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The difference between Arabic and Western music.

Musical instruments. It is known that Arab musical instruments have their own characteristics. The qanun, oud, flute, rababa, and percussion instruments such as the tambourine, darbuka, rattle, etc., are purely Arab instruments, and we do not find anything similar to them in Western music. However, this does not deny the existence of instruments that are somewhat close to them. Rather, Even accepting to a large extent that most Western instruments are originally a development of Arab instruments (with some of them having non-Arab origins). The piano developed from the qanun through the harpsichord, and the guitar evolved from the oud, and there are others as well, but this development is not simple, rather it is a major development. Speaking of development, we find that Westerners

They set specific standards and standards for their Western instruments and developed sciences that study how to bring different musical instruments together and the appropriate emotional states for each instrument (automatic musical arrangement). Today, with the development of science and technology, electronic technologies are being used to analyze and develop the sounds of instruments, at a time when the Arab musical instrument industry lacks standards. And standards and the use of scientific methods and advanced technologies. There are no clear curricula for teaching Arabic instrumental music arrangement, and despite the heavy entry of Western musical instruments into Arabic music, their use remains primitive without scientific rules.

Therefore, it can be said in terms of musical instruments that Arab musical instruments have their own specificity, and that the development of Western instrumental music arrangement is much more advanced than that of Arabs today.
In terms of harmonic distribution, the difference is also large and well-known, and it is completely decided in favor of Western music, as there are many rules and a very long experience in using polyphony in Western music, whether in choral singing or playing, while in Arabic music there are a few experiments to add integrated harmonic distribution to... Most of the Arabic music is a failure, and most of the Arabic music we hear, whether classical Arabic or popular style, is very weak in terms of harmonic distribution.

In terms of musical scales, the matter is different. Without a doubt, Arabic musical scales are much richer than Western musical scales, and this is on the actual practical level. The Arab composer has a wide choice of maqams, which includes (in addition to Western scales, which can be considered just part of the Arabic maqam group) Hijaz tones and their derivatives. And the Kurds and what are called the quarters ladders, such as Al-Bayyat, Al-Rast, Al-Sikah, Al-Iraq, and Al-Saba

A peaceful comparison between the two musical styles. Here we must be aware of a widely circulated and incorrect piece of information that says that the difference between Arabic and Western scales is that Arabic uses what is called a quarter of a ton, or rather a distance of three-quarters of a ton, meaning that the distance between the two degrees of dukah and sikah, for example, is equal to three-quarters of the distance between the two degrees. Rh and mi in Western music are called tones, while in Western music there are only tones or half tones, and this information

It is false for several reasons, first because this is only part of the difference between Arabic maqams and Western maqams, and secondly because the three-quarter distance that is used today in Arabic music does not find its origin in manuscript Arabic music studies until the sixteenth century (nor after that, as we do not find any music studies More recently, until the nineteenth century), we only find a position on the trigger of the oud instrument called “middle zalzal”, meaning the position of the middle finger on the trigger of the oud used by the musician “zalzal”, but this position was not used in the scales that today are called quarter scales, such as the rast, the bayat, and the kurd. And thirdly, because many Arab musicologists in the twentieth century rejected the idea of the existence of this distance, as they considered it impure, but unfortunately custom still prevails over science in our culture.

Also, in terms of musical scales (and this is the most important difference), we find that Western musical scales are modified, that is, the positions of the degrees in them were changed slightly so that the distances became all multiples of half a ton, and this happened more than three hundred years ago, while in Arabic music modification
Mahmoud Shaker
By : Mahmoud Shaker
Mahmoud Shaker is a professional journalist since 2019, a media graduate from Dubai University, a technology expert, a media consultant and a member of the International Organization of Journalists - a member of the fact-checking team at Meta Company. He writes in the fields of entertainment, art, science and technology, and believes that the pen can change everything

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