Friday, July 27, 2007

Eastern Notes

On Monday evening Oldest Daughter joined fellow violin ensemble musicians to perform a few Arabic pieces; I thought you might enjoy hearing some Arabic violin music so I'm posting these clips:

The first piece, "Khawatir" was written by Mohammed Othman Sidiq, who is accompanying on the piano (also the conductor of the Amman Symphony Orchestra). The lead violinist is improvising when he plays his "solo" within the piece. I asked Oldest Daughter what gives Arabic music its distinctive melody. She explained that Middle Eastern music uses quarter tones, as well as the half tones and full tones of traditional Western music. (For the musically uninformed, like myself, a half tone would be the musical distance between a white key, say "F", and a black key, F#, on the piano.)

And, if you enjoyed the first clip and would like to experience more Arabic music, you may enjoy this next piece, performed by one of the Arabic ensembles of the National Music Conservatory. Instruments played, in addition to the violin are, left to right: the oud, the qanuun, and the tabli, raq, and daf (hand drum, flat drum, and tamborine). The piece begins with three+ minute improvisation on the violin and ends with an impressive three instrument percussion improvision.

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