Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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(i) Bedouin music.

Bedouin songs have specific characteristics. Melodies are short (mostly four bars) and repetitive (repeated for every line of the poem), operating within a narrow ambitus not exceeding a 4th. The modal material known as ajnās (sing. jins) is limited to use of the tetrachords Sabā, Bayātī, Huzām and the Bedouin jins – C D Eb F G. The style is responsorial; first the leader sings, then the other participants repeat what he has sung. The songs relate to Bedouin circumstances and use Bedouin vernacular Arabic pronunciation. Sometimes a Bedouin poet-singer sings and improvises new poems to the accompaniment of the rabāb (spike fiddle). (For music examples see Bedouin music.)

Hjēnī. This genre comprises three bars in 4/4 metre. It has roots in the pre-Islamic hudā’ (camel-driver song).

Sāmer or qasīd. This has a two-bar melody in 4/4 metre. A leader sings the poem, and the participants sing the following refrain: ‘Halā hālā lā yā halā / Winta hinēfī yā walā’ (‘Halleluja, halleluja! You are a believer [in God], young man’). On happy occasions the singing accompanies a dance performed by two groups of men. It starts in a moderate tempo and develops to a lively and exciting climax when the male dancers encircle a female dancer called al-hāshī.

Fārida. Women sing the fārida as they accompany the bride from her parents’ to her husband's home. The song's main features are the narrow ambitus (not exceeding a 3rd) and the prolongation of a particular note of the melody. The melody is composed of two parts, one of them repeated (ex.1).

Uhzūja or hidā. This sort of declamatory singing is used in battles, processions and work (ex.2).

Ma‘īd or ‘adīd (lamentations). Women, dressed in black, sing lamentations for the dead. Sometimes they form a semicircle and perform a slow death dance.

Tarwīda. Like uhzūja, the tarwīda comprises several sorts of songs and melodies. Women's songs include lullabies, songs for the bride's bath or henna ceremony (ex.3), and some love songs.

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