Sunday, 25 August 2019
Music of Syria
Syria was one of the earliest centers of Christian hymnody, in a repertory known as Syrian chant, which continues to be the liturgical music of some of the various Syrian Christians.
There was formerly a distinctive tradition of Syrian Jewish religious music, which still flourishes in the Syrian-Jewish community of New York: see The Weekly Maqam, Baqashot and Pizmonim.
Muwashshah or muwaššah (Arabic: ﻣﻮﺷٌﺢ, literally "girdled"; plural Muwashshhaat ﻣﻮﺷـّﺤﺎﺕ or tawāshīh
ﺗﻮﺍﺷﻴﺢ) is an Arabic poetic form, as well as a secular musical genre in the eastern part of the Arab world using muwaššah texts as lyrics. The poetic form is also used in Andalusi Nawbah which similarly originates in Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). It is a multi-lined strophic verse poem written in classical Arabic, usually consisting of five stanzas. It was customary to open with one or two lines which matched the second part of the poem in rhyme and meter. In North Africa poets ignore the strict rules of Arabic meter while the poets in the East follow them.
Musically, the ensemble consists of Oud (lute),
kamenjah (spike fiddle), Qanoon (box zither),
darabukkah (goblet drum), and daf (tambourine), all of which often perform as the choir. The soloist performs only a few chosen lines of the selected text. In Aleppo multiple Maqam rows and up to three awzān are used and modulation to neighboring Maqamat was possible during the B section [clarify]. Until modernization it was typical to present a complete Wasla, or up to eight successive muwaššah including an instrumental introduction (Sama'i or Bashraf). It may end with a Longa.
Examples of muwaššah start to appear as early as the ninth or tenth century CE. The full sense of the word is not clear, though it appears to be related to the word for a type of double-banded ornamental belt, the wišah. Interpretations differ, and according to one authority [who?], "Since it was held together by the concluding line as by a belt, and written down the visual effect was of a chain belt, it was called
muwaššah 'girdled' poem. needed]
Syrian chant is the chant used in Syriac Christianity. As Syria was one of the earliest centers of Christianity, its style of chant is among the oldest in the world. However, as no early musical manuscripts exist, it is conjectural to what extent the modern repertoire reflects the early traditions.
In the early church, the music consisted of hymns and antiphonal psalmody. The earliest extant work is the Gnostic Psalter of the 2nd century, a collection of Psalm texts in hymn form reflecting a Gnostic theology. The first orthodox work are the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian (306-373), some of which are still used today. Both hymns and antiphonal psalmody were brought by St. Ambrose to Milan and are apparently the basis for Ambrosian chant.
•culled from www.traditionalarabicmusic.com