezmer melodies found their way into the canon of Israeli folk music, with lyrics translated from the Yiddish, or new Hebrew words. • NumiNumi(Sleep My Child)
A Little History… • The first efforts to create a corpus of music suitable for a new Jewish entity that would eventually become Israel were in 1882 • This was the year of the First Aliyah, the first wave of Jewish immigrants seeking to create a national homeland in Palestine. • As there were no songs yet written for this national movement, Zionist youth movements in Germany and elsewhere published songbooks, using traditional German and other folk melodies with new words written in Hebrew. • An example: Hatikvah
A Little History… • In 1895 settlers established the first Jewish orchestra in Palestine • AvrahamZviIdelsohn, a trained cantor from Russia and a musicologist, settled in Jerusalem in 1906, with the objective of studying and documenting the musics of the various Jewish communities there
A Little History… • The Second Aliyah, beginning in 1904, saw an increase in composition of original songs by Jewish settlers in Palestine • Over the next 30 years, Jewish composers in Palestine began to seek new rhythmic and melodic modes that would distinguish their songs from the traditional European music they had been brought up on
A Little History… • The movement to create a repertoire of Hebrew songs, and a distinctive style for those songs, was seen not merely as a creative outlet, but as a national imperative. • This imperative — which influenced the literature, theater and graphic arts of the period as well as music — was to seek cultural roots of the new Israeli nation in the culture of the ancient Hebrews of the Bible
A Little History… • Starting in the 1920s, cafe and cabaret music became popular in Palestine, and became an important formative force in Israeli music. These cabarets staged variety shows that combined political satire, drama and song. • The cabarets were launching pads for the careers of some of Israel's leading popular music stars • The cabarets also contributed to diversity in Israeli music. Many of the songs were in a popular, light style, distinct from the New Hebrew style or the Russian folk style that was prevalent. Many songs were in the major key rather than minor, had upbeat rhythms and included tangos, sambas and other Latin styles.
A Little History… • The rise of Nazism in Europe forced many Jewish musicians to leave. Some of these musicians came to Israel. The immigration included some of the leading classical musicians of Europe. • By 1935, Jewish musicians throughout Europe were faced with dismissal, persecution, and expulsion. To meet the pressing need to rescue these musicians, concert violinist BronislawHuberman decided to form an orchestra in Palestine — both as a safe haven and as a unique musical endeavor. • Huberman recruited musicians from Europe's leading orchestras, and the Palestine Philharmonic made its debut in December 1936
A Little History… • In the wake of decades of conflict with the Arabs, the themes of war and peace have become an integral part of Israeli music. • From pre-state times until the present day, many songs deal with war, sacrifice, loss, heroism, and the longing for peace. • Extremely militaristic songs that glorify triumph over the enemy are not the standard in the Israeli repertoire. Most songs dealing with war are melancholy in tone.
A Little History… • Since the 1950s, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has run performing groups called LehakotTsva'iyot (Army Ensembles). • These groups, comprising enlisted soldiers with talent or performing experience, tour bases and field positions to entertain the troops. • These groups became leaders in the Israeli music and entertainment field
A Little History… • The 1967 war marked an important turning point in Israeli culture • The period after the war saw a burgeoning of cultural activity — within a few years, the number of art galleries increased by a third, the number of theaters doubled, and a proliferation of restaurants, night clubs, discothèques opened
A Little History… • The Israeli music scene opened up to the rest of the world. Rock music, which prior to the war had almost no audience and was almost never played on the state radio, started drawing audiences • Oriental musical traditions were brought by Jewish immigrants from Morocco, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt and elsewhere. These immigrants developed an eclectic Mediterranean style called "MuzikaMizrahit” • MuzikaMizrahitcombines eastern and western elements: the ensemble includes Middle Eastern instruments, such as the oud, the kanun, the Eastern violin, the darbouka and the Greek bouzouki, alongside electric and acoustic guitars, pianos and other western instruments.
A Little History… • From 1960 to 1980, Israeli radio and television promoted music by running frequent song contests. Success in a song contest was often the key to success for an artist in those days • In the 1980s the Lehakot started to decline, until they were discontinued altogether
A Little History… • Until the end of the 1980s, the Israeli government, primarily through its control of radio and television, continued to play a central role in shaping the musical tastes of Israelis. • In 1965, a feud between rival concert promoters was behind conservative forces in the government that refused to allocate foreign currency to pay for the Beatles to play in Israel. • Some rock and MuzikaMizrahit artists complained that the radio and television discriminated against their music, preventing the commercial success of these increasingly popular genres
A Little History… • With the commercialization of Israeli radio and television in the 1990s, the influence and frequency of the state-run media declined. • In their place, recording companies, impresarios and clubs became increasingly important in finding new talent and advancing careers, in a manner more typical of European and American industries.
A Little History… • In 2006, there were an estimated 165,000 migrant workers in Israel. • They come from the Philippines, Thailand, India, China, Africa, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. • Each community of migrant workers has its own musical culture. Foreign workers also have their local popular music groups, that perform at parties and on holidays
Music Education • Israel offers myriad opportunities to study music, from early childhood through adulthood. Music education in Israel enjoys considerable government support • Conservatories offer programs for all ages • A number of institutions of higher education offer degrees in music and musicology • Music education does not end with degree programs. Israel offers numerous opportunities for adult musicians to continue learning and performing, even if they do not pursue this as a career. • There are two organizations for amateur chamber music players. There are more than 20 community orchestras scattered throughout Israel for amateur musicians
Examples • Folk • Rock • Rap • Pop • Power pop • Israeli Idol • And there’s these guys… • And this…
Traditional Music • The origin of the music of Saudi Arabia dates back to the Roman times. The music that was formed had a distinct style. • The pure classical form found in the traditional music has disappeared, but the modal quality of the music still exists today. • During the classical age, Arabian classical music was plucked from different regions. The traditional classical music combined with different regional melodies shaped the classical theories and practical applications in Arabia.
Traditional Music • Saudi traditional music is very minimal. • The migratory lifestyle of the people frowned upon carrying excess baggage, including musical instruments. • Simple rhythms, with the beat counted by clapping or striking together everyday implements formed the basis of the music. • Instruments like the double-reededney or the stringed rababawere sometimes used, after being obtained in cosmopolitan cities such as Basrah, Baghdad, and Jeddah.
Discuss- • Pair up with someone close to you. • If you had to migrate to a new part of the country, and could only take what you could carry, what would be important for you to grab? • Discuss this with your partner.
Conflict of Music and Religion • Music, however, is considered "sinful" by some Muslims. This is based, in part, on certain texts which speak negatively of non-percussion musical instruments and the idea that music and art are distractions from God. • Particularly in the early days of the current Saudi state, religious authorities were quick to repress music other than the rhythmic percussion that still dominates contemporary Saudi music. • What do you do when you are in a taxi or restaurant with music? • The advent of radios, tape and CD players in the country saw the attendant growth of shops supporting them. Most cities of any size now have crowded music shops.
Debate- • It is believed by some that your life should be fully devoted to your religion. This includes the notion that any of the “arts” are a distraction. • Pair up with someone close to you. • First, pick opposing sides of this argument. You do not have to believe in the side of the argument for which you are taking- simply try to think how someone on that side would believe. You will have a chance to switch roles and argue the opposing viewpoint.
Debate- • Think about the opinions of the man in the video, arguing for business owners to not force patrons to listen to music. • How do you feel about this? Who’s rights are more “important?”
Contemporary Music • With the coming of satellite TV, music video stations, ranging from MTV (Europe and Lebanon versions), VH1, and assorted European and Arabic music channels are very popular. • Contemporary musicians include the pan-Arab star Mohamed Abdu, Saudi Arabia's first pop star, and the late TalalMaddah, known as the "Sound of the Earth", who died on stage in August 2000 while singing in the summer festival.
Discuss- • Think about how different the American music industry would be without mass producing audio and video capabilities. • How would this change our musical entertainment? What do you think you would be singing/playing without any outside influence?
Debate- • Live television has had its share of conflict. From something as simple as someone cursing when they aren’t supposed to, to someone dying on live TV, many people argue there should never be truly “live” television. • Pair up with someone and pick opposing sides of the debate. Then switch and debate the other side. Should broadcasts ever be truly “live?”