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Lebanon. Morocco. The Arabic and Islamic Music. Egypt. Introduction Classical/popular music (Egypt  east Africa ) presented by: Shelair Fairouz (Lebanon  Middle east ) presented by: Areeman

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the arabic and islamic music



The Arabic and Islamic Music



Classical/popular music (Egypt  east Africa) presented by: Shelair

Fairouz (Lebanon  Middle east) presented by: Areeman

instructional and performance videos of Arabic belly dancing (Oriental dance) presented by :Maritza

A thorough explanation of some of the Arabic instruments (Oud as example) presented by: Dhruv

Sufi Music (Morocco  north west Africa) presented by: Samir


Sufi Music in Morocco (north west of Africa)There are two principal genres of Sufi music in Morocco:AissawasMelhounBoth genres were founded in the 16th century. The first masters of the Melhun came from Tafilalt. Where as Aissawas’ main spiritual center (zaouia) is in Meknès where its founder is buried

Moroccan Music Map

what is sufism
The word “Sufi” has come to denote an Islamic Gnostic or mystic, although its derivation is a matter of controversy.

The two principle sources are thought to be believe a derivation from:

Arabic “Suf” meaning “Wool”

Greek derivatives of “Sohpos” –philosophers- or “Sophistes” meaning “Wise”

Sufism is a Muslim philosophical and literary movement that emerged in the 10th and 11th centuries and gained prominence throughout the middle east by 13th century, borrowing ideas from neo-Platonism, Buddhism and Christianity.

What is Sufism ?

SoundBoth genres (Aissawas & Melhun) are rhythmic:Melhûn There are three main Melhûn rhythms:gubbâhihaddâri drîdka.Masters of the Melhun use two methods for keeping time during a song: beating or clapping hands, ar-rash, and the range of percussion instruments, notably the ta°rîja (small goblet drum made of clay), which is the instrument most commonly used in the Melhun as in other forms of folk music.


SoundThe al-gubbâhi, rhythm used in the introductory sarrâba and at the end of certain qassîda,{ laqsida in Moroccan dialect) of the Melhun is based on two essential elements: the overtures preceding it –improvisation- and the parts of which it is composed.} :


SoundThe al-haddârî rhythm used in the central part of the qassîdaThedridka rhythm brings to an end most of the qassîda { music example “peace of dridka ”}


SoundThe Melhun orchestraThe Melhum orchestra, which has no wind instruments, is divided up into two groups: stringed instruments and percussion instruments.Stringed Instruments:·Al-°ûd (the lute), has six strings, five of which are double and one (the lowest in pitch) simple. · al-kamân,The violon, played in the same way as in the al-âla andalusi orchestra, that is to say placed vertically on the knee. ·As-swîsdî or swisen, small folk lute, with a high, dry sound, forms parts of the family of gambrî instruments, whose three strings are tuned as follows: ·Al-hajhûj, with its low-pitched sound, is the biggest of three instruments of the gambrî family (the medium-sized al farkh being another member) is tuned thus: Percussion instruments (ta°rîja) are held by the munshid (solo singers) and by the reddâda (choir) who, at the same time, act as sheddâda (percussionists) performing


Aissawa instruments

The instruments that accompany the ritual by Aïssawa are: cylindrical tambourines with only one membrane (bendir), drums with double membrane (t'bal), oboes (ghaïta), and (tassa) a small cylindrical metal instrument.


Both genres have:

  • A high degree of collective participation
  • Structuring of songs around repetition
  • Call and response vocal format
  • An association of music with dance {customarily accompany dancing and whirling dervishes (a member of various Muslim ascetic orders) in a ceremony known as <Zirk> which mean “remembrance”. In <Zirk>, music is used to bring devotes closer to the experience of consciousness.}
  • The musical idea is typically religious. The religious brotherhood of the Aissawas, spiritual descendants of Shaykh or Wali (Saint) Muhammad Ben Aisa, who died in1526 after moving to Meknes, draws it sources from the Sufi Tradition. After the death of its founder, his disciples continued the education of the mouridin (volunteers) whose principle activity consisted in reading and reciting the Qur’an and chanting hymns to the glory of the prophet Muhammad {music example: “B’ismillah” (in the name of God)}.
  • The followers of this brotherhood devote themselves, after initiation near a Master, to the individual practice of the asceticism and ritual collectives animated by musical instruments

A good example of social behavior and organization is in Aissawa ceremonial music in social occasions which, is practiced in a variety of religious and social occasions such as:

  • moussems - festival of saints
  • the Moulad - the anniversary of the Prophet's birth,
  • Friday meetings after the Asr prayer,
  • marriages and birth. 
  • Circumcision
  • Chabana, the month before Ramada, henna designs on women’s hand
Conclusion: “The Sufism message”
  • Sufism must live in
  • Serve and guide society
  • Be a vehicle by which society receives grace.
  • Being in harmony with society
  • Being at a peace with all, is a quality of perfect being