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Thread: Arab tone system

  1. #1
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    Arab tone system

    The modern Arab tone system, or system of musical tuning, is based upon the theoretical division of the octave into twenty-four equal divisions or 24-tone equal temperament, the distance between each successive note being a quarter tone (50 cents). Each tone has its own name not repeated in different octaves, unlike systems featuring octave equivalency. The lowest tone is named yakah and is determined by the lowest pitch in the range of the singer. The next higher octave is nawa and the second tuti. (Touma 1996, p.17-18) However, from these twenty-four tones seven are selected to produce a scale and thus the interval of a quarter tone is never used and the three-quarter tone or neutral second should be considered the characteristic interval. (ibid, p.23)

    By contrast, in the European equally tempered scale the octave is divide into twelve equal divisions, or exactly half as many as the Arab system. Thus the system is written in European musical notation using a slashed flat for quarter flat, a flat for half-tone flat, a slashed flat and a flat for three-quarter tone flat, sharp with one vertical line for quarter sharp, sharp (#) for half-step sharp, and a half sharp and a sharp for three-quarter sharp. A two octave range starting with yakah arbitrarily on the G below middle C is used. (ibid, p.24)

    In practice far fewer than twenty-four tones are used in a single performance. All twenty-four tones are individual pitches differentiated into a hierarchy of important pitches, "pillars", which occur more frequently in the tone rows of traditional music and most often begin tone rows, and scattered less important or seldom occurring pitches (see tonality). (ibid, p.24-25).

    The specific notes used in a piece will be part of one of more than seventy modes or maqam rows named after characteristic tones which are rarely the first tone (unlike in European-influenced music theory where the tonic is listed first). The rows are heptatonic and constructed from augmented, major, neutral, and minor seconds. Many different but similar ratios are proposed for the frequency ratios of the tones of each row and performance practice, as of 1996, has not been investigated using electronic measurements. (ibid, p.18) Actual practice is estimated to vary within a quarter tone from notation.

    The current tone system is derived from the work of al-Farabi (d. 950 CE) (heptatonic scales constructed from seconds) who used a 25 (unequal) tone scale (see tetrachord), with Mikha'il Mishaqah (1800-1889) first presenting the 24 tone equal tempered division. (ibid, p.19)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_tone_system

  2. #2
    JazzNerd gersdal's Avatar
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    Hi Brent, I'm totally confused. Where is the question?

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    How do u play melodies with the Arab tone system?

    How do u play melodies with Quarter sharps,Quarter flats,3 quarter sharp,3 quarter tone flat,3 quarter tone?

    On the piano how use u do these scales?

    How do u learn eastern music harmony and scales?

    Where is there eastern music books about eastern scales and eastern harmony and eastern systems?

  4. #4
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    Dear Brent,

    my 2 cents:

    There is stuff that cannot be learned by studying but by living.
    To be able to feel how the melodies come out and how they are constructed you should pack your bags, leave home for a year and move to Arabia (or a similar country... - not that it is recommended these days ), sit between the spices and herbs, get covered in dust, listen,taste and smell - feel live there.

    There might a theoretical approach (i'm, quite sure there is) but what's the use it?

    What's the use of studying blues in details without ever feeling blue?!

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    Arabic scales,indian scales,gypies scales how do i learn them and the melodies?How do most microtonal composers and Arabic,indian,gypies composers write these melodies? how do they know all these different kind of scales?

    Where is a Eastern scales on arabic,indian,gypies scales at there is so many different kinds of modes and names where and how do u learn eastern scales and melodies?

    My schools,classes,books only teach western harmony,scales im really lacking the Eastern microtones,quartertones and quarterflats and sharps in my melodies where is the eastern harmony books or eastern music theory?

  6. #6
    Hacked Account widdly widdly's Avatar
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    That arab tuning post seems completly over the top analytically. The way to approach arab tuning is to start from a practical rather than theoretical perspective. Only by listening and playing will you be able gain the insight. I suggest you check out http://www.mikeouds.com

    There is very little instructional material for the oud, especially in English. You need to use your ears to learn it.n If you are not listening to Arabic music, you cannot expect to have any understanding simply by reading about it. It is a music that is played by feel and is for the most part improvised.

    The maqams are where you should start. Choose one and listen to as many different examples as you can find. They are similiar to indian ragas since they are a scale but imply certain melodic passages. Within a single makam there are not that many micortones although they can be tricky since the tuning maybe different if the tone is played ascending the scale or descending the scale.

    You will not be able to play these on a piano. On a synthesizer that supports mico tuning you should be able too do it to a degree (try foorius). Maybe using a pitch bend you could too. However the ideal way to explore this stuff is with an oud. These allow you to perform glissandos against a constant drone. This way you can hear how the different notes of the makam fit the with root. If you are resourceful you could do it with a guitar and a slide.

    By the way, the good oud players are pretty amazing. Crazy speed picking!
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    Last edited by widdly widdly; 04-11-2011 at 07:21 AM.

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    Where do i start and how do i start?

    What does the "tuning" do?
    The tuning just changes the voicing and tone ?


    What Arabic music bands or music should i listen to that uses alot of arabic scales and arabic modes?

    What indian music bands or music should i listen to that uses alot of arabic scales and arabic modes?

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    What "oud" players are good or should i listen to ?

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    Hacked Account widdly widdly's Avatar
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    For oud players try Farid el-Atrache. If you have any Lebanese friends they will almost certainly be able to lend you a CD.

    They are plenty of examples on that mikesoud site I posted a link too. Did you listen to any? There are a lot of links and a forum on there where people who are very knowledgable about arabic music will be able to point you in the right direction. The site even has music lessons and scores to get you started if you want to play. Have a good look around that site and you will learn a lot about arabic music.

    Asking about indian music is like asking about european music. It's pretty broad to say the least. North indian, southern indian, bangra, bollywood etc etc. I think what you are interested in is raga's. There is a series in Guitar Tech magazine that is exploring raga's, check that out. Otherwise Google is your friend. But if you want the simple answer try Ravi Shankar.



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    Last edited by widdly widdly; 04-11-2011 at 07:21 AM.

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    Registered User dmsstudios's Avatar
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    Brent,

    Looks like you're referring to carnatic music (India.) My understanding is that about 2,000 years ago they used 24 notes in the octave, but today have settled on 12 - just like Western music uses.

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    Registered User aaeolean's Avatar
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    What about John McLaughlin's Shakti? Doesn't he use extensive amounts of the half/semitones to get his sound. He's playing a guitar with scalloped frets and there is even a whole other set of secondary strings running over the soundhole.

    **** John McLaughlin is amazing!

  12. #12
    Hacked Account widdly widdly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaeolean
    **** John McLaughlin is amazing!
    +1 for that!

    On a shakti note, I saw Zakir Hussian play the other week. He had a violin player and a guy playing crazy raga music on an electric mandolin. Terry Bozzio played as well on the biggest drum kit I've ever seen. They all jammed together at the end. The most insane percusison stuff I've ever seen!
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    Last edited by widdly widdly; 04-11-2011 at 07:21 AM.

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    Jamie Haddad

    Brent. I took a class at berklee...world rythms.
    it actually turned out to be a percussion class using south Indian system,(ta ka di me)
    would be another way to say 1,2,3,4 but it uses hand motions and you can truly kick butt with rythm and patterns over the English system.

    The class was very much based on the live teacher do and feel method YET it does and can be translated into notation language we can understand using our music system. jamie wrote a few great articles in some sort o fdrummers magazines. I lost my copys!!!!!!and have been trying to get some ever since!

    I suggest you seek books, teachers, articles on the south Indian carnatic style. The rythm is just as in depth (mclaughlin uses it) as the harmonic part.
    The best teacher of this that I know of is Jamie Haddad. Try contacting him at Berklee if all else fails. He also wrote articles in drummer magazine explaining some of the concepts. Again...this isnt harmonic info but Im sure it or he will lead you to places where you can find the harmonic info.

    Also check out this for some examples of what IM talking about...Steve Smith giving a clinic on it.
    http://www.vicfirth.com/features/ste...h_PASIC05.html

    Also heres a book.
    http://changingtones.com/gerandsz/takadimi.html
    YOU can amazon it as well.
    Last edited by Proreverb; 04-24-2006 at 01:55 AM.

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