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Moroccan Music & Artists > Andalusian Music - Morocco's Classical Music
Travel To Morocco & Experience Andulsian Music, Morocco's Classical Music
classical music originated from the Arab-Andalusian tradition. It is said that Andalusian classical music evolved in the 9th
century in the Emirate of Cordoba (Al-Andalus) which was ruled by the Moors. The outstanding Iraqi
musician from Baghdad Abu Hassan Ali Ben Nafi, known as Ziryab, (“Le Merle or “The Blackbird”) is credited with its invention. It is said that Ziryab fled Baghdad in the 9th century following rumors spread by his teacher, Ishaq al-Mawsili, who became jealous of his success.
One of Ziryab greatest innovations was the founding of the classical suite called nuba, musical suites that are the foundation of Arabic classical music, which forms what is now known as Andalous music. Other classical traditions are al-Milhûn, indigenous to Morocco
, in Algeria (Gharnâtî, and San'a), Tunisia and Libya (al-Maaluf) which each have their own distinctive styles.Andalusian classical music is now most closely associated with Morocco (al-Âla).
The classical music of Andalusia reached North Africa via centuries of cultural exchange, the Almohad dynasty and then the Marinid dynasty being present both in Al-Andalus and in Morocco and most of North Africa. Mass resettlements of Mulims and Sephardi Jews from Cordoba, Sevilla, Valencia and Granada, fleing the Reconquista, further expanded the reach of Andalusian music. The musical and poetic traditions of those who fled have been preserved in Morocco and other Maghreb countries.
Andalusian classical music orchestras are spread across Morocco, including the cities of Fes, Tetouan, Chefchaouen, Tangier, Meknes, Rabat, and Casablanca. A number of musical instruments used in Western Music are believed to have been derived from Andalusian musical instruments: the lute was derived from the alud, the rebec (ancestor of violin) from the rebab, the guitar from qitara, naker from naqareh, aduf from al-duff, alboka from al-buq, anafil from al-nafir, exabeba from al-shabbaba (flute), atabal (bass drum) from al-tabl, atambal from al-tinbal, the balaban, the castanat from kasatan, sonajas de azofar from sunuj al-sufr, the conical bore wind instruments ,the xelami from the sulami or fistula (flute or musical pipe, the shawm and dulzaina from the reed instruments zamr and al-zuma, the gaita from the ghaita, rackett from iraqya or iraqiyya, the harp and zither from the qanun, canon from qanun, geige (violin) from ghichak, and the orbo from the tarab.
The Orchestra of Tangier is an Andalusian musical group that is well respected today and has travelled throughout Morocco and the USA.The Orchestra of Tangier is led by violist Ahmed Zaitouni, who founded Tangier’s leading conservatory and is among the last living legends of Moroccan Andalusian music.
Ahmed Zaitouni has spent his lifetime preserving and performing the nubas, a collection of instrumental and vocal suites that migrated from Spain during the Christian Reconquista. The Orchestra of Tangier has 16 members. On tour, this ensemble typically performs excerpts from Nubas (instrumental and vocal suites) with master musicians on rebab, lute, violin, viola, tambourine and goblet drum.
Zaitouni is one of the style's most respected masters within Moroccan Andalusian music. The Orchestra of Tangier is known for their groundbreaking collaborations in the 1980s with the flamenco singer El Lebrijano and Serghini's late 1990s work with the Spanish multi-instrumentalist Luis Delgado.
The Andalusian courts were international centers of science, philosophy and literature, and the music Zaitouni plays today was a source of the European Renaissance. For example, Serghini will sing several muwashshahat, the lyrical celebrations of love, wine and nature that inspired the French troubadours.
A troubador is a composer of medieval lyric poetry. Ezra Pound, in his Canto VIII, famously declared that William of Aquitaine "had brought the song up out of Spain / with the singers and veils..." referring to the troubadour song. In his study, Lévi-Provençal is said to have found four Arabo-Hispanic verses nearly or completely recopied in William's manuscript. According to historic sources, William VIII, the father of William, brought to Poitiers hundreds of Muslim prisoners. It is said that the troubadours derived their sense of form and even the subject matter of their poetry from the Andalusian Muslims.