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Proyecto Bilingüe – 2º ESO
World music: Arabic Music
The category of Arabic music includes
music from North Africa to Iran, on to Egypt,
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc.
The music differs
quite a bit between one country and the next,
but Egypt always provides a good reference for
Arabic music. In Spain we can hear reminisces
of Arabic music even today thanks to flamenco
music.
Today,
Arabic
music
has
acquired
different influences from western music, like the
instrumentation (violins, saxophones, and electric instruments like the electric
guitar and the synthesizer.)
The main characteristics of Arabic
music are:
-Heterophony: The term used to
describe music that has two very
similar melodies that share many of
the same notes, but one melody
ornaments the other. This is a
special shadow melody.
-Improvisation: Improvisation is always present in the creation of each piece. The
beauty of the performance of improvisation consists of the improvised
embellishments.
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Proyecto Bilingüe – 2º ESO
-Ornamentation: is an element based on the Arabic sound.
Without
ornamentation, the compositions lose their characteristic sound, or sense.
Arabic music is based on styles of melody and rhythm.

Melodic pattern: Arabic music uses a different scale than we do. In their
scales, they use very small intervals, like quarter steps (as opposed to half
steps). This is one of the most important characteristics of Arabic music.

Rhythmic Pattern: The same rhythmical pattern is used during the
performance, but different instruments ornament the pattern. However, the
basic pattern can always be identified easily.
Curiosities…
Arabs entered Spain around the 7th century and stayed for 8 centuries, until
1492. During these centuries, the Muslims lived together with the Christians and
Jews. We call this time “Spain of the three cultures.” The music of this mixture is
called andalusí music.
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