Arabic music is always uplifting with complex rhythmic structures, tense vocal tones, and monophonic structures. It surrounds you with its aura and makes you want to groove with its iconic melodies.
Have you ever wondered what goes into making such music and what instruments are used to create the Arabic music that you love and enjoy?
Well, look no further! In this article, you’ll learn about instruments used in the Middle Eastern and Arabic cultures that make you fall in love with the genre.
Iconic Arabic Instruments!
Music is a diverse art form with expression styles varying from region to region depending on the local cultural norms and traditions. Like most people, you also may imagine a desert scenario when listening to Middle Eastern instruments or Arabic-style music.
But what sounds really make you relate Arabic music to such scenarios? The answer lies in the instruments used to produce such music and the style of playing these instruments.
Here are some of the most prominent Arabic instruments in this music genre:
1. Stringed Instruments
Music nowadays seems incomplete without incorporating at least one or two types of stringed instruments. Whether rock or jazz, stringed instruments have always played a vital role in making quality music that listeners enjoy.
Such is the case with Arabic music too! Here are a couple of stringed Arabic and Middle Eastern instruments used in Arabic and Middle Eastern music:
Now, you must have heard a very prominent plucking of strings similar to but not quite like the guitar in Arabic songs. The Oud, also known as the ‘king of instruments’ in the Middle East, is a lute-type fretless instrument originating from the Middle East, which produces this unique sound in Arabic music.
The Oud is similar to the guitar, such that both instruments produce sound by the resonance of strings, but unlike the guitar, the Oud (pronounced ud in Arabic) has 11 strings and no frets on the fingerboard.
Oud players use complex fingerpicking and strumming techniques to play unique patterns and legatos that are very attractive and instantly catch your attention.
Saz or Bağlama
The Saz or Bağlama is also an instrument similar to the Oud but with a longer neck, producing a wider variety of musical notes on a string. It originates from Turkey and is still widely used in all musical genres in the country.
The Saz in Arabic music also plays riffs and melodies that catch your ear and make you move with the tune. Saz players make use of fast string plucking paired with strums to play music on the Arabic scales.
2. Percussive Instruments
Music is incomplete without a beat that you can dance or groove to. In Arabic music, different types of beat-making instruments are used to create music, and here are two that are most popular and widely used around the world.
If music is your passion, it’s almost impossible for you not to have heard of the Daff. An iconic frame drum with a deep sound dating back more than a thousand years!
The Daff is widely used in Arabic music and in central Asian countries like India and Pakistan due to its spiritual connection with Muslims.
The daff is used in Arabic music to provide bass and give a beat to the song. It’s present in virtually every Arabic song you hear, especially folk music.
The Darbuka, commonly known as a Goblet Drum, is also a prevalent Arabic Instrument used in various songs. It’s a more modern form of the Doumbek
The Darbuka produces a flat kind of sound and can be used to make percussive sounds paired with the Daff. It’s often heard at the start of Arabic songs or in the transition from one verse to another to create an uplifting effect in the track.
3. Wind Instruments
Melody is a key feature of Arabic songs, and the culture emphasizes on using wind instruments to create beautiful melodies. Melody carries the whole vibe of the song and is used by artists to express emotion and feelings in the song.
The ney is an end-blown flute instrument that is prominently figured in Egyptian music. The Ney produces that mesmerizing flute sound you hear and love in Arab-style music.
Popular since the 19th century, not only in Arabic regions but also in Western Asia and Europe, the Ney is one of the oldest continuously used flutes.
Along with folk and classical music, modern-day DJs also use the Ney in their production tracks because of its iconic sound and melodic tunes.
Arab music is mesmerizing and catchy. Like you, I am a huge fan of the genre. In the end, it’s not just a single Middle Eastern instrument that makes you fall in love with Arabic music, but a combination of several instruments and playing styles. It’s always a pleasure to hear and enjoy Arabic music!