Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

The Essence of Tarab

Part 1 in George's Tarab Series

 

By George Dmitri Sawa

 

 

---------------

This is Part 1 in a series of articles about tarab.

Tarab is simply defined as an acute emotion of joy or grief. It is caused, among other things, by beautiful poetry or strongly emotive music. As a result of tarab, we experience physical reactions such as the audience moving their feet or shoulders, clapping, dancing, slapping their face or even tearing their garment, raising chairs in the air, or throwing their tarbush (hat) in the air. Emotional reactions include crying and sobbing intensely, or laughing. Imaginational reactions include feeling the room or earth is shaking, one’s bones resounding, loss of gravity and flying. The list is much bigger, but this is a short summary of reactions. (For more information, consult my book titled Music Performance Practice the Early Abbasid Era.)

Music that causes such reaction is mainly found in the late nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries repertoire. Music created after roughly 1960 may have sections of tarab, but such sections get ruined by inappropriate inorganic juxtaposition of cheap types of Western pop music.

For tarab music, listen to Sabah Fakhri (the Ottoman repertoire), Wadi el-Safi, Farid el-Atrash, early Mohamed Abdel Wahab and most of Umm Kulthum songs up to the early 60’s, priceless folk songs and mawwaal of Fatma Sarhan, etc. For instrumental tarab music, listen to early bellydance music as well as Sufi music, taqsims, peshrevs and sama’is. (My two CD albums The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Volumes 1 and 2 contain twenty such pieces.

Here are two links to tarab music played by me on the qanun:

George Sawa

 

---------------

Related Articles

 

---------------

About the Author

Dr. George Sawa was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He has over 50 years of experience in Arabic music performance, history and theory, and has performed and lectured extensively worldwide: Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Europe (Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Greece) and the Middle East (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates). He studied qanun, theory and voice at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music.

After immigrating to Canada, Dr. Sawa studied ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, and obtained his doctorate in historical Arabic musicology. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at the University of Toronto and at York University.

Dr. Sawa is the author of:

  • Music Performance Practice in the Early Abbasid Era. 132-320 AH/750-932 AD
  • Rhythmic Theories and Practices in Arabic Writings to 339AH/950 CE (Ottawa: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2004 and 2009)
  • An Arabic Musical and Socio-Cultural Glossary of Kitab al-Aghani (The Book of Songs) of al-Isbahani (d. 971) (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2015).
  • Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers

Dr. Sawa has published over 50 articles on Arabic music in refereed journals and encyclopedias, and is frequently invited to give lectures and concerts worldwide. In 2005, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history.

George Sawa

George has been the musical director for several productions of the Toronto-based Arabesque Dance Company, and taught hundreds of dancers at the Arabesque Academy and Hannan's Bellydance Studio in Toronto, as well as studios in Canada, USA, Brazil and Mexico. His first CD release, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 1, was nominated for a JUNO Award in World Music in 2009. A subsequent volume, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2, was released in 2009.

His book Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers has won international acclaim and serves as an invaluable - one of a kind - companion to bellydancers all over the world. (It is available in English, Chinese, French, Greek, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German and Portuguese). A companion set of two DVDs produced with Lulu Hartenbach in Brazil includes over 50 tracks of dancing instruction from his CDs and book: Lulu and George Dimitri Sawa. Apreciação de Música Árabe para Bailarinas - Teoria & Prática 2 vols. Sao Paulo: Ventreoteca. Produzido por Kaleidoscopio de Ideias. Shimmie, 2015.

Presently Dr. Sawa is working on a book Erotica, Love, and Humor in Arabia which will be published by McFarland in 2016.

For more information on Dr. Sawa's books, musical recordings, and videos, see his web site at www.georgedimitrisawa.com .

Dr. George Sawa

 

 

---------------

Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on Shira.net using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from Shira.net into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on Shira.net along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.

 

 

Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Index to Middle Eastern Music Section

 

Share this page!

On Google+
 

On Facebook
 

 

 Top > Belly Dancing > Index to Middle Eastern Music Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |