What Shira.net Users Think
The above poll includes responses submitted since March 21, 2004.
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This 1968 video offers a superficial (very superficial) introduction to Middle Eastern music. The information presented focuses on certain musical instruments: oud, doumbek, santour, kanoun, and cymbalum. A narrator introduces each instrument, then a musician plays it for minute or so to demonstrate.
Nothing is mentioned about wind instruments such as the ney or mizmar. The definition of “the Middle East” for purposes of this video excludes Egypt, so there is no mention of Egyptian instruments such as rebaba.
The musicians performing the demonstrations are skilled and enjoyable to listen to. They offer very credible views of what their instruments are capable of.
In two places, costumed male folk dancers perform as the music plays. One is a Turkish dance, and the other a Greek tsamiko. Although the performers skillfully portray dances from Turkey and Greece, the artsy-fartsy camera work makes it impossible to appreciate the dancing. There are too many close-ups of faces, s-l-o-w pan across empty space when moving from a close-up of one dancer’s face to the other, angles looking down from above, close-ups of men’s waists when the feet are doing all the action, etc. For these reasons, the dance segments are severely disappointing, and the clueless camera operators and editors ought to be spanked.
A small amount (very small) of information is offered about rhythms and the difference between folk music and classical music.
There are no closing credits at the end to identify any of the people who appear in this video.
I realize that with only 20 minutes to work with, there are limits to how much information anyone might be able to fit into the time available. But some very key points that distinguish Middle Eastern music from Western music such as maqamat and quarter tones are never mentioned, which seems surprising.This video is produced by the Department of Ethnomusicology at the State University of New York at Binghampton. It shows a copyright date of 1968, which fits the hair styles of the women shown on camera, and was transferred to video in 1987.
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You Will Probably Enjoy This Video If
This Video Probably Isn't Right for You If
What I Liked, What I Didn't
What I Liked:
What I Didn't Like:
Even though the price is low and the musicians are skilled, I don’t think this video offers enough information to be worth the money, particularly for dancers. The discussion is very superficial, and on the folk dance segments the poor camera work interferes with seeing what the dance looks like. It is very short. I won’t be recommending it to my students.
I have never had any contact with anyone involved in creating this video.
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