Top 5 Arabic Instruments and Features of Them
Arabic music is a culture that has a deep history. So, what is the history of Arabic music? What are the 5 most common Arabic musical instruments and what are their features? Let's examine the history of Arabic music and Arabic instruments together.
History of Arabic Music
It is known that Arabic music was in the form of oral poetry accompanied by a drum or oud between the 5th and 7th centuries in the pre-Islamic period. At the time, the songs were simple enough to only have a maqam or a melody. In the early Islamic period, Greek music principles were translated by the Muslim scholar Isḥaq al-Kindi, who published 15 articles on music theory. The word "mussiqa" was used for the first time in Arabic. During the ninth and tenth centuries, academics produced their first encyclopedic poetry and music collections. A physicist named Abū Naṣr al Farabi published the Great Music Book, in which the authorities still use in Arabic music today to document the pure Arab tone system.
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In the late 13th century, Safi al-Din al-Urmawi developed musical notes for rhythm using the geometric representation that did not appear in the Western world until the late 20th century. In the 11th century, Andalusia was the production center of musical instruments that eventually went to Europe. Ottoman music was influenced by Byzantine, Armenian, Arab and Persian music, with the rise of the vast Ottoman Empire, which spanned from the 13th to the early 20th century. As a result, when we look at the borders of Arab countries as we know today, the melody maqams of Arabic, Turkish, Armenian, and Byzantine music are the rhythm rudder system. Maqams are the way Arabic music defines the melody. Poetry and music in each region continued with oral traditions, leading to de facto standards for each field.
The 5 Most Known Arabic Instruments
The most known Arabic musical instruments are as follows.
Also known as dumbelek or darabukka, darbuka is mainly used in Arabic music. In addition, it is a very popular Arabic instrument in Balkan, Persian, and Turkish music. The hull is made of goat or fish skin. Today, various metals and plastics are used in its construction. Darbuka has two voices called dum and single. The sound produced by hitting the middle of the instrument gives the rudder sound, and the sound emitted from the edge gives its only voice. The rudder provides the basis for the rhythm, while the spokes add harmony to the melody.
The oud takes its name from al-oud, which means "aloe". One of the oldest instruments of Arabic music, oud is in the category of strings and stringed instruments. Oud, which has a 3 octave sound range, is known as a fretless instrument. This Arabic instrument, whose body is reminiscent of a pear, is produced with hardwoods. There are varieties known as "Zenne Oud", "Arabic Oud" and "Children's Oud". Elements such as size, shape, and workmanship of each variety are variable.
A dulcimer is one of the Arabic musical instruments that belong to both string and percussion group made with walnut and similar exotic trees. The dulcimer, which is known to be of Iraqi, has Iranian and Indian origin and is performed by hitting the plectrums. It has a total of 72 to 160 wires. It may vary according to the region. Iraqi dulcimer, Iran dulcimer, Turkish dulcimer, Indian dulcimer, Greek dulcimer, Hungarian dulcimer, Chinese dulcimer, Belarus dulcimer and so on. It can be tuned as triple, quadruple, or quintet.
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Rebap, which is in the stringed instruments category, is one of the popular Arabic musical instruments in the whole of Central Asia and Islamic geography and has a long history. Rebab is a three-string, fretless, stringed musical instrument made by stretching the skin over the coconut shell. Goats, fish, or sheepskin are stretched on the boat of the rebab. A hard tree is used on its stem and its size is adjusted to approximately 65 cm. Rebap is an Arabic instrument that can be played with a bow. The bow is obtained from horsetail hair and the sound is formed by manual stretching.
It is a violin, stringed instrument that may differ depending on the region. It weighs about 400-500 grams. A 4/2 spring system is preferred in the pumpkin violin. It is divided into three parts as violin, stem, body, and leather is produced using gourd. The pitch is much softer than other stringed Arabic instruments. Pumpkin or coconut is used on the trunk and skin on the chest. Although its execution is difficult at the beginning stage, it can be taken under control over time.