Masters of Egypt (part 2).
Egypt flourished between 1850-1900 and names like El-Sjeich El-Masloub (?-1923), Abdou Al-Hamouly (1841-1901), Mohammad Othman (1855-1900) en Daoud Husni (1870-1936) have contributed to the characteristic Egyptian music that has been of great influence to the Arabic version of the Middle Eastern tradition Maqâm.
One of the features of music from that period is the small ensembe ‘takht’ or ‘tècht’. A takht consists of a lead singer and a choir of 2-4 men accompanied by the qanun (a classic Arabic plank siter), and the ‘ud (Arabic lute), the ney (Arabic flute) and the riqq as percussion instrument. Another feature is the use of vocal and instrumental forms in certain maqâm (modi) that is played in one go in a Wasla (Suite). The Wasla is named after the modus, for example pieces in the modus Bayyati are called Wasla Bayyati. There is a lot of improvisation in a maqâm (modi). Heterophony is the third feature.
A typical Egyptian Wasla of this period contains:1- Samaaї (Semaї) or Basjraf (Pesjrev): an Ottoman instrumental prelude.
2- Taqasim: a traditional improvisation on a solo-instrument.
3- Muwwasjah: the word Muwwasjah indicates the poetic form as well as the musical form. This poetic form originally developed in the 11th century in Arabic Andalusia (south of Spain). The musical form in the Middle East was developed in the 18th century in the city Aleppo (Syria). The short poems are always sung collective and the complex rhythms are characteristic (9/8 – 10/4 – 16/4 -24/4 -14/4. enz)4- Layyali: a typical Egyptian prelude, a (non-metrical) singing improvisation with the words "Ya Leil… Ya Ain" (Oh night ..Oh eye, a methaphor for the sleepless nights) and Mawwal: a free singing form with a short poem in Egyptian dialect.5- Dawr (or dôr): the crown of the Egyptian singing forms between the 1860s and 1920s. This form starts off with a composed and defiant part in a certain modus, as the melody is slowly developed by the singer who has to show his talent in the exploration of different maqâms (modi).The singer is accompanied by a choir of 2-4 men.
6- Qasida Muwaqqa’aa or Mawzouna: the wasla can also end with a Qasida in stead of the dawr. Qasida Muwaqqa’aa or Mawzouna is a poem improvised by the singer in a certain maqâm in a simple 4/4 time.
For more information about different musical forms look at www.maqamworld.com
In two episodes we will listen to the last master who remained loyal to this tradition in Egypt Saleh Abdel-Hayy (1896 – 1962). With compositions of prominent 19th century muscians.
1. Wasla Rast (23:36), Taqasim on the ‘ud, Sema¿ Rast from the Ottoman repertoire (Tatyous Effendi), the song "Leh Ya Banafseg" composition of Riad El-Sunbati.
2. Sema¿ Rast from the Ottoman repertoire (Tatyous Effendi),Mawwal "Ya Hadi El-Eis" (15:00)
3. Modus HigazKar: Dulab (a short instrumental prelude), Layyali- Dawr "Asr Al-Hawa" composition by Daoud Husni (Cairo 1870 – 1936).
4. Bayyati: Dor "La Ya Ain" composition by Abdouh El-Hamouli (6:35).
5. Modus Saba: Dulab-Layyali-Dawr "Ad Ma-hibbak" composition by Mohamad Othman (13:35).
6. Several instrumental and vocal pieces (Muwwasjah’s en Qasida’s) from the Egyptian repertoire in Bayyati executed by the Lebanese ensemble Morkos (Harmonia Mundi cd HMCD83) (42:28)