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The art of music and its Arab contribution to Western civilization

It is not easy to define the Arabic music as the underlying principles were taken by non-Arab peoples: the moors, the Byzantines, the Iranians, etc. However, we can make a distinction between pure Arabic music, which was practiced and still practiced today, original form, before the advent of Islam, the other, more recent, formed under Arab rule in the context of Muslim expansion.

In the conquered countries Arab elements have adapted to the regional music in a different balance every time, to put it more clearly, we should say “Andalusian Arabic music”, “Egyptian Arabic music”, etc. Therefore, regional differences are greater than those that can be found in European music between the French and Italian art and German art and forces us to remember that the variable nature.

The two small kingdoms of Gassan and Hyra located in the border of Byzantium and Persia, served as containment booms to the axes of the Arabian Desert. Gassan, satellite of the Byzantine Empire in the East and the Persian Sassanid Empire Hyra, were influenced by these two powerful empires and into the interior of the Arabian Peninsula, a stream of cultural influence is no exception to this music. Influence, which, from India, had penetrated into Asia Minor and Greece. Mecca pilgrims visiting the Kaaba temple, then you must visit the county fairs around Ukaz was held with music and songs that were an essential part of the social and religious life. In Ukaz organized poetry festivals and formed the real choice on a tablet with letters of gold and hung around the Kaaba, to be read by everyone and everyone knows her as an author.

Before the revelation, Muhammad necessarily must have attended these ceremonies. If the Prophet approved or disapproved the music was lifted later, but the truth is that in the Quran there is not one word against. Around the year 661, which corresponds to the death of Ali, the fourth caliph Orthodox Arabs executed only a melody based on the rhythmic values ​​of the spoken language, this litany, had two forms of pace: reason over the camels and horses trot. Besides the songs of the caravan, the pre-Islamic Arabic music also had funeral elegies, songs, war songs travel and love songs. For the Arab peoples, the music that accompanies the cradle to the grave, because every moment of his life was a special music: pleasure in pain, at work, at play in the heat of battle and religious devotion.

Of the 661, the establishment of the Umayyad caliphate of Damascus and 833, when the Abbasid dynasty, Arabic music evolves under the influence of Greek and Persian, learn to get rid of step with the spoken language and acquire a sense of music largely . Ziryab, the great musician and theorist, located in Al Andalus, Cordoba and Granada realizes that to be erected in the center of Arabic musical art that gives character to Arabic music in the West, however, in part, school of Baghdad, in Baghdad, while the music is based on school Ziryab technique is based on psycho physiological action of music as therapy.

It was to remain in Spain when the Arabs brought to perfection the art of music, the definition of the characteristics of the great cantatas, also called Nauba Ghernata (Naubas Granada). Despite the fact that musical instruments and music were banned by law, the effects of spiritual music were clearly recognized. Sufism is making the music acquires respectability, but who gives final approval, is the intellectual and theologian of the 12th century, Al Ghazali, who wrote: “Ecstasy means the state reached when listening to music,” the definition of the rules concert to provide the listener with a spiritual benefit:

1) Once selected correctly

2) a well chosen

3) A practice auditorium

Which is directed to look east, you see the influence of Arabic art. In Persia and Turkey have been translated from Arabic and other works were inspired by his work. There are also Arab works known in India, but for which the benefits of the context of Arab culture are the greatest is, without doubt, to Western Europe, which has been the legacy of the Arabs through two channels: the contact contact the political contact and intellectual and literary translations into Arabic and the oral teachings of the students studying in Muslim schools in Spain and other countries.

It is possible that the greater degree of musical legacy left by Arabs in Europe, “cantus mensurabilis” was unknown before Cologne Franco (Franco Teutonicus) in about 1190. Arabs have been used since the 7th century. As for musical instruments, the Arab heritage is very important, there is no doubt that the names and current patterns of a large number of instruments coming from the Arabs. During the first contribution of all the threads that make up the lute family, the mandolin and guitar in the group. then came the instruments arc types. The fact is transcendental lute, guitar and mandolin to notes marked in the neck with frets to determine height. European troubadours, when they began to communicate with the Arabs, it is that the ears of his instruments were harp and zither.

Another advantage provided by the Arabs was melodic ornamentation, which is the counterpart of the arabesque in the other arts, which gave Europe, probably the first impulse to harmony. In science and philosophy, both in music and in other arts, the contribution of the Arabs were considerable. One can say without exaggeration that came from afar to medieval Europe, it was the ancient Europeans. Collected, merged and enriched the culture of ancient contribute their own label, which is original and thus, as a gift, which gave us the legacy of the West.

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