Music Appreciation

What is that instrument that I hear? The Mizmar

The Mizmar is a traditional Middle Eastern instrument found in Egypt, the Levant, Turkey and North Africa known for its unique sound. It is also known by a few other names with slight variation in style and materials, the “zurna” in Turkish, the “zamr” in the Levant, and “rhaita” in Morocco.  

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Songs Every Bally Dancer Should Know

Listen to over 130 samples of essential belly dance music! To enjoy the full song FREE, install the Spotify app on your device or computer. Click here to go directly to the playlist in Spotify Tips To Find Exactly What You Are Looking For Song Title Spellings Most of these song titles are transliterated from another language like Arabic, Turkish, or Greek. When you are searching for music try spelling it in different ways that sound similar. For instance, the…

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Music Appreciation: Egyptian Instruments

When you first start learning Egyptian Oriental dance and begin to piece together a belly dance music collection, you are bombarded (understandably) by sounds that you’ve never heard, by instruments you don’t know, with lyrics you can’t understand. Learning about Arabic music, in this case Egyptian, can feel like an uphill battle and if it weren’t for the “call of the drums” many of us would give up on getting familiar with it all together. However, with a little immersion, you…

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Singer Spotlight: Abdel Halim Hafez

Abdel Halim Hafez is one of Egypt’s greatest singers. Almost 60 years later, we are still using some of his most popular tunes in our performances. Some of his songs were quite long, over an hour in length, and we are most familiar with them as individual movements of the same song. Here is my top 10 list of songs performed by him. Where possible, I will post the full and shorter versions.   Note: You will be able to find…

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Khaleegi: Better Understanding the Arabian Gulf’s Thobe Dance & Music

For several weeks now, I have been introducing Khaleegi (Arabian Gulf) movement, more specifically Saudi, to my students. To help students better understand the thobe (nasha’al) dance with its lovely footwork and hair tosses, as well as to give them a better idea of different musical styles of the region, I have created a few YouTube playlists for you to explore the rich dance and music traditions of the Arabian Gulf. For many years, dancers and researches from outside this…

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Where to Find Belly Dance Music Guide

Many different styles of music are available for belly dance performance and practice. Most countries, regions and specific tribes or ethnic groups in the Middle East and North Africa have a particular style of music that is unique to them based on rhythms used, instrumentation, and other factors. The most important thing – is to find music that moves you! Local retail Middle Eastern Stores/Shops: If you have a local Middle Eastern food store or gift shop, frequently these places will…

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Our first percussion instrument in this series is the riqq (pronounced “rick”). Its a type of tambourine common in Arabic music. It traditionally has a wooden frame (although in the modern era it may also be made of metal), jingling metal discs, and a thin, translucent head made of fish or goat skin (or, more recently, a synthetic material).

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The arghul is a woodwind instrument, said to originate from Egypt. We hear it in a lot of the music of the Mid-East region. It’s got two pipes, one shorter, one longer. The smaller pipe is the one that contains the fingering holes. Enjoy!

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