References for Arabic music

Arabic music so far has been mainly an oral tradition. When music is transcribed, it is usually in a sketch format, on which performers are expected to improvise significantly. Increasingly, Western notation, with a few variations, is adopted in order to communicate and preserve Arabic music.

Some elements of Western musical notation such as the transcription of chords or independent parts, are not required to typeset the more traditional Arabic pieces. There are however some different issues, such as the need to indicate medium intervals that are somewhere between a semi-tone and a tone, in addition to the minor and major intervals that are used in Western music. There is also the need to group and indicate a large number of different maqams (modes) that are part of Arabic music.

In general, Arabic music notation does not attempt to precisely indicate microtonal elements that are present in musical practice.

Several issues that are relevant to Arabic music are covered elsewhere:

See also

Notation Reference: Common notation for non-Western music, Key signature, Manual beams.

Snippets: World music.

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