The music of Syria may refer to musical traditions and practices in modern-day Syria (as opposed to Greater Syria), merging the habits of people who settled in Syria throughout its history. Syria was long one of the Arab world's centers for musical innovation in the field of classical Arab music, for example with the Qudud Halabiya.
Folk music of Syria is for the most part based on the oud, which is a stringed instrument considered to be the ancestor of the European lute, as well as the flute nay and hand-held percussion instruments, such as the darbouka, daf or riq. Other typical instruments are the qanun and kamanjah.In semi-Nomadic regions, Bedouin music which is based on the Mizmar, zurna and rababah is popular.
As in other countries, modern Syrian music notably contrasts its folk music. It uses an orchestra of mostly European instruments with one lead vocalist and sometimes a backup chorus.This type of music is very popular in the Middle East. Famous singers are Assala nasri , Farid al-Atrash, Fahd Ballan, Sabah Fakhri, Mayada El Hennawy and George Wassouf.
A typical Syrian classical genre is the Muwashshah that goes back to Medieval times. Performed by a lead singer or a choir, it consists of a classical form of Arabic poetry set to music. It usually consists of a multi-lined strophic verse poem written in classical Arabic, mostly consisting of five stanzas, which alternates with a refrain with a running rhyme. The muwashshah is usually opened with one or two lines matching the second part of the poem in rhyme and meter.
The city of Aleppo in Northern Syria is considered to be the centre of muwashshah.
Syria, being one of the countries where Christianity had originated, has a long history of church music. It is the origin of the Christian hymnody, which was entirely developed in Syria.And its style of chant, the Syrian chant which continues to be the liturgical music of some of the various Syrian Christians, is the oldest in the world.
There was formerly a distinctive tradition of Syrian Jewish religious music, which still flourishes in Syrian-Jewish communities around the world, such as New York City, Mexico City and Buenos Aires: see The Weekly Maqam, Baqashot and Pizmonim.
One of the most popular dances in Syria is the Dabkeh, a folk dance combining circle dancing and line dancing formed from right to left and headed by a leader which alternates between facing the audience and other dancers. It is mostly performed at weddings and other joyous occasions. Other popular folklore dances include the "Arāḍa" (Arabic : عراضة), a dance performed with swords, as well as oriental dance for women.
A song is a musical composition intended to be vocally performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition and variation of sections.
The tambourine is a musical instrument in the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zills". Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all. Tambourines are often used with regular percussion sets. They can be mounted, for example on a stand as part of a drum kit, or they can be held in the hand and played by tapping or hitting the instrument.
Moroccan music is characterized by its great diversity from one region to another, as well as according to different social groups. It is influenced by different musical styles including Amazigh, Andalusi, Arab, Mediterranean, Saharan, West African, and others.
Music has been an integral part of Egyptian culture since antiquity. The Bible documents the instruments played by the ancient Hebrews, all of which are correlated in Egyptian archaeology. Egyptian music probably had a significant impact on the development of ancient Greek music, and via the Greeks was important to early European music well into the Middle Ages. Egyptian modern music is considered as a main core of Middle Eastern and Oriental music as it has a very big influence on the region due to the popularity and huge influence of Egyptian Cinema and Music industries. The tonal structure of Oriental Middle Eastern music is defined by the maqamat, loosely similar to the Western modes, while the rhythm of Middle Eastern music is governed by the iqa'at, standard rhythmic modes formed by combinations of accented and unaccented beats and rests.
The music of Iraq or Iraqi music,, also known as the Music of Mesopotamia encompasses the music of a number of ethnic groups and musical genres. Ethnically, it includes Arabic music, Assyrian, Kurdish and the music of Turkmen, among others. Apart from the traditional music of these peoples, Iraqi music includes contemporary music styles such as pop, rock, soul and urban contemporary.
Arabic music or Arab music is the music of the Arab world with all its different music styles and genres. Arabic countries have many rich and varied styles of music and also many dialects; each country and some regions have their own traditional music.
Georgia has rich and still vibrant traditional music, which is primarily known as arguably the earliest polyphonic tradition of the Christian world. Situated on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia is also the home of a variety of urban singing styles with a mixture of native polyphony, Middle Eastern monophony and late European harmonic languages. Georgian performers are well represented in the world's leading opera troupes and concert stages.
The music of Djibouti refers to the musical styles, techniques and sounds of Djibouti. The first major form of modern Djiboutian music began in the mid-1940s, when Djibouti was a part of the French Somaliland. Djiboutian music is characterized by poetry, so that listening to a Djiboutian song is first paying attention to its meaning. The artist rocks the listeners in the cheerfulness of the refrains and the turn of the sentences. Often sung by a couple, a song is played in the form of a sleight of hand between a man and a woman, one recounting his feelings and his love, even his passion for the other, until the other accepts or rejects this offer.
Tunisia is a North African country with a predominantly Arabic-speaking population. The country is best known for malouf, a kind of music imported from Andalusia after the Spanish immigration in the 15th century. Though in its modern form, malouf is likely very dissimilar to any music played more than four centuries ago, it does have its roots in Spain and Portugal, and is closely related to genres with a similar history throughout North Africa, including malouf's Libyan cousin, Algerian gharnati and Moroccan ala or Andalusi. During the Ottoman era, malouf was influenced by Turkish music. However, Tunisian repertoires, styles and also instruments remain distinctive – the ʻūd tūnsī is an emblematic case. This is a close relative of the 'uds associated with Algeria and also Morocco.
Berber music refers to the musical traditions of the Berbers, an ethnic group native to the Maghreb, as well as parts of the Sahara, Nile Valley, West Africa. Berber music varies widely across North-West Africa and some of the best known varieties can be found in Moroccan music; Kabyle, Chawi and Gasba music from Algeria; and Tuareg from Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.
Muwashshah is the name for both an Arabic poetic form and a secular musical genre. The poetic form consists of a multi-lined strophic verse poem written in classical Arabic, usually consisting of five stanzas, alternating with a refrain with a running rhyme. It was customary to open with one or two lines which matched the second part of the poem in rhyme and meter; in North Africa poets ignore the strict rules of Arabic meter while the poets in the East follow them. The musical genre of the same name uses muwaššaḥ texts as lyrics, still in classical Arabic. This tradition can take two forms: the waṣla of Aleppo and the Andalusi nubah of the western part of the Arab world.
Sabah Abu Qaws, also known as Sabah Fakhri, is an iconic Syrian tenor singer from Aleppo.
Dabke is a native Levantine folk dance performed by the Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Turks and Egyptians in the Sinai Peninsula. Dabke combines circle dance and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions. The line forms from right to left and leader of the dabke heads the line, alternating between facing the audience and the other dancers. In English, it can be transcribed as dabka, dabki, dabkeh.
Pizmonim are traditional Jewish songs and melodies sung with the intention of praising God as well as learning certain aspects of traditional religious teachings. They are sung throughout religious rituals and festivities such as prayers, circumcisions, bar mitzvahs, weddings and other ceremonies.
Syria is a traditional society with a long cultural history. Importance is placed on family, religion, education and self-discipline and respect. The Syrian's taste for the traditional arts is expressed in dances such as the al-Samah, the Dabkeh in all their variations and the sword dance. Marriage ceremonies are occasions for the lively demonstration of folk customs.
This article describes the principal types of religious Jewish music from the days of the Temple to modern times.
Assyrian folk/pop music, also known as Assyrian folk music, Assyrian pop music or Syriac music, is the traditional musical style of the Assyrian people that includes a broad range of stylistic varieties, which would also encompass fusions of Western genres such as pop, electronic, Latin, jazz and/or classical music, with a melodic basis of Assyrian folk.
The Qudūd Ḥalabīya are traditional Syrian songs combining lyrics in Classical Arabic based on the poetry of Al-Andalus—particularly that in muwashshah form—with old religious melodies collected mainly by Aleppine musicians. Their themes are most often love, longing and spirituality.
Yemenite Jewish poetry, often referred to as "paraliturgical poetry" because of its religious nature, has been an integral part of Yemenite Jewish culture since time immemorial. The Jews of Yemen have preserved a well-defined singing arrangement which not only includes the very poetic creation itself, but also involves a vocal and dance performance, accompanied in certain villages outside Sana'a by drumming on an empty tin-can (tankah) or a copper plate. The Jews of Yemen, maintaining strict adherence to Talmudic and Maimonidean halakha, observed the gezeirah which prohibited playing musical instruments, and "instead of developing the playing of musical instruments, they perfected singing and rhythm." This arrangement was integrated into the walks of life familiar to the Jews of Yemen. The texts used in the arrangement were put down in writing and later included in separate song collections (dīwāns). The social strictures and norms in Yemenite Jewish culture provide for separate settings for men and for women, where the sexes are never mixed. Men’s song usually expressed the national aspirations of the Jewish people, and it was far removed from the singing associated with the Muslim environment, whereas folk songs of Jewish women were sung by rote memory and expressed the happiness and sorrows inherent in their daily life and was, as a rule, closer to that of Muslim women.
Oriental folk dances, also referred to as Middle-Eastern dance and Eastern dance, are the traditional folk dances of the peoples of the Arab world. oriental dance has many different styles, including the three main types of folklore, classical, and contemporary. It is enjoyed and implemented throughout the MENA region, from North Africa to the Middle East.