Music of Saudi Arabia

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The music of Saudi Arabia includes both Western and traditional music. The most distinguished musician in recent Saudi history is Tariq Abdulhakeem, who composed hundreds of famous Saudi songs for himself as well as for other singers. Saraj Omar has become a very prominent composer after writing the music for the Saudi national anthem. In 1999, the 1st Arab Pioneers Festival, which was held in Cairo under the patronage of the Arab League, honored four of the lead composers in Saudi Arabia: Tariq Abdulhakeem, Ghazi Ali, Mohamed Abdu, Saudi Arabia's first pop star, and Talal Maddah, known as the "Sound of the Earth", who died in August 2000 while singing in the summer festival on the stage of Al-Muftaha Theatre in the southern region of Saudi Arabia. Of the same generation are the oud virtuoso Abadi al Johar, Rabeh Saqer and Abdul-Majeed Abdullah.

Cairo Capital city in Egypt

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC.

Arab League organisation of Arab states

The Arab League, formally the League of Arab States, is a regional organization of Arab states in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. Currently, the League has 22 members, but Syria's participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the Syrian Civil War.



Saudi traditional music is quite limited. However, the migratory lifestyle of the bedouin mitigated against carrying excess baggage, including musical instruments. Simple rhythms, with the beat counted by clapping or striking together everyday implements formed the basis of the music. Instruments like the double-reeded ney or the stringed rababa were sometimes used, after being obtained in cosmopolitan cities such as Jeddah.


The ney, is an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Middle Eastern music. In some of these musical traditions, it is the only wind instrument used. The ney has been played continuously for 4,500–5,000 years, making it one of the oldest musical instruments still in use.


The rebab is a type of a bowed string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East. The bowed variety often has a spike at the bottom to rest on the ground, and is thus called a spike fiddle in certain areas, but plucked versions like the kabuli rebab also exist.

Jeddah City in Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Jeddah is a city in the Tihamah region of the Hejaz on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest seaport on the Red Sea, and with a population of about four million people, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. Jeddah is Saudi Arabia's commercial capital.

However, music is considered "sinful" or "haram" by some Muslims, including Salah Al Budair who is the Imam of the Grand mosque in Medina. This is based in part on certain Ahadith which speak negatively of non-percussion musical instruments and the idea that music and art are distractions from God. Some Muslims also believe it is sinful for songs to make any mention of women and for women to be involved in the composition of music. [1] Particularly in the early days of the current Saudi state, religious authorities were quick to repress music other than the rhythmic percussion that still dominates contemporary Saudi music.

Salah Al Budair Imaam at Masjid al-Nabawi

Salah Bin Muhammad Al Budair is a former Imam of Masjid al-Haram, and a current Imam of the Grand Masjid in Madinah and a Judge of the High Court of Madinah.

Imam Islamic leadership position

Imam is an Islamic leadership position.

Samri is a popular traditional music and dance in Najd Region.

Samri is a folkloric music and dance native to Najd and common as a musical style in Khaliji music. It involves singing poetry while the daff drum is being played often while two rows of men, seated on the knees, sway and clap to the rhythm.

Omar Basaad was chosen as the best Saudi DJ and Electronic Dance Music Producer in 2012, by Saudi Gazette. [2] He became the first official Saudi EDM (Electronic Dance Music) producer to represent Saudi Arabia internationally. [3] [4] [5]

Etab was the first female singer from Saudi Arabia. [6]

Etab Saudi Arabian female singer

Etab was a pioneering Afro-Arab Saudi Arabian singer active from the 1960s to the 1990s. She was born Tarouf Abdel-Kheir Adam in Saudi Arabia, but moved to Egypt soon after her marriage in 1978; in 1983 she became an Egyptian citizen.


Ardah at Jenadriyah Jenadriyah 27 (12).JPG
Ardah at Jenadriyah


Ardah, a type of folkloric dance, is the most popular dance in Saudi Arabia. It is performed with two rows of men opposite of one another, each of whom may or may not be wielding a sword or cane, and is accompanied by drums and spoken poetry. [7]

Najdi ardah is the most common variant of ardah in Saudi Arabia. It is also the most practiced and highly televised male folkloric dance in the entire country. The Saudi government changed its name to 'Saudi ardah' in the 21st century. However, there are numerous variations of ardah distinct from Najdi ardah throughout the country, notably in the regions of Najran, Asir and Jizan. [8]

Rock/metal music

Rock and metal artists from Saudi Arabia include:

  • The AccoLade
  • Al-Namrood
  • Breeze of the Dying
  • Creative Waste
  • Crescent Light
  • Cribcaged
  • Deathless Anguish
  • Disturb the Balance
  • Final Serenade
  • Flesh Laceration
  • Forgotten
  • Grieving Age
  • Hed2Ground
  • Immortal Pain
  • Inversion
  • Mephisophilus
  • Myth
  • Octum
  • Outlive
  • PhiViper
  • Premonition
  • Rivers Running Red
  • Sandstoned (disbanded)
  • Sound of Ruby
  • The Empty Quarter
  • Wry Wreathe
  • Wasted Land

Music institutions

Pursuant to the order of the Saudi Crown Prince, the first music teaching institute was established in Riyadh in 2019. The Institute was launched by the Egyptian violinist Mahmoud Sorour. [9] Sorour plans to train around 50 violinists to enable them to perform in Jeddah opera house that is planned to be launched in 2022. [10]

Notes and references

  1. Salah Al Budair (23 March 2007). "Obsession with music". Gulf Times. Archived from the original on 26 July 2015.
  2. Nihal, Mariam (21 January 2013): "Applauding the best of Saudi entertainment", Saudi Gazette.
  3. Saeed, Saeed (16 August 2012): "Music and more at the next Sandance festival in Dubai", The National.
  4. Nihal, Mariam (21 January 2013): "Applauding the best of Saudi entertainment", Saudi Gazette.
  5. (10 September 2012): "Saudi EDM producer to perform in Dubai’s Sandance festivalt", Arab News.
  6. Hawash, Ali (21 August 2007). "First Female Saudi Singer Etab Dies at 66". Arab News. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  7. Urkevich, Lisa (19 December 2014). "5". Music and Traditions of the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar (Google Play). Routledge. p. 131/689. ISBN   978-0415888721.
  8. Urkevich, Lisa (19 December 2014). "5". Music and Traditions of the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar (Google Play). Routledge. p. 133/689. ISBN   978-0415888721.
  9. "Top Egypt musician sees bright future for a Saudi national orchestra". Arab News. 2019-03-04. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  10. "Top Egypt musician sees bright future for a Saudi national orchestra". Arab News. 2019-03-04. Retrieved 2019-03-04.

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