Playlist:  Classical Arab Taqsims (Introduction to World Music: The Middle East) by Jenna Makowski, Alexander Street Press

In the world of classical Arab music, solo performances are governed by complex sets of rules and parameters. One form of such performances are taqsims, un-metered instrumental improvisations that have developed over the last century to highlight the virtuosity and creativity of musicians. They can be performed on the oud or other traditional Middle Eastern instruments. The tracks in this playlist introduce listeners to taqsims and core instruments of Arab music.
Format
Artwork
Title
Notes
Duration / Pages
Date added
 
Maqam Kurd
performed by Ali Jihad Racy and Simon Shaheen, 1955-; in Taqasim: Improvisations in Arab Music Ali Jihad Racy- Buzuq Simon Shaheen- Ud (Lyrichord, 2003), 20 mins  
Taqasim are non-metric instrumental improvisations. A taqsim is the purest expression of two important values in Arab music: individual interpretation and the linear development of melody. The basic element of Arab modal theory is the tetrachord, a series of intervals spanning the melodic range of a fourth. Tetrachords of different scales and pitches are combined to create maqam, or melodic modes, which are both scales and complex sets of rules for composition and performance. (Taqasim: Improvisation in Arab Music. Liner Notes. Lyrichord, 2003.)
20:26
26 Dec 2013
Maqam Nahawand
performed by Ali Jihad Racy and Simon Shaheen, 1955-; in Taqasim: Improvisations in Arab Music Ali Jihad Racy- Buzuq Simon Shaheen- Ud (Lyrichord, 2003), 13 mins  
The two instruments featured here are the oud and the buzuq, both plucked lutes. Listen for characteristics central to taqsim, including un-metered rhythmic structure, improvisation and ornamentation. (Taqasim: Improvisation in Arab Music. Liner Notes. Lyrichord, 2003.)
13:18
26 Dec 2013
'Ūd Solo
performed by Mamdouh El Gebaly, Mostafa Abd El Khalek, Mohammed Foda, Khaled Gomaa, Ibrahim Gomaa and Hesham El Araby; in The Music Of Islam, Vol. 1: Al-Qahirah, Classical Music Of Cairo, Egypt (Celestial Harmonies, 1998), 4 mins  
The taqsims, based on soloistic improvisation, were originally performed to link cycles of larger pieces, but have changed considerably in this century, becoming increasingly independent and distancing themselves from their original function. They have not only expanded in their role or capacity as a solo virtuoso, but have increasingly become an experimental field for artistic musical innovation. The basis for this taqsim is the Maqam suznak . (The Music of Islam, Vol. 1. Liner Notes. Celestial Harmonies, 1998.)
04:20
26 Dec 2013
Taqsim on the Nay
produced by Afif Alvarez Bulos, fl. 1961; in Melodies and Rhythms of Arabic Music (Folkways Records, 1981), 3 mins  
The nay is a reed instrument cut from simple cane, held vertically when played. (Melodies and Rhythms of Arabic Music. Liner Notes. Folkways Records, 1981.)
03:14
26 Dec 2013
Traditional Taqsim on the Qanoun
produced by Afif Alvarez Bulos, fl. 1961; in Melodies and Rhythms of Arabic Music (Folkways Records, 1981), 5 mins  
The qanoun is a flat, trapezoid instrument with 26 strings which are plucked with a plectrum made of horn, held in the player's lap. (Melodies and Rhythms of Arabic Music. Liner Notes. Folkways Records, 1981.)
05:25
26 Dec 2013
Delete playlist item?