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, Huzāmand 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).