This article introduces some of the basic musical instruments used in Arabic belly dance music. 


Arabic Musical Instruments For Belly Dance Music

By Valeria Lo Iacono 

Every dance has its own sets of accompanied instruments that add to its charm and performance. Belly dancing is performed to the tune of Arabic music, which is produced on the Arabic music instruments traditionally used for this type of music. All the three basic kinds of instruments, stringed, percussion and reed, are used to provide music for a belly dance performance. As there are different genres in the act of belly dancing as well as Arabic music, the choice of primary instrument varies accordingly. Still, there are a few instruments that are the heart and soul of every belly dance performance. The first such instrument which is widely used is Oud or Lute.

Lute or Oud: It was discovered by the Americans in the tomb of the well known Egyptian musician Harmosis who had lived around 1500 B.C. Made entirely of one piece of wood, it closely resembles the Moroccan Guembri and its soundboard is roofed with animal skin. It is played with the help of the 'Risha' (plectrum).

Nay: It is like a flute which is open ended, has six holes in the front where the fingers of the player create the desired melody and also has a hole on the rear side for placing the thumb. It comes in different lengths and the one unique feature about the Nay is that it is named after the note produced with the 1st finger hole played by the player. Perhaps, the best musical instrument whose tunes are ideal for belly dancers to sway and create their magical spell. The Nay is played by using a single lip technique known as the bilabial blowing.

Buzuq: More or less similar to the Oud in style and manner of playing, it is primarily used for the exotic tunes and rhythms to which belly dancers perform Raks Al Balas and Raks Sharki. The Turkish name Buzuq is derived from 'bashi-buzuq', the popular name by which the Ottoman Troops are known. Basically the Buzuq is a broader and a deeper toned relative of the Turkish Saz. The music produced by the Buzuq is used in many of the popular Arabic pop songs. The original Arabic music and the pop music when mixed together with the music of the Buzuq, make the entire composition really remarkable and a treat for the ears.

These are the basic instruments used widely for creating belly dancing music. Others include Dumbek, tar, Sagat, qanun, Zumara, Mizmar and more.

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Belly dance with Jenn

"When I dance, the sun sails safely through the night;

When I dance, the future is formed by my feet;

When I dance,the stars move through the heavens;

When I dance, Venus shimmers the desert;

When I dance, dust becomes silver, stones are made of gold!"

Cosi Fabian

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