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Inside Arabic Music


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Melodic Instruments 2 Arabized Instruments 3 Percussion Instruments 4 Ensembles 5 Ornamentation 6 Rhythm 7 A Sampling of Arabic Iqa'at 8 Song Forms 9 Instrumental Forms 10 Arrangement 11 Tuning System 12 Notation 13 The Jins 14 The Most Common Ajnas 15 Less Common Ajnas 16 Newly Classified Ajnas 17 The Maqam 18 The Maqam Scale 19 Modulation 20 Sayr 21 The Taqsim 22 Vocal Improvisation 23 Tarab 24 Maqam Index

About the Author

Johnny Farraj is a Lebanese-born musician and software engineer of Palestinian descent. His main instrument is the riqq; he also plays the 'ud and sings. Farraj is the creator of MaqamWorld, the leading Internet reference on Arabic music theory, and is a frequent Arabic music blogger, teacher and performer, as well as a lifelong listener. Sami Abu Shumays is a Palestinian-American musician, arts administrator, and independent scholar, who traveled to Cairo and Aleppo to immerse himself in Arabic Music. After returning to the U.S., he began performing and teaching, founded Zikrayat ensemble, and developed the pedagogical website Maqam lessons. He is currently Deputy Director of Flushing Town Hall, an arts presenter in Queens, NY.


"The scope of content that might have produced two volumes is densely packed within one highly readable book, making Inside Arabic Music an indispensable vade mecum for the English-speaking scholar, educator, musician, or enthusiast." -- Journal of Folklore Research "Inside Arabic Music is a landmark piece of literature for countless students of Arabic music such as myself, and I cannot recommend this work highly enough to those who wish to become more immersed in Arabic music. I have no doubt that Inside Arabic Music will become a cornerstone of education for lovers and performers of Arabic music, and it deserves a prized place in every enthusiast's collection." -- Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs "It is the greatest and most comprehensive source of information regarding Arabic music currently out there...Farraj and Abu Shumays, while focusing on exploring Arabic music, have actually shed light on Arabic culture as a whole. It is a culture based on community and social interaction. It is one which greatly appreciates and cultivates art, especially music as it is a means for social gatherings to occur. While Arabic culture may seem overwhelming to those outside of it, its spontaneous nature comes from a sense of inclusion and enjoyment." -- Naim Mousa, Mondoweiss "Inside Arab Music [is] an essential starting point for anyone hoping to deepen their understanding of any music from the region. [...] Johnny Farraj and Sami Abu Shumays thoughtfully provide plentiful suggestions of recordings to help your ears understand concepts that your brain may struggle with." -- Songlines

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