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“Arab Music”...From the traditional stereotype of tarab to the space of modernity

“Arab Music”…From the traditional stereotype of tarab to the space of modernity

A book that deals with important stations in its history and the most prominent people who contributed to its development

Youssef Jeries was one of the first pioneers to develop Arabic music, introducing a new color closely related to the world heritage.
The researcher Dr. Ehab Sabry is the most prominent station in the Arab music journey in its liberation from the traditional atmosphere of Turkish-style tambourine to the space of renewal and modernity through his book “Music between Art and Thought.” He also discusses a number of the makers of that journey and their role in mixing Western molds with their Arab counterpart, and how all of this contributed to Expressing the variables of modern life.
The book was recently issued by the Egyptian General Book Organization, and the author begins by addressing the role of music in making civilizations and progress, pointing out that it was able to overcome language barriers and prevailing patterns to enhance understanding between peoples and achieve cultural dialogue between civilizations.

– Syed Darwish
The author traces the beginnings of the liberation of Arabic music from the monotony and traditional percussion of the Ottoman Turkish style, “Aman Yala Lee” and “Ya Ain Ya Layl” to modernity and expressionism, referring in this context to the musician Sayed Darwish (1892-1923) and his great role in developing music to become An honest picture to depict what is simmering in the hearts of millions of people. He also developed the muwashshah, role, musicals, and enthusiastic songs in a way that makes it difficult to say that all this influence stems from one man. Rather, it can be said that he liberated Arabic music from adherence to traditional old models and responded to the Egyptian environment, expressing it in his melodies through his musical plays. When the Egyptian people rose up to demand independence, these actions were the best expression of the nation’s aspirations, in addition to the fact that they composed some national anthems in response to the wishes of the political forces. Among his most famous songs is the anthem “Come, O Egyptian,” written by the poet Badi’ Khairy, composed by Darwish at a time when the Egyptian people were struggling for their independence from the British occupation.

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– Grace and Khairat
The author also gives the example of Youssef Jeries (1899-1961) as a model for the Egyptian composer, who is considered one of the first pioneers of advanced Arab music by marrying it with its serious European counterpart to present a new color closely linked to the world heritage, while at the same time its Arab character remains clear and distinct. The author states that Grace succeeded in introducing this advanced color, and his production included two symphonies, four symphonic poems, and many pieces for different instruments. Among his most important compositions are “Three Musical Pictures” as follows: The first picture is titled “Introduction” written by Jeries in 1944 and begins with an opening played by the flute in a lyrical style that highlights the fragrance and magic of the East. As for the second picture, entitled “The Bedouin,” which is an expressive image of the Bedouin’s personality, written in 1931 at first for the single violin and then rewritten for the orchestra in 1934. During this picture, Jeries shows us a musical image of the desert and the Bedouin environment, during which the dancing Arab rhythms are highlighted. The third and final picture comes under the title “Farming” where it begins with a solo performance of the cello instrument. During this musical picture, the complete balance between the orchestra and that instrument is noted, as well as the sequence of triple and double weights when the author expresses the countryside and its charm and beauty.
The author points out that the presence and support of the Egyptian Radio Orchestra had a great impact on the musical life, not only in Egypt, but in the Arab world in general. This orchestra was the only window through which Arab composers looked at Arab musical patterns in methods and templates that were not known. From before. From here, we have the symphony, the concerto, the symphonic poem, the musical sequence, the rhapsody, and other structural forms that are no longer limited to European music, but have also become related to their Arab counterpart.
Sabri mentions that the composer Abu Bakr Khairat (1910 – 1963) took advantage of the presence of this large orchestra and wrote his first symphonic work, which is Symphony No. (1) from the maqam “Fa” small and called it “Symphony of the Revolution”, but he did not present it in public concerts where the activity was Technical at that time was limited to radio, whether the public program or the local European radio. Khairat is the first to put Arabic music in a symphonic framework, and the first to use Egyptian folk melodies in orchestral compositions.
He explains that the first beginnings of Khairat are closely related to the classical style in the four symphonic movements that begin with a fast movement, followed by a slow movement, and then a third fast movement, and the work concludes, as usual, with a fast movement. This symphony is characterized by a rather simple harmonic language. Khairat did not rely on the use of dissonances and adhered to classical harmonic. He also writes for the orchestra in the style of groups according to the pattern typical of Haydn and Mozart’s music.

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– Al-Shawan and Garana
The author mentions that the play “Antara” by the Prince of Poets Ahmed Shawqi (1868-1932), which is one of the most famous works of his poetic theatre, not many know that it was a source of inspiration and inspiration for the composer Aziz Al-Shawan (1916-1993) when the “Antarah Opera” was inspired by this play. . Although Al-Shawan composed the opera for a long time, he did not present it except for the musical opening, which he relied on several selected melodies from the opera’s own melodies, which he remixed and used brilliantly.
Al-Shawan also has the “Opera Anas Al-Wujud”, whose poetic text was written by Salama Al-Abbasi, inspired by its characters and events from the atmosphere of “One Thousand and One Nights”. The opera was shown for the first time – in the form of a musical concert – at the Cairo Opera House in July 1994, led by Maestro Youssef El-Sisi. As for Al-Shawan’s dream of presenting it as an integrated theatrical show, it did not come true until years after his departure, as it was the first attempt to present an Arab opera with integrated elements of thought, melodies and technique.
The author stops at the experience of Mohamed Refaat Garana (1929-2017), who was famous for his documentation of national events in Egypt and the Arab world through musical compositions. Among his works in this field are the “Symphony of July 23,” which records the events of that revolution that contributed to changing political life in the Middle East, the symphonic poem “Port Said,” which records the heroic city’s heroism during the Triple Aggression, and the symphonic poem “The Sixth of October,” which recorded The author includes the facts of the first Arab victory over Israel. Despite the pictorial character of the July 23 symphony, the author adhered to the foundations of classical musical formulation and formulated the first movement, as usual, from the rapid movement model of the sonata, which expresses the revolution against colonialism. As for the second slow movement, it embodies the exit of the colonial British army from the land of Egypt, followed by the third movement, which is modeled on the “skritsu” model, and it is overflowing with fun, as it expresses the people’s joy in freedom and revolution. Finally, we come to the fourth and final movement, which is modeled on the “Rund” model, as it symbolizes the irreversible elimination of colonialism and feudalism and the victory of the people.
The author states that Garana’s musical style was characterized by clarity and focus, as his melodic lines follow in a logical sequence and his harmonic language provides effective support for the melodic lines without an attempt by the author to use discordant syllables. As for his orchestral writing style, he tends to use classical methods, and he is fluent in writing for both wind instruments and strings, as he studied playing the trumpet. At the dawn of his artistic life, Rifaat Grana presented the second symphony of the small “due” maqam, known as the July 23rd Symphony, in one of the concerts of the Cairo Philharmonic, led by German maestro Jose Fries.

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