Overview

Image courtesy of AMAR Foundation

Introduction

In collaboration with AMAR Foundation (Arab Music Archiving and Research), Sharjah Art Foundation presents Rawdat al-Balabel: a series of podcasts about classical Arabic music.

Launched in March 2013, the original series consisted of 104 episodes posted online over the course of 52 weeks, new episodes are available on the website every Thursday. It is divided into four programmes each featuring 26 episodes.

Founded by Kamal Kassar, the Beirut-based AMAR Foundation holds the largest and most unique collection of classical Arabic music in the world, containing recordings from the Arabic Renaissance period (1903-1930’s).

Overview

The series is divided into four programme strands each with a particular focus.

• Part 1 Sama' (Audition) – is the analysis of a given work: putting it under a microscope and looking at it from a musical angle, studying its Maqam, rhythm and performance, as well as the circumstances surrounding it including events, historical changes and/or musical changes.

• Part 2 Nizamuna al-Museeqi (Our Musical System) – is the treatment of anything related to the Arabic Musical Experience, systems of composition and rhythm. This program explains the various musical and singing Maqamat (keys), rhythms and forms in the Arabic Classical Music traditions.

• Part 3 Min al-Tareekh (History) – focuses on the historical events and figures that were contemporary or had an influence on Arabic music, especially during the renaissance period in the second half of the 19th century and the early 1900s.

• Part 4 Duroob al-Nagham (The Paths of Melody) – this section explains the systems of performance and its paths, as well as the instruments and various musical traditions existing in the Arabic Orient.

Sheikh Abū al-‘Ilā Muḥammad

Sheikh Abū al-‘Ilā Muḥammad

In today’s episode, we will resume our discussion about Sheikh Abū al-‘Ilā Muḥammad with Prof. Frédéric Afandī Lagrange.

Ajebtu LeSaaye AlDahr

Ajebtu LeSaaye AlDahr

This episode will preview and analyse three recordings of this qaṣīda, all three composed to the bayyātī maqām.

‘Ālima singing dawr (4)

‘Ālima singing dawr (4)

This episode will resume the discussion about ‘ālima who sang dawr, or classical Arab Music forms in general.

‘Ālima singing dawr (3)

‘Ālima singing dawr (3)

Today, we will resume our discussion about women who sang dawr. Prof. Frédéric Lagrange will explain the metaphorical aspect of dawr as we have already discussed taqāsīm layālī and mawwāl.

‘Ālima singing dawr (1)

‘Ālima singing dawr (1)

“The qānūn certainly was his favorite instrument, not only because of the virtuosity of a performer like Al-‘Aqqād, but because of something about the very nature of the strings.

Music Notation (2)

Music Notation (2)

Many centuries after Al-Urmawī’s notation type was deduced, did Dimitrie Cantemir develop it significantly, i.e. including all the music details? Was he able to transcribe many pieces? Was he able to preserve the musical heritage that existed in his time?

Dāwūd Ḥusnī (4)

Dāwūd Ḥusnī (4)

Today, we will be resuming our discussion about Dāwūd Afandī Ḥusnī with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

Dāwūd Ḥusnī (3)

Dāwūd Ḥusnī (3)

Today, we will be resuming our discussion about Dāwūd Afandī Ḥusnī with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

Dāwūd Ḥusnī (2)

Dāwūd Ḥusnī (2)

Today, we will be resuming our discussion about Dāwūd Afandī Ḥusnī with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

Dāwūd Ḥusnī (1)

Dāwūd Ḥusnī (1)

Today, we will be talking about Dāwūd Afandī Ḥusnī, or who...?
Prof. Frédéric Lagrange?

Sulaymān Abū Dāwūd (2)

Sulaymān Abū Dāwūd (2)

Today, we will resume our discussion about Sulaymān Afandī Abū Dāwūd with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

Sulaymān Abū Dāwūd (1)

Sulaymān Abū Dāwūd (1)

Today’s episode is dedicated to the author of this famous jest, Sulaymān Abū Dāwūd. Our quasi-permanent guest Prof. Frédéric Lagrange will be telling us about him.

Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī

Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī

In today’s episode, we will resume our discussion about Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī

Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī

In today’s episode, we will resume our discussion about Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī

Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī

Today’s episode is about a major figure of Arab music in the late 19th century and early 20th century. I am referring to Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī who was born in Damanhūr and spent his life in Cairo where he died around 1927.

Dawr ‘Fī zamān el-waṣl’

Dawr ‘Fī zamān el-waṣl’

Today we will be resuming our discussion about the dawr a‘raj, i.e. dawr composed to rhythms other than the maṣmūdī or ‘ala al-waḥda 4-pulse’ rhythms.

‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī (4)

‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī (4)

This is the fourth and last part of ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī’s biography, including his personal life, his artistic career, as well as life in his era.

‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī (3)

‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī (3)

This is the third episode of ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī’s biography.

Let us stop talking about the tragedy in his life and discuss his artistic journey, with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī (1)

‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī (1)

In today’s episode recorded in Paris, Mr. Frédéric Lagrange will be talking to us about Sī ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī.

The ‘ushshāq maqām

The ‘ushshāq maqām

The ‘ushshāq maqām — derived from the dūkāh — is ranked as the fifth maqām and thus was called banjkāh before the Persians and the Iraqis gave this appellation to a rāst sub-maqām.

Muḥyiddīn Ba‘yūn (2)

Muḥyiddīn Ba‘yūn (2)

Today’s episode is dedicated to Muḥyiddīn Ba‘yūn, the player of ṭanbūr baghdādī –known today as the buzuq.

Muḥyiddīn Ba‘yūn (1)

Muḥyiddīn Ba‘yūn (1)

Muḥyiddīn Ba‘yūn…
The muṭrib of Bilād al-Shām and a star who shone in Beirut’s sky, as well as an unrivalled player of ṭanbūr baghdādī –known today as the buzuq.

Baḥrī singing (2)

Baḥrī singing (2)

Today, we will resume our discussion about baḥrī singing in the Arabian Gulf.

Baḥrī singing (1)

Baḥrī singing (1)

Today, we will discuss a popular singing style in the Arabian Gulf: baḥrī singing (baḥr = sea).

Dawr ‘El-ḥelū lammā in‘aṭaf’ (2)

Dawr ‘El-ḥelū lammā in‘aṭaf’ (2)

In today’s episode, we will resume our discussion about dawr El-ḥelū lammā in‘aṭaf written by Ismā‘īl Bāshā Ṣabrī and composed by ‘Abduh Afandī al-Ḥāmūlī to the bayyātī maqām, muḥayyar sub-maqām, and the 3-pulse’ dārij rhythm.

Dawr ‘Sallimti rūḥak’ (1)

Dawr ‘Sallimti rūḥak’ (1)

Today, we will be analysing dawr Sallimti rūḥak written by Sheikh Aḥmad ‘Āshūr, and composed by Dāwūd Ḥusnī allegedly in the late 19th century, i.e. before the recording era.

Awalem

Awalem

Today, we will be resuming our discussion about the singing of the ‘ālima with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

Awalem

Awalem

Today, we will be resuming our discussion about the singing of the ‘ālima with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

Awalem

Awalem

Today, we will be discussing the singing of the ‘ālima. This term came to imply different meanings throughout time. The ‘ālima are a world by itself, with different ranks and various types according to the country and the period.

‘Min al-tārīkh’

‘Min al-tārīkh’

In today's episode, we will resume our discussion about record companies in the Arab world at the beginning of the 20th century.

‘Min al-tārīkh’

‘Min al-tārīkh’

Today’s episode is exceptional: It is neither about a figure nor about an event. We will be discussing a phenomenon that took place in the early 20th century or the late 19th century: The recording phenomenon.

Dawr ‘Da‘ el-‘adhul’ (2)

Dawr ‘Da‘ el-‘adhul’ (2)

Conceived by Mustafa Said, this third episode of Dawr Da‘ el-‘adhul (2) is part of the Sama‘ programme, a show that discusses our musical heritage through comparison and analysis

Dawr ‘Da‘ el-‘adhūl’

Dawr ‘Da‘ el-‘adhūl’

Conceived by Mustafa Said, this third episode of Dawr Da‘ el-‘adhul is part of the Sama‘ programme, a show that discusses our musical heritage through comparison and analysis

Dawr ‘Inta farīd fī el-ḥusn’

Dawr ‘Inta farīd fī el-ḥusn’

Dawr Inta farīd fī el-ḥusn was written by Ismā‘īl Bāshā Ṣabrī and composed by ‘Abduh Afandī al-Ḥāmūlī to the ḥijāz maqām.

The sīkāh maqām

The sīkāh maqām

As mentioned in previous episodes, the sīkāh maqām –ranked as the third maqām – is made of two words: sīh meaning third, and kāh meaning maqām.

Sa‘d Zaghlūl

Sa‘d Zaghlūl

Sa‘d Zaghlūl was born in Ibyāna village under the jurisdiction of Fuwwah — in the former Gharbiyya Governorate — (today, Meṭawbas in the Kafr al-Sheikh Governorate).

Dawr ‘Yā ma-inta waḥishnī’

Dawr ‘Yā ma-inta waḥishnī’

Conceived by Mustafa Said, this third episode of Dawr Fi ElBuud Yama is part of the Sama‘ programme, a show that discusses our musical heritage through comparison and analysis

Dawr ‘Yā ma-inta waḥishnī’

Dawr ‘Yā ma-inta waḥishnī’

Conceived by Mustafa Said, this third episode of Dawr Fi ElBuud Yama is part of the Sama‘ programme, a show that discusses our musical heritage through comparison and analysis

Dawr ‘El-bulbul gānī’

Dawr ‘El-bulbul gānī’

Dawr “El-bulbul gānī” was composed to the rāst suznak maqām by Ibrāhīm Afandī al-Qabbānī, writer unknown.

The taḥmīla

The taḥmīla

The taḥmīla is an instrumental form –that appeared at an unknown date– used in both the popular and literary traditions in Arabic Music starting the second half of the 19th century at least.

The samā‘ī

The samā‘ī

The samā‘ī form appeared within the samā‘ part of the mawlawiyya dhikr ceremonies sometime during the 15th century.

Salāma Ḥigāzī 3

Salāma Ḥigāzī 3

The Arab Music Archiving and Research foundation (AMAR), in collaboration with the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), presents Min al-Tārīkh.
We will resume our discussion about Sheikh Salāma Ḥigāzī.

Salāma Ḥigāzī 2

Salāma Ḥigāzī 2

The Arab Music Archiving and Research foundation (AMAR), in collaboration with the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), presents “Min al-Tārīkh”.
we will resume our discussion about Sheikh Salāma Ḥigāzī

Salāma Ḥigāzī 1

Salāma Ḥigāzī 1

The Arab Music Archiving and Research foundation (AMAR), in collaboration with the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), presents Min al-Tārīkh.

Muḥammad Sālim al-Kabīr

Muḥammad Sālim al-Kabīr

Muḥammad Sālim, known as Muḥammad Sālim al-Kabīr (the great), is closest as to the literary aspect to genius poet Al-Dhubyānī who greatly excelled in poetry while Sālim greatly excelled in singing.

The Bashraf

The Bashraf

In Arabic Classical Music, the bashraf is among the instrumental forms introducing the maqām waṣla that starts with an instrumental piece like the bashraf or the samā‘ī.

‘waṣla’

‘waṣla’

we will resume our discussion about the waṣla.

We had promised at the end of the previous episode to present to you a complete waṣla recorded at the Egyptian National Radio.

‘Arāka ‘aṣiyy al-dam‘ ’

‘Arāka ‘aṣiyy al-dam‘ ’

We will resume our discussion about qaṣīda Arāka ‘aṣiyy al-dam‘.

Let us continue with ‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī, this time in another recording made by Zonophone.

Qaṣīda ‘Arāka ‘aṣiyy al-dam‘’

Qaṣīda ‘Arāka ‘aṣiyy al-dam‘’

Written by Abū Firās al-Ḥamdānī.
It is the most famous qaṣīda sang during the Nahḍa period, and ‘Abduh Afandī al-Ḥāmūlī is said to have been the first ever to sing it at Khedive Ismā‘īl’s court.

The waṣla

The waṣla

The waṣla is the base supporting the performance of Arabic Classical Music. It constitutes a part of a musical concert.

Khedive ‘Abbās Ḥilmī II.

Khedive ‘Abbās Ḥilmī II.

‘Abbās Ḥilmī Ibn Muḥammad Tawfīq Ibn Ismā‘īl Ibn Ibrāhīm Ibn Muḥammad ‘Alī was born in Alexandria on July 14th 1874. He ruled Egypt before he was 18, starting January 8th 1892, after his father Khedive Muḥammad Tawfīq, until the Royal British decree to depose him from office and replace him with his uncle Ḥusayn Kāmil Ibn Ismā‘īl on September 19th 1914. Consequently, Egypt that used to be governed by a Khedivial system theoretically submitted to Istanbul’s Ottoman Empire was now under British protectorate, and the Khedive was now a Sultan submitted in effect to the British Empire.

Mawwāl ‘Sāhī el-gufūn’

Mawwāl ‘Sāhī el-gufūn’

In this episode, we will deal with a number of recordings of this mawwāl, the first and oldest of which is by Sheikh Yūsuf al-Manyalāwī recorded in 1909 by Gramophone on two sides of a 30cm record, order # 012508, 012509, matrix # 1708 C, 1709 C. This recording is excerpted from the 'Complete Works of Sheikh Yūsuf al-Manyalāwī' published in October 2011 by AMAR.

The dawr (3)

The dawr (3)

The third phase of the dawr’s evolution started with a generation of composers that included mashāyikh students, singing theatre (operetta) students, and other students who gained their learning and knowledge from both.

Zakī Murād (2)

Zakī Murād (2)

The previous episode ended with Zakī Murād singing dawr Fī zamān el-waṣl composed by ‘Abd al-Raḥīm al-Maslūb whose daughter had married the famous early 20th century composer Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī. So… which is the second dawr?

The bayyātī maqām

The bayyātī maqām

The bayyātī maqām is the unparalleled most widely spread maqām from the Arabic Maghreb going west to the Iberian peninsula including Spain and Portugal, then up to the east of the plateau of China, and from the centre of the African continent to Greece and Sicily.

The dawr

The dawr

This episode resumes our discussion about the form of the dawr.

We will start it with the second generation of the Nahḍa composers, i.e. the students of Muḥammad ‘Uthmān and ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī, the two most famous being Dāwūd Ḥusnī and Ibrāhīm al-Qabbānī. In his books, Kāmil al-Khula’ī named them 'the young generation'.

The mawwāl

The mawwāl

The mawwāl is the third passage of the musical waṣla sang in classical Arabic during the Nahḍa period.

The rāst maqām

The rāst maqām

The rāst maqām is the first maqām and the basis of melodies in the maqām hierarchy and the melody scales of the Arabic musical system.

Dawr ‘Kādnī el-hawa’

Dawr ‘Kādnī el-hawa’

Written by Sheikh Muḥammad al-Darwīsh
Composed by Muḥammad Afandī ‘Uthmān to the nahawand maqām, a sub-maqām of the ‘ushshāq maqām.

Al-muwashshaḥ

Al-muwashshaḥ

The muwashshaḥ is the first vocal passage in the waṣla. It is preceded by the instrumental passage that starts off the waṣla and can be a bashraf or a samā‘ī, followed by a taqsīm and a layālī, then a mawwāl and finally the dawr.

The dawr

The dawr

The dawr was the pillar par excellence of the waṣla during the Nahḍa period, and “the most eagerly awaited for passage since the beginning of the waṣla because it is easy to understand and has a rich melody” as stated by Muḥammad Kāmil al-Khula‘ī.

The Qānūn Musical Instrument 2

The Qānūn Musical Instrument 2

In an interview with Ghassān Saḥḥāb, we asked:
How was the qānūn played before the ‘arabāt were added, and after that?

The Qānūn Musical Instrument 1

The Qānūn Musical Instrument 1

The qānūn is a trapezoidal string instrument played by plucking the strings with two plectra fixed to both forefingers with a ring called kushtbān. The qānūn has 26 courses of strings, most of them with 3 strings, except for a few 2-string courses.

Muṣṭafa Kāmil Bāshā (or Pasha)

Muṣṭafa Kāmil Bāshā (or Pasha)

An Egyptian nationalist leader, known for his resistance against the British occupation at the beginning of the 20th century.

He was the first leader ever to be mentioned by name –not only alluded to– in an Arabic song.

The qaṣīda ‘Wa ḥaqqika anta al-muna wa al-ṭalab’ 2

The qaṣīda ‘Wa ḥaqqika anta al-muna wa al-ṭalab’ 2

Let us give an idea about the public performance of this qaṣīda; I do not imply Sheikh Abū al-‘Ilā’s live performances as we are unable to gather any information about these, but Umm Kulthūm’s performance for example. We do know that Umm Kulthūm used to perform this qaṣīda in her public concerts. How did she perform it, knowing that she had actually memorized it from Sheikh Abū al-‘Ilā’s recording? How did she perform it in her public concerts?

The qaṣīda ‘Wa ḥaqqika ant’

The qaṣīda ‘Wa ḥaqqika ant’

A comparison between two recordings of Sheikh Abū al-‘Ilā Muḥammad:
The first recording was made by Mechian before 1914 — as mentioned earlier — on both sides of a 27cm record, matrix # 393, 1 and 2.
The second recording was made by Baidaphon around 1921 on both sides of a 27cm record # b-02259 and b-082260

Muwashshaḥ ‘Lammā badā yatathanna’

Muwashshaḥ ‘Lammā badā yatathanna’

Muwashshaḥ 'Lammā badā yatathanna'’s author is unknown. Its melody is attributed to Sheikh Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Raḥīm al-Maslūb and composed to the nahawand maqām, a sub-maqām of the ‘ushshāq maqām.

The Oriental Takht

The Oriental Takht

The ensemble surrounding the muṭrib in the Arab Mashriq is called takht. The word takht –of Persian origin– designates the stage or podium: a wooden platform slightly higher than the ground where the members of the ensemble sit. With time, takht became the title of the musical ensemble itself.

Al-Qaṣīda ‘Alā Al-Waḥda

Al-Qaṣīda ‘Alā Al-Waḥda

Al-qaṣīda ‘alā al-waḥda (on-the-beat / 4/4 rhythmic cycle) is a distinctive Nahḍa (Arabic Renaissance) form that appeared in the second half of the 19th century.

Min Al Tarikh

Min Al Tarikh

Ibrāhīm Sahlūn is an Arab musician and kamān player who contributed to the Arab musical Nahḍa that started with ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī and Muḥammad ‘Uthmān in Egypt in the second half of the 19th century.

Dawr Fi ElBuud Yama

Dawr Fi ElBuud Yama

Conceived by Mustafa Said, this third episode of Dawr Fi ElBuud Yama is part of the Sama‘ programme, a show that discusses our musical heritage through comparison and analysis