Middle Eastern Music

Essay by navi9999Junior High, 9th gradeA, October 2014

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Smith 1 John Smith March 6, 2013 World Studies, Period 4 Smith � PAGE �6�

Middle Eastern Music

The forms of Middle Eastern music are significantly different from those of the West (Thesis Approach: Comparisons). Yet, many composers in the Middle East incorporate their knowledge of Western musical styles with traditional cultural styles of their homeland (Style). The instruments used to produce unique sounds and tones in Middle Eastern music are not heard in Western compositions (Mann).

The style of music from any region in the world is what makes its music different and special. In the Middle East, several characteristics set the music apart from other regions, especially from Western countries. First, the music is monophonic-meaning it does not have a harmony playing under the melody. The melody that is played is a simple rhythmic pattern that comes up throughout the whole composition. Second, there is a lot of improvisation (when the musician plays something that is not written in the composition) in Middle Eastern music. This musical style is common in jazz in our culture, but it occurs much more frequently in Middle Eastern music. Improvisation is easier to use in Middle Eastern music because there is usually only a soloist or a small group of singers and instrumentalists. There are not many full orchestras, like the San Francisco Symphony. And third, Middle Eastern music has more notes than the regular 8-note octave that Western countries use. In Middle Eastern music, there can be up to 24-note scales because of the use of quarter tones. Quarter tones are "notes that are halfway between the notes on the piano's octave," and they allow a voice or a stringed instrument to reach more notes that are closer together (Mann).

Middle Eastern music (specifically Persian) has a...