The masters of Qanum. This Episode of Orient Express is dedicated to a beautiful instrument: the Middle-Eastern classic board zither. The qanun is the most important instrument of classical music from Turkey, Egypt and many Arabian countries.
The word qanun litterally means ‘the law’ or ‘the rule’ in Arabic. The qanun is usually seen as the successor of the old Egyptian harp. A gentleman has presented it at the Ottoman court in Istanbul in the 18th century. It has taken the place of the equal santur, which is to be compared with the piano in the western culture. the qanun is as an instrument most suitable for all sorts of maqams (modi or Arabian-Turkish palettes).
We will be listening to some solo improvisations and rare recordings of some masters of the qanun from the 20th century: Yusif Za’rour and Abraham Salman (Iraq), Abdou Saleh (qanun player of the legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kolthoum) and the Egyptian Mouhammad Al-Aqqad. We finish with the modern Turkish master of this instrument: Halil Karduman.