Middle Eastern Music – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Musical Genres Glossary

What is Middle Eastern Music?

Middle Eastern music refers to the music of the various countries and cultures in the Middle East region, which includes countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and many others. It is a diverse and rich musical tradition that has been influenced by various cultures and civilizations throughout history. Middle Eastern music is known for its unique scales, rhythms, and instruments, as well as its rich history and cultural significance.

What are the characteristics of Middle Eastern Music?

Middle Eastern music is characterized by its use of microtonal scales, intricate rhythms, and improvisation. One of the most distinctive features of Middle Eastern music is the use of maqamat, which are melodic modes or scales that are used as the basis for improvisation and composition. These maqamat are often based on quarter tones, which are intervals smaller than the half steps found in Western music.

Another characteristic of Middle Eastern music is its use of complex rhythms, such as odd meters like 7/8 or 9/8. These rhythms are often played on traditional percussion instruments like the darbuka or the riq, and are an integral part of Middle Eastern music.

What are the traditional instruments used in Middle Eastern Music?

Middle Eastern music is known for its wide variety of traditional instruments, many of which have been used for centuries. Some of the most common instruments used in Middle Eastern music include the oud, a pear-shaped string instrument similar to a lute; the qanun, a type of zither; the ney, a type of flute; and the dumbek, a type of drum.

Other traditional instruments used in Middle Eastern music include the santur, a type of hammered dulcimer; the kamancheh, a type of bowed string instrument; and the saz, a type of long-necked lute. These instruments are often played in ensembles or solo performances, and are an essential part of Middle Eastern music.

How has Middle Eastern Music influenced other genres?

Middle Eastern music has had a significant influence on a wide range of musical genres, including jazz, rock, and electronic music. One of the most notable examples of this influence is the use of Middle Eastern scales and rhythms in jazz music, particularly in the work of musicians like John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

Middle Eastern music has also influenced rock music, with bands like Led Zeppelin and The Beatles incorporating Middle Eastern elements into their music. In recent years, Middle Eastern music has also been sampled and used in electronic music, with artists like Bjork and Massive Attack incorporating Middle Eastern sounds into their tracks.

What are some popular Middle Eastern Music artists and songs?

There are many talented Middle Eastern music artists who have gained international recognition for their work. Some popular Middle Eastern music artists include Fairuz, a Lebanese singer known for her powerful voice and emotional performances; Umm Kulthum, an Egyptian singer who is considered one of the greatest Arab singers of all time; and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a Pakistani singer known for his qawwali music.

Some popular Middle Eastern music songs include “Ya Rayah” by Rachid Taha, a French-Algerian singer known for his fusion of rock and traditional Algerian music; “Inta Omri” by Om Kalthoum, a classic Egyptian song that showcases the singer’s vocal range and emotional depth; and “Habibi Ya Nour El Ain” by Amr Diab, an Egyptian singer known for his pop music with Middle Eastern influences.

How has Middle Eastern Music evolved over time?

Middle Eastern music has evolved over time, incorporating influences from various cultures and musical traditions. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in fusing traditional Middle Eastern music with modern genres like hip-hop, electronic music, and pop. This fusion has led to the emergence of new and innovative sounds that appeal to a global audience.

Additionally, Middle Eastern music has become more accessible through digital platforms and social media, allowing artists to reach a wider audience and collaborate with musicians from around the world. Despite these changes, Middle Eastern music continues to be a vibrant and dynamic musical tradition that reflects the rich cultural heritage of the region.