Andalusian classical music
Andalusian classical music (Arabic: طرب أندَلُسي, trans. ṭarab andalusi, Spanish: música andalusí) is a style of Arabic music found across North Africa mainly in Morocco, also in Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. It originates out of the music of Al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia) between the 9th and 15th centuries.
Andalusian classical music was allegedly born in the Emirate of Cordoba (Al-Andalus) in the 9th century. The Persian musician, residing in Iraq, Ziryâb (d. 857), who later became court musician of Abd al-Rahman II in Cordoba, is sometimes credited with its invention. Later, the poet, composer, and philosopher Ibn Bajjah (d. 1139) of Saragossa is said to have combined the style of Ziryâb with Western approaches to produce a wholly new style that spread across Iberia and North Africa.
By the 11th century, Muslim Iberia had become a center for the manufacture of instruments. These goods spread gradually to Provence, influencing French troubadours and trouveres and eventually reaching the rest of Europe. The English words lute, rebec, guitar, and naker derive from the Arabic oud, rabab, qithara and naqareh, although some Arabic terms had been derived from the Greek and other cultures.
The classical music of Andalusia, al-ala, reached North Africa via centuries of cultural exchange, the Almohad dynasty and then the Marinid dynasty and the Abd al-Wadid being in power both in Al-Andalus and North Africa (the Maghreb region).
In his book "Jews of Andalusia and the Maghreb" on the musical traditions in Jewish societies of North Africa, Haïm Zafani writes: "In the Maghreb, the Muslims and Jews have piously preserved the Spanish-Arabic music .... In Spain and Maghreb, Jews were ardent maintainers of Andalusian music and the zealous guardians of its old traditions ...."
The author also discusses a number of rare books related to Andalusian music, including a directory of Andalusian music written in 1786 by Al Haik (of Tetouan, Morocco), and a rare repertoire of songs of Granada and Cordoba printed in 1886/1887.
If the term Gharnati refers in the region of Tlemcen (West Algeria) to the entire directory of Andalusian scholars, in Morocco it designates a distinct musical style of the Andalusian in addition to the much larger directory of "Tab Al Ala" style as confirmed by the authors Rachid Aous and Mohammed Habib Samrakandi in their book Music of Algeria.
The North African cities have in particular inherited the Andalusian musical style of Granada, as mentioned in the book The Literature of Al-Andalus.
The Nuba of Morocco have been identified in the eighteenth century by the musician Al Haïk from Tetouan.
Ancient and classical.....
The music today
A suite form called the Andalusi nubah forms the basis of al-âla. Though it has roots in Andalusia, the modern nûba is probably a North African creation. Each nuba is dominated by one musical mode. It is said that there used to be twenty-four nuba linked to each hour of the day, but in Algeria there are only sixteen nuba and in Morocco eleven have survived, which together include 25 "Andalusian" modes. Each nuba is divided into five parts called mîzân, each with a corresponding rhythm. The rhythms occur in the following order in a complete nuba:
- basît (6/4)
- qâ'im wa nusf (8/4)
- btâyhî (8/4)
- darj (4/4)
- quddâm (3/4 or 6/8)
Unlike the nubat from Algeria or Tunisia, Moroccan nubat are long, so it is rare for a Moroccan nuba to be played in its entirety. Another distinction is that many Tunisian, Libyan, and Algerian nubat are considered as being of Turkish inspiration, whereas Moroccan nubat are free of this influence.
Andalusian classical music orchestras are spread across Maghreb, including the cities of:
- Morocco: Fez, Tetuan, Oujda, Rabat, Sala, Tanger, Chefchaouen, Casablanca, Essaouira, Safi, Sijilmasa, Ksar el-Kebir...
- Algeria: Tlemcen, Bejaia, Blida, Constantine, Oran, Koléa, Blida, Mostaganem...
- Tunisia: Tunis, Testour, and Kairouan.
- Libya: Tripoli
- Outside of the Maghreb exists the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra, that plays classical Andalusian music together with piyyutim from the tradition of Sephardi Jews.
They use instruments including oud (lute), rabab (rebec), darbouka (goblet drums), taarija (tambourine), qanún (zither), and kamancheh. More recently, other instruments have been added to the ensemble, including piano, contrabass, cello, and even banjos, saxophones, and clarinets, though these are rare.
Influence of Andalusian music
Andalusia was probably the main route of transmission of a number of Near-Eastern musical instruments used in classical music: the rebec (ancestor of the violin) from the rebab, the guitar from the qitara, and the naker from the naqareh. Further terms fell into disuse in Europe: adufe from al-duff, alboka from al-buq, anafil from al-nafir, exabeba from al-shabbaba (flute), atabal (bass drum) from al-tabl, atambal from al-tinbal, the balaban, sonajas de azófar from sunuj al-sufr, the conical bore wind instruments, the xelami from the sulami or fistula (flute or musical pipe), the shawm and dulzaina from the reed instruments zamr and al-zurna, the gaita from the rhaita, rackett from iraqya or iraqiyya, geige (German for violin) from ghichak, and the theorbo from the tarab.
One possible theory on the origins of the Western Solfège musical notation suggests that it may have had Arabic origins. It has been argued that the Solfège syllables (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti) may have been derived from the syllables of the Arabic solmization system Durr-i-Mufassal ("Separated Pearls") (dal, ra, mim, fa, sad, lam). This origin theory was first proposed by Meninski in his Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalum (1680) and then by Laborde in his Essai sur la Musique Ancienne et Moderne (1780), while more recent supporters include Henry George Farmer and Samuel D. Miller.
According to historic sources, William VIII brought to Poitiers hundreds of Muslim prisoners. Trend acknowledges that the troubadors derived their sense of form and the subject matter of their poetry from Andalusia. The hypothesis that the troubador tradition was created, more or less, by William after his experience of Moorish arts while fighting with the Reconquista in Spain was also championed by Ramón Menéndez Pidal in the early twentieth-century, but its origins go back to the Cinquecento and Giammaria Barbieri (died 1575) and Juan Andrés (died 1822). Meg Bogin, English translator of the female troubadors, also held this hypothesis. Certainly "a body of song of comparable intensity, profanity and eroticism [existed] in Arabic from the second half of the 9th century onwards."
- Haïm Zafrani (2002). Juifs d'Andalousie et du Maghreb. Références Maisonneuve et Larose. Maisonneuve & Larose. p. 228. ISBN 978-2-7068-1629-1.
- Rachid Aous; Mohammed Habib Samrakandi (2002). Musiques d'Algérie. Horizons maghrébins : le droit à la mémoire 47. Presses Univ. du Mirail. ISBN 978-2-85816-657-2.
- María Rosa Menocal; Raymond P. Scheindlin; Michael Anthony Sells (2000). The literature of Al-Andalus. Cambridge history of Arabic literature. 4 Arabic literature to the end of the Umayyad period (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-521-47159-6.
- Arab-Andalusian Music of Morocco during the Centuries / scientific publication of D. Eisenberg (Hispanic Journal of Philosophy 1988)
- (Farmer 1978, p. 137)
- (Farmer 1978, p. 140)
- (Farmer 1978, pp. 140–1)
- (Farmer 1978, p. 141)
- (Farmer 1978, p. 142)
- (Farmer 1978, p. 143)
- (Farmer 1978, p. 144)
- Farmer 1988, pp. 72–82
- Miller, Samuel D. (Autumn 1973), "Guido d'Arezzo: Medieval Musician and Educator", Journal of Research in Music Education 21 (3): 239–45, doi:10.2307/3345093, JSTOR 3345093
- M. Guettat (1980), La Musique classique du Maghreb (Paris: Sindbad).
- J. B. Trend (1965), Music of Spanish History to 1600 (New York: Krause Reprint)
- Bogin, Meg. The Women Troubadours. Scarborough: Paddington, 1976. ISBN 0-8467-0113-8.
- "Troubadour", Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie, London: Macmillan Press
- Farmer, Henry George (1978). Historical facts for the Arabian musical influence. Ayer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-405-08496-6.