La Música de Al-Andalus


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La Música de Al-Andalus
Las Puertas de Oriente

Ensemble Al-Ruzafa
Conductor: Hames Bitar







1. Samai Hijaz Kurdi (Saleh Al-Mahdi) 5’16


2. Muaxaha Murra Altajanni - La amarga injusticia (anónimo) 5’29


3. Muaxaha Zarani Almahboub - Me visitó el amado (anónimo) 2’30


4. Muaxaha Afdihi Zabian - Doy mi vida por ti (Anónimo) 3’08


5. Samai Nahawand (Masoud Jamil) 7,23


6. Muaxaha Ayuha Alsaqi - ¡Ah copero! (Ibn Zuhor) 5’04


7. Muaxaha Jadaka Algaith - Tiempo de amores de al-andalus (Ibn Alkhatib) 4'18


8. Lau Kunta Tadri - Si supieras (Mustafa Khalki) 1’45


9. Samai Shad Araban (Jamil Bey) 7’0


10. Mawwal (Tradicional de Aleppo) 6’40


11. Qad Mili Ma Mal Alhawa - Pavonea con el amor (Tradicional de Aleppo) 5’34


12. Longa Nahawand (Jamil Bey) 5’31





Aleppo: custody of the musical tradition from the Orient.


Aleppo is an important trading city and communication cross-point where the most pure traditions of Arabic chant have been preserved. The most characteristic expression of this chant is the vocal improvisations or layali, through which the complete doctrine of maqam was developed into a form of choral music, the qad (alqudud in plural), related to the muaxaha genre, very well-known in Al-Andalus.


From the eighteenth century onwards, the muaxaha expanded through the Mid-Orient, particularly in Aleppo, where it is known as almashrek. Its performance practice still shares a common form and content with the original Andalusian muaxaha, although the structure of the strophe, AABBBA, is different. Despite being known as ‘Andalusian muaxaha’ (almuaxah alandalusiya), the structure of the almashrek does not correspond with that of the original Andalusian muaxaha, but to other metrical rules of Arab classical music.


Muaxahat are performed by a male choir accompanied by a group of instrumentalists (altajt). Both choir and instrumentalists support the vocal soloist. Muaxahat are often based on a diversity of musical modes (maqamat) and a rhythmical foundation consisting of two or three rhythmical patterns (wazn).


Traditionally, muaxahat fit into a cycle structure known as wasla. A wasla begins with a samai or bashraf, followed by several muaxahat (any number up to six). The muaxahat are usually based on the same melodical material (maqam). The text can be the work of different poets and composers. The first muaxaha of a wasla features a longer wazn than the second one. The denomination of a wasla derives from the name of the main maqam on which it is based (for example: waslat hijaz, waslat rast, and so on).


The privileged geographical situation of Aleppo, an important trade centre of the Silk Business, all of which helped it to develop into a cosmopolitan city, where not only goods but also traditions and culture were exchanged. The mutual influence between the music of Aleppo and that of Turkey is a good example of this cultural interchange: it gave rise to instrumental styles such as samai, bashraf and longa. These styles have been crucial for the perpetuation of classical Arab music because of being non-improvised forms in which the principles of maqam and the rhythmical styles have been preserved.


The existent music and poetry of most of the best-known muaxahat as part of the traditional legacy are anonymous (qadim). Nevertheless, there are a few known authors. Among the recent, most productive composers of muaxahat we must mention Omar Al-Batsh (1885-1950), born in Aleppo, and Said Darwish (1892-1923), from Alexandria (Egypt). Amongst the great musicians living in the nineteenth century, many of whom have also left us a great number of muaxahat, it is worth mentioning Chej Ahmad Qabbani (Aleppo, 1851-1902), disciple of Chej Ahmad Aqil, who composed dozens of muaxahat and is currently considered as an important source of this repertoire. Also Chej Mohamad Kamel Al-Khulaei (1879-1938), born in Cairo and disciple of Chej Qabbani, composed hundreds of muaxahat. Mohamad Othman (1855-1900), also from Cairo and disciple of the great qanun player Qustandi Manar, wrote approximately 150 muaxahat.



Hames Bitar