Arabic Music and Its Blending with Westernization

Arab music is a lively and independent music system with several genres and classifications. There is everything from classical Arab music to Modern Arabic pop music, sacred and even secular musical forms. Arabic music has been influenced by several musical forms over the centuries imbibing musical forms from Muslims all over the world. The origin of this basic musical genre dates back to the period before Islam was established. The poets recited their poems at the choir and the job of singing was later entrusted with females who had wonderful voices. The compositions were in a single Maqam.

Maqam forms the base of Arabic music. The melody is built on a certain scale, and any kind of improvisation or musical composition had to be based on the Maqam system. This system had no rhythm system and was composed out of musical instruments. It was Al-Kindi who introduced a fifth string. There were instruments like lute drum, Oud, rebab etc. that were used to create Arabic music. The real Arabic names of these instruments were oud, rabab, urghun and nagqara.

Arab classical music is typically the Andalusian music played all over. The lyrics made use of pure Arabic or Andalusian dialect. The main instruments used were the oud, rebab and darbuqa. Aissawa is a form well known among the Sufi singers. It was Said Kissi who led the troupe. The Berber musical form used several different kinds of instruments inspired by African rhythms. The Gnawa people resided in present day Guinea Empire and their musical form was a good mix. Malhun genre was basically created by the craftsman guild. Khaleeji music is the Arabic music of the people in the Gulf Countries. Classical Arab music was loved profoundly for its long songs sung by virtuoso singers in heart rendering tunes and was initially begun as the female slaves sung for the wealthy, at weddings and at gaming parlors.

By late 1950's Arabic music started getting influence from western music especially with people like Abdel Halim Hafez. Sooner, Arabic Pop music was born where instruments and lyrics was Arabic, the song was of western style. This mix of Arab music with French, Italian and English styles came to be known as Franco-Arabic music genre. With westernization, the reggae, rap and R&B all started to make its impact on Arabic music genre. Classical Gnawa music was interlinked with R&B to create a new form known as Gnawitone Styla. Gnawa was even mixed with Reggae and some people like Darine dared to use full-fledged reggae and luske R&B beat even though it faced a few controversies.

Arabic jazz and Arabic rock has been the most popular modern Arabic music genres played in Beirut and other cities. Initially it began when electronica instruments were used by Arabic singers in the oriental style in their songs and was also known as oriental jazz. Rock music is world famous and Arabic pop singers tried to keep up with the trend my mixing hard rock optimally with Arabic traditional instruments. There are no complex melodies or polyphony involved in Arabic music making it one of the distinct musical forms of the world.