Introduction to World Music: Lecture 35 – Music of the Arab World

Feb 28, 2024

Introduction to World Music: Lecture 35 – Music of the Arab World

Objective: Write an essay (600 words) about this video. You should get started with your reading and have your PDFs and Study Guides (under CONTENT) next to you since the video lecture covers the same materials. This is the continuation of Module 3

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Instructions to watch: Go to YouTube and watch this video lecture:  Introduction to World Music: Lecture 35 – Music of the Arab World iii
Instructions to submit your essay:
 Go to Bb (Blackboard)
 Go to Assignments and Exams
 Go to Write Submission
 Copy and paste your essay there
 Attach a WORD document to your submission
 Finally, press Submit.
Some advice:
 Do not plagiarize from the web or other students
 Write essays following the conventions of college English


The rabab fiddle is used as an accompaniment in the Abenamar track, Egypt track, and in the spoken text conveying blessings to Prophet Mohammed. It is also used in other cultures in Indonesia and China. There is a theory called formulae composition in which small moleic formulas get repeated and used in different scales and formats. They get passed from song to song, relying on these small formulas that they then plug into various songs. The theory explains how this tradition has continued over the years.

The Ud Taqasim excerpt shows how the theory of formulaic composition is used to construct improvisations. The players use the little moleic formulas in their minds that they played for years and string them together in different ways so that no two performances would be the same, but they rely on these little formulas that they have used for a long time. The Uighurs are the largest minority group (about 9 million) living in China, despite political controversies regarding their settlement. With the music of the Uighur people, they have an instrument called a dap. The dap has “dum-tok” sounds and jingles made of key chains.

The Uighurs also have a decorated item with a wide variety of Uighur instruments, mostly string. The
whole thing is set up on a dap with the same critical chains around the outside. In Xinxiang province in China, there is a lot of music. The ancient Silk Road that passed through the Middle East to China was a significant influence in bringing musical instruments to china through trade and other purposes. Uighur music has 12 famous songs called muqam. Performers in the Uighur muqam follow improvised tradition. Singers make use of their voices as if screaming their heads off as a way to express their feelings in their natural environment,

Traditional music has been managed through commercialism and government control. Traditionally, it was considered a great honor for a composer to borrow your music and write something independently. This changed when money came in 1909, and the capi law was introduced. Sound recording was embraced, and stealing somebody else’s music became a big issue. Brandson’s phenomenon has a commercial twist where country music artists use vocal slides to create emotion. Another example of how commercial music affects traditional music is how artists take their music and make a market for it.

Hulusi is a musical instrument used in such a way that the player plays the song, but behind it is a synthesized accompaniment along with bass and drums. They feel they can’t sell the CDs to westerners unless there is a western beat and western style accompaniment. In this way, they have tried to tailor the folk music towards the audience where they think they can sell them; thus, they have managed traditionalism for commercial reasons. The listener should be aware that even if they like the music better, having the accompaniments and the drums behind the hulusi, the fact is that it is not in its original form because it has been changed from its original format.

The government has control of music in some way. The Deezer, for example, was initially played by people who were not so high in the social chain. With new power in 1949, the Deezer was promoted as an instrument of great culture, and the players were raised to a higher level. Professor Fredrick Lau did a dissertation on the music of the Deezer. He says that most of the literature we hear on the Deezer has been written in an old style by composers since 1949. In this way, the music is not original, which explains how the government has affected traditional music.

Another Chinese scholar, Patricia Shihang, says there is a difference between the word authentic and the word traditional. In her definition, the new Deezer literature is traditional but not necessarily authentic. The music is violated because it is not authentic and has been managed in some way. Another example of how the government has managed traditionalism is in the composition of the Bazzlian chapter, in which music was brought to the studio and cleaned up. Bulgarian women’s chorus radio choir also contains managed traditionalism.

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