Music of Syria
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, the city of Aleppo is known for its muwashshah music, which was specially conceived to accompany Andalusian muwashshah poetry.
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 and lap-held drums, with little if any vocal accompaniment. In Nomadic regions, Bedouin music which is based on the Mizmar and Rebab is popular.
Modern Syrian music notably contrasts folk music. It uses an orchestra of mostly European instruments with one lead vocalists and a backup chorus. This type of music is widespread, especially among young people, including Farid al-Atrash, Fahd Ballan, Sabah Fakhri, Mayada El Hennawy and George Wassouf.
The Muwashshah music is a form of Arabic poetry. 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 which match the second part of the poem in rhyme and meter.
The Muwashshah is mostly popular in Aleppo.
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.
- Badley, Bill and Zein al Jundi. "Europe Meets Asia". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 391–395. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
- BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): Damascus. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): Islamic sufi in Aleppo. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Sephardic Pizmonim Project. Accessed March 10, 2018.