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Malhun or milhun (Arabic الملحون / ALA-LC: al-malḥūn), meaning "the melodic poem", is a traditional music from Maghreb that borrows its modes from the Andalusian music. It is a kind of urban, sung poetry that comes from the exclusively masculine working-class milieu of craftsmen's guilds.
The qasida of the malhun is based on two essential elements: the overtures preceding it and the parts of which it is composed. Aqsam (Arabic: الأقسام) verses sung solo interrupted by the harba refrain (meaning launch) (Arabic: الحربة). Harba, the origin of which goes back to the 16th century, is a refrain taken up between the verses by the sheddada (Arabic: الشدادة), a group of singers and instrumentalist-singers). Another refrain called dridka (Arabic: الدريدكة) is a simplified form of the harba, taking off from an accelerated rhythm to announce the end of a qassida.
The qasida however preserved the division of the text in stanzas as in the Andalusian song: the verse (ghson, meaning "branch") can include from eight to sixteen verses, a short refrain or harba offers an alternation which makes it possible to break the monotony of the musical discourse of the Malhoun song. This gave rise to the suruf, subsidiary procedures employed by singers to produce an even greater effect on the audience and above all to correct the rhythm. Abdelaziz al-Maghrawi (16th 17th centuries) created from "dān", a word that has no meaning, verses which were used as the basis for versewriting by Maghreb folk poets. (e.g. Dān dāni yā dāni dān dān yā dān).
Among the former authors of melhoun, there is Abdelaziz al-Maghrawi and Abderrahman El Majdoub (died 1568) who was famous for his mystical quatrains. In 18th and 19th centuries, Morocco knew a great number of poets who, from Fez, Meknes or Marrakech spread popular poetry who adopted the melhoun. Examples are Kaddour El Alamy and Thami Midaghri. In modern days, Haj Houcine Toulali (1924–1998) was the most prominent figure in the malhun music. The first woman who imposed herself in this style was late Moroccan singer Zohra Al Fassiya (1905-1994) .
- Music of Algeria
- Music of Morocco
- Andalusian classical music
- Omar Bouri
- Hassan Slimani (is the first singer in French of malhoun)