arab influence on spanish music

Ann Arbor: The. A 13th century Arab author, Zakariya al-Qazwini, describing a village he visited in Muslim Spain, wrote that almost every inhabitant was interested in literature and music and many peasants were capable of improvising poetry and song. He was steeped in the knowledge of refined music and established a conservatory of music in Cordova with his daughter as its head – the first in Europe. Later Arabic was abandoned for the languages of southern Europe but the Arabic format remained. Near Jaén, the pottery of Úbeda is well known for its handsome ewers and in the province of Malaga, the clay artisans are famous for their Barros Malagueños, small figurines representing popular scenes and characters. Arab merchants from Seville were found in that part of continent, selling their well-made instruments, many of which can still be seen in historic Spanish paintings. He was steeped in the knowledge of refined music and established a conservatory of music in Cordova – the first in Europe. After the reconquista of the 16th century, the polyphonic singing style, featuring complementing voices, developed probably through contact with Spain's northern neighbors France and Flanders. The parades and street celebrations in the cities of modern Andalusia are only a continuation of the traditions set by the Moors many centuries ago. Besides its name, the flamenco dance itself, accompanied by the penetrating Moorish tunes of the cante jondo and with its rhythms separated by slight pauses, is of Arab origin. Longwood Press, Portland, Maine, 1976. Flamenco, form of song, dance, and instrumental (mostly guitar) music commonly associated with the Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) of southern Spain. Each of Arab Spain’s city states became noted for excelling in one or the other of the arts, but Seville outshone them all. Never did a dance before or after affect to such a degree my very being. The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. From the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabs brought their mawwals and qasidas (deep songs and epic poems), elements that were absorbed into the flamenco songs. Approximately 4,000 Spanish words are Arabic in origin, or eight percent of the Spanish dictionary. Well might the church leaders have feared Arab music and song for even in the Christian religion the Arab influence was to leave its mark. As well, their entertainers were in demand in the courts of the king and nobles of the land. However, the best was yet to come. The kings of Granada, Valencia, Saragossa, Toledo, Malaga, Seville and others vied with each other as patrons of learning. The Art of Flamenco. Imamuddin, S.M. To know how and when the Arabs influenced Spanish and through Spanish other western music, we must begin in the cities and towns of Arabia before the advent of Islam. The muwashshahat were written and sung in classical Arabic but the last verse always ended with two or four lines written in the Romance or the aljamiado language of the Christians and summarised the entire meaning of the poem. Pohren, D.E. He was a marvellous entertainer and enchanted the court of Cordova for years with his wit, music and song. In the cantigas de Santa María compiled by Alfonso the Wise, the musical form of the zajal is clearly evident. Although now sung in Spanish, there is no doubt that its origins go back to the Arabic songs of the Moors. Some historians indicate that this epithet was likely applied to Andalusian persecuted farmers who fled to the mountains. Man is dependent on the fate as determined by God and is powerless in controlling many of life’s events. Even today, many Spanish place names retain Arabic roots. And all this time there had been no sound of a human voice. The Arab music brought to Spain by Ziryab had borrowed much from the music and song of the neighbouring countries and then developed into the distinctive melodies of the Arab East. The zajal was the colloquial form of the muwashshahat, written and sung in vulgar Arabic. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1973. : it is of pure Arab origin. These musicians, poets and singers were the pathfinders of their era. The romerias, celebrations held near Christian shrines and still seen in modern Spain, were originally visits to the shrines of Muslim holy men that were passed from the Moorish to the Christian communities. Arabic countries have many rich and varied styles of music and also many linguistic dialects , with each country and region having their own traditional music . Yet, even in this modern version, it was an inspiring extrava­ganza – an exhibition of moving entertainment. All four components of the flamenco: cante (singing), bail (dancing), toque (guitar), and jaleo (rhythm accentuation and reciting) have been greatly influenced by the Moors – a term for the Muslim Arabs and Berbers who inhabited Spain. Today, the old Arab embossing techniques are still in use. But the haunting melodies of Arab music were not lost. No less important is what the Arabs left in the handicrafts of the country. Adams, Nicholson B. The guitar, to whose music the singers and dancers perform, is the qithara of the Arabs. Handmade iron products, mostly inherited from the Moors, are produced in a number of urban centres in western Andalusia and in some of the towns around Jaén; and marquetry, an important skill in Granada when the star of Al-Andalus shone brightly, offers tourists exquisite inlaid boxes, chairs, chess sets, tables and trays – the same handmade products still made in today’s Damascus. From the very beginning, these entertainers, not only sung Arabic poetry in its authentic and sentimental state but also, in its method and construction. Besides the extremely important Arab contribution to Europe of measured music there were other contributions in related fields. The zajal and muwashshahat type of verse and song were the most famous. The poetry and music of the zajal and muwashshahat also gave rise to the troubadours, from the Arabic tariba – to sing. We can see the monuments of these peoples all over Andalucia, an amalgamation of the various countries and cultures of the Mediterranean as a whole with their diverse designs and ideas coming to fruition. She sang and sang, and I, hidden above, could watch without being seen. Al-Mu’tamid, the greatest of the ‘Abbadids, made his court hospitable to poets and literary men and women. Source: CNN X1X, Number 1, Jan. 1975. As the Christian population accepted the lyric models of the Muslims, Arab songs grew more popular throughout the peninsula. Nevertheless, as to its name and origin it is a different story. In the later centuries, the Arabs of the east held on to their own traditional music and song while in North Africa and Spain the Arab/Andalusian melodies took root. Under this culture-oriented dynasty, poetry, music and singing reached dazzling heights. According to Ann Livermore in A Short History of Spanish Music, the peasants as they gather the olives for which Spain is renowned, sing songs which still carry Arab rhythms and the esquileos, shearing songs, are even today sung in the Arabic scale. Andalus: Spain Under the Muslims. Chejne, A.G., Muslim Spain – Its History and Culture. There is no doubt that the music of the West is saturated with the rhythms of Arab melodies and the future will reveal much of that which is now hidden. From that point on, the Catholic Church began its heavy influence on Spanish politics, history, customs and … No different than the captivating cry of a Bedouin singing a mawwal (emotional ballad) in the open desert, it gave me a feeling of exhilaration. The conquered Muslims, until the first part of the 16th century, were allowed to have their music-filled evenings while their entertainers were in demand in the courts of the king and nobles of the land. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1980. When, during a performance, these components are perfectly combined a masterpiece which defuses an aura of the magical East is produced. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1976. Western scholars have for many centuries refused to admit that the Arabs contributed greatly to the melodies and dances of Europe. The zajal and muwashshahat type of verse and song were the most famous, the creation of the muwashshah attributed to Muqaddam ibn Mu’afa al-Qabri (born in Cabra near Cordova – d.circa 900). The centuries have not eroded his fame but rather solidified his greatness. Beautifully costumed, their tight-bodice multi-coloured dresses flaring at the hips and covering their legs with countless ruffles matched the carnations in their hair. Then it began increasing slowly in volume. Indeed, the Arab influence in the field of classical music has been barely researched. It is also clear to hear for example in the works from Isaac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla and Joaquín Rodrigo. As I travelled through that beautiful and charming land, I could see the vestiges of the Arabs infused in and connected to almost every facet of life there. Throughout the ranks of the travelling public in the Western world the name of Spain, especially Andalusia, is synonymous with dark haired beauties, flowers, splendid processions, light-hearted gaiety, the halo of enchanted patios and romance. However, in the last few decades, throughout Andalusia, especially in Córdoba, recovery of handicraft skills from the period of the caliphs is in full swing. Today, in Egypt and Lebanon, zajal continues to be a popular folk art. The canas, jaleo, polos, and tiranas of the flamenco; the zarabanda danced in Spain during the 16th century; the zorongo dance with its Andalusian music; the jota from the Arabic khata (to step); the sequidillas; the fandango; the folias; the sevillanas; and the bulerias, all have been influenced to some extent by the music, song and dance of the Moors. Contrary to stereotypical western belief, Arabia was not simply a land of barren deserts, but rather a region where towns and cities flourished. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1943. al-Faruqi, L.I. He arrived in Andalusia in 82l A.D. directly from the court of Baghdad. The influence results mainly from the large number of Arabic loanwords and derivations in Spanish, plus a few other less obvious effects. The jaleo, which is another intricate component of the flamenco, has a strong connection with the Arabs living in the countries edging the Arabian Gulf. After the Muslim defeat in Spain, their music was not lost. According to Professor H.G. Turning, twisting and leaping up in a provocative fashion, they stirred then inflamed my inner emotions. It is said that Spanish flamenco dancing was influenced by the rhythms of Arab music. It is as if the Al-Andalus of the Arabs continues to live on. A year earlier, I had been in Damascus, Syria’s capital, and seen the same goods being inlaid, virtually in identical fashion. Almost a decade later in the same establishment in Seville, remembering that exciting evening, I felt a surge of joy and anticipation as I waited for the flamenco show to begin. In Moorish Spain it was later modified by Greek music and song giving birth to the Arab-Andalusian … In The Heritage of Spain, Nicholson B. Adams writes about this music-­loving city. The Moorish culture has left a mark not only on the Spanish language, but also on the customs, art, and culture found across the Iberian Peninsula. The voice of the singer seemed to hypnotize his audience into a state of ecstasy. The finest example of this is when it comes to Spanish music and dance. Seville rang with song and music. In that age even the churchmen were delighted with Moorish song and dance. Perhaps the easiest way to see this influence in Spanish is in the simple words spoken every day. Ubrique, besides being noted for its Flamenco Festival, is also a town where numerous handmade leather products are produced; saddle and harness making are an important industry in Seville, Carmona and Eija; and Villalba del Acor, along with a number of neighbouring towns, is famed for their tobacco pouches and gun cases. London/New York: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1961. The talents of the well-trained Moorish musicians and singers were known throughout all of southern Europe. A number of music historians have written that the passionate songs of the flamenco are only the ancient religious chants and lyrics of the Middle East. In the spring months, when the cities of Andalusia are filled with colourful religious parades, the sad and wavering laments of the saeta punctuates these processions. In Moorish Spain lovers would serenade with their ‘ud the objects of their love. He was also an accomplished singer who accompanied himself on the ‘ud and composed poetry, especially to his queen, I’timad, with whom he was infatuated all of his life. O’Callaghan, J .F. To express their suffering these fugitives developed the cante jondo (deep song), the original heart of the dance. How will it end?’ Scarcely was the question asked before there came the sound of a woman’s voice, clear and beautiful. The guitar, to whose music the singers and dancers perform, is the qithara of the Arabs. Brill, 1965. One can easily hear and see the similarities if one listens to the mawwals of the Arab East, or as some scholars have indicated, to the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer, and if one observes the Berber dances of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. “In the 11th century, when visiting Malaga, Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Yamani became sick. “Muwashsha : A Vocal Form in Islamic Culture”, Ethnomusicology, Vol. In the Córdoba of the caliphs, choice leather goods were the city’s trademark. Most typical of this area in southern Spain are the blues and greens used in stylized drawings of birds, flowers and pomegranates. ), rifirrafe                        rafrafah                      squabble or fight, zalagarda                    zaghradah                  racket or noisy, zambra                       samar                          din or uproar, zaragata                     zaghradah                 brawl or quarrel. Closely associated with the haunting music of the Arabs are the fiery, dances of Spain the most well-known being the flamenco. PROVO, Utah (Mar. London: Oxford University Press, Vol. Later Arabic was abandoned for the languages of southern Europe, but the Arabic format remained. Read, J. This method was taken over by the conquering Spaniards then passed on to the remainder of Europe. Even though music flourished under the Andalusian Umayyads and most of that dynasty’s rulers were patrons of the arts, many religious leaders and governing officials were against this genre of entertainment and tried to enact laws against music and singing, usually unsuccessfully. They established music schools that could be compared to the best in the cities of the Arab East. In later centuries these cantigas were to have a great impact on all European music. Ziryab, one of the greatest teachers of musicians and singers of all times, arrived in Andalusia in 82l A.D. from the court of Baghdad. The high spirits of the people and the lingering aura of the long-gone Arabs, more commonly known in the West as Moors, continue to saturate the Andalusian atmosphere and give it a fairytale mystique. This was a golden age or Siglo de Oro particularly in Spanish paintings and sculptures, many of which were produced for the ever-strengthening Church. The beat of the rapid handclapping in flamenco is a carbon copy of the clapping in the folk melodies and dances of the Arabian Peninsula. But research by honest scholars, in the last century, has established that not only measured music but the popular Spanish music and, in fact, the folk music of all South­west Europe, was taken from Arab-Andalusian sources. Emil Naumann in his History of Music notes “…we cannot fail….to be struck with the remarkable similarity which the melodies of the Koran bear to the responses and chants of the Catholic liturgy.”. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1965. It was in the Hijaz that rhythm and melody of song were developed into artistic and elegant singing. During my many subsequent visits to southern Spain, I often thought of this chance incident in Albaicín. Brill, 1981. The music of the Arabian Peninsula had a rich background. The South of Spain. Despite the many religious wars in the past, the Spaniards have, to a great extent, preserved their Arab heritage, especially in the field of handicrafts, dance and music. Malaga overflowed in its love of music. Moorish Spain. The artform’s basic building blocs – sung poetry and music – were borrowed from the Arabs and Berbers who … In these schools, musicians and dancing girls, coming from all parts the Muslim world were taught the art of entertainment. Furst Co., 1970. al-Makkari, Ahmed Ibn Mohammed. The history of Spanish music continued to evolve with the dawning of the Renaissance period. Hole, E.C. Latin music is the result of a complex social and historical process that took place in the Americas after the arrival of Columbus. Livermore, A. Although it is known as a gypsy dance, the flamenco has no historic connection with these artistic people. His voice vibrating inside the walls of Los Gallos entered my very soul. Some Spaniards are looking to explore the enduring Islamic influence in the nation's music, food, and architecture. Stanley Sadie. ... "Arabic letters, Arabic phrases. Islam and the Medieval West. Preeminent painters of this period include the first pronounced national character of Spanish art, Luis de Morales*. In their last years in Granada, the Moors were the first people in Europe to use the letters of the alphabet to denote finger position on the guitar. Rodney Gallops further maintains in his A Book of the Basques: “The most important legacy in the field of music left to Europe by the Arabs is mensural music. Fame but rather solidified his greatness Co. 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