Arab music – The Violin Magician
Select Page Arabic Instruments The traditional Arabic music ensemble is known as Takht literally bed and consists of 4 main melodic instruments: Oud, Nay, Qanun and violin, and one main percussion instrument riq. Oud The ancestor of the lute origin aloud The most popular instrument in Arabic music.
It name means thin strip of wood which is what is used to make the round body shape. Neck is short with no frets, allowing for notes in any intonation, therefore ideal for Arabic maqams with quarter notes. Most common string combination is 5 pairs of strings tuned in unison and a single bass string can have up to 13 strings made of nylon or animal gut.
Strings are plucked with a plectrum or Risha Arabic for feather. Modern strings are made of steel wound over nylon. Turkish, Armenian and Greek oud is slightly different from Arab one, requiring different tunings; Turkish-style oud has a brighter sound than Arab counterpart. Nay The Nay Farsi for reed is an open ended, obliquely open ended flute made of cane.
It has 6 holes in front and 1 hole in the back, like a recorder. Qanun Descendent of the old Egyptian Harp. Integral part of Arabic music since 10th century. Introduced to Europe by 12th Century, becoming known during 14th to 16th Centuries as psaltery or zither, also resembles dulcimer.
Trapezoid-shaped flat board with over 81 strings, stretched in groups of 3 with 24 treble chords consisting of three chords to each note, resulting in a total of 8 notes per octave. The strings are attached on the right side to a long bridge resting on goat or fish skincovered windows and to tuning pegs on the left.
On the left side, each course of strings passes over a series of small brass levers that are used to make microtonal changes in pitch. Strings are plucked with one or two fingers or with two plectra, one attached to the forefinger of each hand. In Arabic music, the Qanun lays down the law of pitch for other instruments and singers. The player initially sets the levers to create the scale of the starting maqam. To modulate to another maqam, the player needs to switch some levers back and forth with the left hand while playing with the right hand.
Quick modulation can also be achieved by using the fingernail of the left thumb to temporarily raise the tuning of some strings. Violin Kaman or kamanjah Arabic.
Adopted into Arabic music during second half of 19th century, replacing the indigenous Egyptian 2-string fiddle. Because it is a fret-less instrument, it lends itself to producing all shades of intonation of the Arabic maqam. Various tuning methods are used, but Traditional Arabic tuning is in fourths and fifths, G3, d4, G4, D5.
Playing style is ornate with slides, trills, wide vibrato and double stops, often using an open string as a drone. The timbre ranges from rich and warm, similar to the sound of the Western violin to nasal and penetrating, reminiscent of the sound of the rababah, a type of Arab folk fiddle.
The violin is held in the usual under-chin fashion and gamba style on the knee. Moroccans play gamba style and often use the GDAE tuning. Rik The Rik is small tambourine traditionally covered with goat or fish skin, stretched over a wooden frame with 5 sets of two pairs of brass cymbals evenly spaced around the frame. The natural animal skin is sensitive to humidity and can lose its tightness, therefore, a mylar headed aluminum or wooden bodied instrument frequently replaces the original materials.
In the first half of the 20th Century the rik was the sole percussion instrument in the music ensemble. By varying the point at which the drum is struck and the amount of hand contacting the head, the player controls the quality of the sound produced. The rik or Tabla set the rhythm of much of Arabic music.
The rik player is the rhythm master and single-handedly controls the speed and dynamic of the entire orchestra. The dumbek rhythms are popular rhythms commonly used in Arabic and Middle Eastern music.
Arab music – The Violin Magician
The building of the opera house was originally ordered by the ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who has always been a fan of classical music and arts. In the initial seasons many of the performances were of classical music and dance. In recent years, more Arabic performers have also appeared at the Opera House, playing not only to an Arab audience that knows them well, but also to a large audience of ex-patriates who would normally not get the opportunity to hear and see such performers.
One exceptional event was on December 3, , when the Lebanese virtuoso violinist, Jihad Akl, gave truly memorable performance. Within structures akin to those of classical music, Akl creates a distinctive sound that is strong and powerful with the arresting tonal resonance typical of Oriental music. His father started to teach him classical music at the age of five and he continued to study intensively with his father, who was a musician and music teacher, for more than a decade.
He won his first music competition in at the age of six and, by the time he was fourteen, Jihad was playing regularly on Lebanese Radio. Today Jihad Akl tours widely throughout the Arab World and beyond. He adopts a unique violin approach by mixing the Oriental with the Western music styles. More information about him can be found here. There are a number of videos of his music on YouTube.
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Khaled Arabic Violin Player Dubai based
His father started to teach him classical music at the age of five and he continued to study intensively with his father, who was a musician and music teacher, for more than a decade. He won his first music competition in at the age of six and, by the time he was fourteen, Jihad was playing regularly on Lebanese Radio. Today Jihad Akl tours widely throughout the Arab World and beyond.
He adopts a unique violin approach by mixing the Oriental with the Western music styles. More information about him can be found here. There are a number of videos of his music on YouTube. Thank you for visiting ArabicOnline.
Our award winning interactive courses of Modern Standard Arabic have been developed for anyone with a genuine interest in Arabic, whether for private, educational or professional reasons and are specially designed for self-study.
Our website and our language courses are free from advertisements and we don't share any personal details of our visitors or registered members with third parties. IM 07 Feb When you think violin — what are the words that come to mind? Smooth, emotive, silky. Violins are played across the globe in many different ways and therefore can — and do — sound like nearly completely different instruments at times, regardless of whether they are used in lush orchestral settings or demonstrative solo performance.
For example, violins played throughout the Middle East hardly resemble their kin in Western, or classical environments. This richness and diversity is something to celebrate and cherish, as the variety of sounds and styles in the world help enhance and enrich our appreciation and enjoyment of music.
With that in mind, TAQS. IM has come up with a list of some of our favorite violin players. As with previous blog posts, this list is not exhaustive by any means — but instead provides a bit of a glimpse into the fretless world of bowed stringy deliciousness.
His knowledge of modal maqam music combined with his virtuosity and command of classical and folk idioms added tremendous flavor to any ensemble which he joined.
Shaheen also made our recent list of oud players, and is clearly a beast on various instruments, including the violin.