Egypt: Arab Music Day and 4,000 Years Old Music

Arab countries celebrate the Arab Music Day on March 28 of each year

Cairo Opera House

Arab countries celebrate the Arab Music Day on March 28 of each year, the day that was approved after the approval of the Council of the League of Arab States in its regular session on March 6, 2019. The musical movement in various Arab countries and its achievements constitute an occasion.

On the occasion of Arab Music Day, which coincides this year with the 90th anniversary of the holding of the first Arab music conference in Cairo in 1932, the Egyptian Opera House headed by Dr. Magdy Saber, in cooperation with the Supreme Council of Culture in the secretariat of Dr. Hisham Azmy and the Arab Music Academy of the League of Arab States, is organizing an artistic celebration at the sixth Monday evening, March 28 at the Institute of Arab Music.

In this context, archaeologist Dr. Abdel Rahim Rihan, director general of research, archaeological studies and scientific publication in South Sinai at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, points out that music is a cultural heritage since the era of ancient Egypt. Archaeologists have discovered evidence indicating the presence of skilled musicians in ancient Egypt since 3100 BC.

There are discoveries from the Old Kingdom era that indicate the existence of a special primitive scale of music consisting of 5 degrees devoid of half-tones (the tunic text). The cultures of the Phoenicians, Hittites and Sea Peoples in Cyprus and Crete, the musical scale developed and increased by two degrees until it reached the currently known seven degrees, as well as additional movements such as half-tones.

Dr. Rihan points to the most famous musical instrument in ancient Egypt, namely the fugitive or the Egyptian caesara, a single-stringed harp that was painted on one of the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs, perhaps because the ancient Egyptian fugitive was associated with war as a war instrument from which the ancient musical instrument “war bow” or “single-stringed fugitive” was inspired by the evolution of The fugitive through the dynasties of ancient Egypt was known in various sizes, including the fugitive with the holder and being large in size, and the other hanging around the neck of the musician while carrying a different type on the shoulder. The string counter continued to inflate, starting from three to twenty strings in the late modern state. Today, the modern fugitive instrument has between 45 and 48 strings. The sesame instrument of the canal cities is a reflection of the ancient Egyptian fugitive.

Dr. Rihan drew attention to wind instruments, as the ancient Egyptian knew the horn for military purposes, which is similar to the trumpet used to summon soldiers or members of the people in the circumstances of official occasions, and the wind instruments varied in ancient Egypt. Between a simple flute consisting of a single reed made of lotus wood and perhaps attached It has a part of a cow horn known as “monol” and another double known as “lotus photenix.” It resembles the ergul, the Egyptian folk instrument, as this is currently reflected in the types of melodious flutes associated with the eastern Takht.

The ancient Egyptian knew percussion instruments, including lined sticks and tambourines, and he also managed to create a musical tone by colliding copper elements with each other, such as the present day parchment instrument or cymbals.

Dr. Rayhan continues, that the drawings of a cemetery in Bani Hassan in Minya from the era of the Old Kingdom embodied the hand signals for singing at the beginning of the Fifth Dynasty and were limited to the phenomenon of placing the palm of the left hand of the singer behind the ear flap and on the cheek to enlarge the sound issued and increase it, as the singer of the money does currently.

The formation of bands was dominated by pairs, and the inscriptions indicated that all possibilities were contained in these duets, for example, a harp player with a singer and a flute player with a harp player. The song of the harp instrument player was also associated with an important role in funeral prayers and rituals, and the presentation of flowers at burials and in happy social occasions.

Dr. Rihan notes the appearance of blind harp players in the Middle Kingdom in the tomb of Meri Ra I in Tell el-Amarna in Minya. Animals were also depicted as musicians, and this phenomenon was a cause for humor and fun. In the Middle Kingdom, the musical troupe joined the kiñara and drums after their appearance in the musical life in the era of that state. Each musical troupe had a leader in the middle of the group, usually without an instrument, and sometimes two leaders. Hands, snapping fingers, hitting the knees, or both.

A mural from Saqqara and Tell el-Amarna depicted the slow rhythmic dance similar to the movements of ballet dancers
. One of the most important aspects of musical and cultural life in the era of the modern state is the celebrations inside the palaces and the national and popular celebrations inside and outside temples throughout the year, as there were many festivities inside the palaces of kings.

Music, singing and dancing participated in these religious and secular ceremonies. Musical lifestyles varied and varied within the palaces of kings and in the royal court. There were many musical ensembles as a result of the conquests and commercial and diplomatic contacts with Asian, Assyrian and Babylonian kings and heads of foreign countries. The presence of the Asian component of both sexes in the field of music and singing contributed to the multiplicity of bands until the king’s court had two musical bands. One is Egyptian, the other is Assyrian.

And developed in the era of the modern state, the manufacture of musical instruments in general and strings in particular, as it included raw materials, quality of industry, external shape, number of strings, and the subsequent increase in the sound space and the breadth of melodic movement between sharpness and thickening. The pear-shaped lute with a long neck appeared in the era of the twenty-fifth dynasty and beyond, and it is similar to the tambour, and the Coptic (Egyptian) lute appeared in the early first century AD and beyond. A chord in the era of Ramessides, the twentieth dynasty, and the height of some of these instruments reached more than two meters, which made Egyptian music rich music superior to all the music of civilizations that contemporary with which Plato called to recommend in his book “The Republic.”His people listen and enjoy Egyptian music with scientific rules and laws, as he considered it the finest music in the world.

By Mohammed Taher




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