Samai (plural Sama'iyyat)
Samai is a composed genre comprised of four sections (khana,
plural khanat), each followed by the refrain (taslim).
samai composition demonstrates the 10/8 rhythmic mode (called
samai thaqil) followed throughout the taslim and
the first 3 khanat. The 4th khana, which precedes the last
statement of the refrain, is typically composed in a 3/4
or 6/4 rhythm, called Samai Darij. Some contemporary composers
display a 5/8, 7/8 or 9/8 rhythm in the 4th khana.
first three khanat of the Samai consist of 4 to 6 measures.
The last (4th) khana varies from 6 to 24 measures.
the first khana in the Samai displays the selected maqam
in a stepwise motion. It is usually played in the lower
tetrachord (jins) of the maqam. The second khana shows a
modulation to a related maqam. In the third khana the melodic
range expands and reaches the higher tetrachord of the maqam.
Samai Bayati - Ibrahim Al Aryan (Egypt)
Tahmila (plural Tahamil)
dance form performed by the takht, which generally follows
a simple 2/4 or 4/4 rhythm in moderate tempo.
tahmila is a 2 part form: the first form is similar to the
doulab. It consists of short motives
which expose the maqam. The second part incorporates short
improvisational solos which alternate with precomposed ensemble
refrains in a call and response fashion. Generally the call
is an improvised section which is played by the soloist
and consists of 2 measures. It is followed by a response
of equal length that is played by the ensemble.
this structure the soloist plays an improvised variation
in each call after the takht responds
with the same musical phrase played after the first call.
These variations could go through modulations related to
the given maqam of the Tahmila, or modulations to related
maqamat using the different degrees of the original maqam
as new tonalities.
tahmila ends with a repetition of the first opening part.
Example: Tahmilah Suznak - (traditional)
Muwashah (plural Muwashahat)
Muwashah is a strophic song that originated in Al-Andalus
(the medieval Iberian peninsula - present day Spain and
Portugal). The melody and the structure of the muwashah
vary in sophistication. It is performed by a chorus alternating
with a soloist who is accompanied by a takht.
The muwashah is often composed using a complex rhythmic
mode, or iqaa. The lyrics in a muwashah are written
in classical Arabic (fus'ha) as opposed to colloquial or
regional Arabic ('ammiyyah), and often deal with the subject
of love (unrequited love), or wine used as a metaphor for
religious intoxication (common in Sufism).
Example: Imlalil Aqdaaha Sirfan
Mawwal (plural Mawawil)
Mawwal is a non-metric vocal improvisation on a colloquial
poetry text of 4 to 7 lines. It can be sung with an instrumental
accompaniment (usually a qanun or oud) or without, and is
used as a means to demonstrate the singer's virtuosity.
The singer has complete freedom to modulate to different
maqamat. During a mawwal the accompanying musicians follow
the singer's lead, and summarize each phrase after the singer
has performed it (called tarjama, literally translation).
The mawwal is often preceded by a doulab
or a short taqsim to introduce the
Qadd (plural Qudud)
Qadd is a popular song genre that originated in the city
of Aleppo, Syria. Qudud are also called Qudud Halabiyyah
(from Aleppo). The Qadd is light in character, makes use
of refrains, and is simple in structure and melody. Although
the text in the qudud deals mostly with love, they were
originally composed as religious songs.
Wasla (plural Waslat)
Wasla (literally "extension") is a multisectional
form consisting of several related instrumental and vocal
compositions. the wasla ghina'iyyah (vocal suite) could
include a combination of any of the above genres. All songs
or tunes in the wasla, however, should be in the same maqam.
Bashraf (plural Basharef)
composed genre comprised of 4 sections (khana, plural
khanat), each followed by a refrain (taslim).
The name comes from Persian peshrev, which means
"that which precedes", because a Bashraf is usually
played as an opening composition in a suite (or Fasl in
the composition, the Bashraf follows one rhythmic mode,
such as: Dawr al kabir (28/4), Shanbar (24/4), Al-Fakhitah
(20/4), Mukhammas (16/4) and darij 93/4).
the 4 khanat and the taslim of a Bashraf consist of 2-3
measures (cycles). the taslim can also consist of one cycle.
first khana and the taslim display the selected maqam in
a stepwise motion. A modulation to a related maqam occurs
in the second khana. In the third, the melodic range expands
and reaches the higher diwan of the maqam. generally the
fourth khana displays the lower diwan of the selected maqam,
as a sort of relief.
Example: Bashraf Farahfaza - Ismail Haqqi Bey
Longa (plural Longas)
lively dance form usually in simple 2/4 meter (called fox).
The Longa is a Turkish / Eastern European style that made
it into Arabic music. It consists of two to four couplets
(khanat) which follow a rondo like-like format with
a recurring passage or refrain (taslim). Generally
each khana and taslim consists of 8-16 measures, mainly
in 2/4, except for the last which occasionally follows the
3/4 Samai Darij meter. Very common maqams for longas are
Hijaz-kar and its transpositions.
Example: Longa Farahfaza - Riyadh El Sunbati (Egypt)
is an instrumental composition performed by an ensemble
large than the traditional takht.
In general it incorporates melodic themes and rhythmic patterns
found in rural vocal and instrumental folk and dance music.
Those themes are developed into new diverse musical sections,
with or without repeated refrain.
first, in the sense of melodic distribution between a solo
instrument and orchestra. Second in the sense of rhythmic
counterpointal figures using heterophony at times; change
of rhythm with each new melodic section; melodic complexity
in the musical phrases (length, accidentals, leaps, modulation).
to the Saltanah (reaching musical ecstasy through individual
virtuosity) element found in traditional instrumental forms,
the Maqtou'a is expressional (ta'biriyyah).
Example: Dhikrayati - Mohammad El Qassabgi (Egypt)
Qasida (plural Qasa'id)
Qasida (literally a classical Arabic poem) is a song whose
text is written in classical Arabic (fus'ha). It is performed
by a solo vocalist accompanied by a takht.
The qasida is composed to a simple rhythmic mode, or iqaa,
usually wahdah. The subject of the lyrics is most often
love, but could also be patriotism, death, or other themes.
Dawr (plural Adwar)
Dawr is a vocal genre sung in colloquial or regional Arabic
('ammiyyah), and was developed in 19th century Egypt. It
includes 2 sections, madh'hab (chorus, or refrain)
and ghusn (branch, or verse), the latter being characterized
by choral responses to the soloist's ornamented improvisation
on the syllable "ah". Only simple rhythmic modes
are used in the dawr. the dawr usually starts with a doulab.
Taqsim (plural Taqasim)
Taqsim is an instrumental improvisation, which could be
metric or non-metric. The taqsim is usually performed solo,
but could also be accompanied by a percussionist or an instrumentalist
playing only a drone. the taqsim is an impromptu musical
composition where the soloist extemporized a piece using
the maqam as a vehicle while abiding by a certain set of
rules particular to that maqam. A taqsim usually includes
a number of modulations to
other related maqamat.
Doulab (plural Dawalib)
doulab (literally "wheel") An introductory short
instrumental composition. The doulab sets the mood of a
maqam, and is intended to reveal its special character such
as its intervallic structure and the emotions attached to