Middle Eastern music  

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The music of the Middle East and North Africa spans across a vast region, from Morocco to Afghanistan, and its influences can be felt even further afield. Middle Eastern music influenced (and has been influenced by) the music of Greece and India, as well as Central Asia, Spain, the Caucasus and the Balkans, as in chalga. The various nations of the region include the Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa, the Persian tradition of Iran, the Greek traditions of Cypriot music, the music of Turkey, traditional Assyrian music, various Jewish traditions from Israel, the Kurdish music, Berbers of North Africa, and the Coptic Christians in Egypt all maintain their own traditions.

Throughout the region, religion has been a common factor in uniting peoples of different languages, cultures and nations. The predominance of Islam allowed a great deal of Arabic influence to spread through the region rapidly from the 7th century onward. The Arabic scale is strongly melodic, based around various maqam or modes (also known as makam in Turkish music). This is similar to the dastgah of Persian music. While this originates with classical music, the modal system has filtered down into folk, liturgical and even popular music filtering through Western interaction. Unlike much western music, Arabic music includes quarter tones halfway between notes, often through the use of stringed instruments (like the oud) or the human voice. Further distinguishing characteristics of Middle Eastern and North African music include very complex rhythmic structures, generally tense vocal tone, and a homophonic texture.

Often, more traditional Middle Eastern music can last from one to three hours in length, building up to anxiously waited for, and much applauded climaxes, or atrab, deriving from the Arabic term tarraba.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Middle Eastern music" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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