MofA Weeks 7, 8: Music and Media

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Modern urban tarab music of the 20th century (al-jadid): the transformation of the turath and the rise of "Arab music"


  • Quizzes.
  • Week 6 assignment - El Mastaba and ethnography project descriptions : only 5 people submitted! Everything submitted looks great, but everyone should submit so I can see that you're on track.
  • Ethnography projects: if you attend a performance, what should you do? You need to broaden your frame beyond simply sitting in the audience (ordinary participation). Essentially you need to take on the ethnographer's observational role, while simulating the ordinary participant's role. This is called "participant observation".
  • Zotero annotations: focus on scholarly secondary source works (books and articles by scholars) rather than popular sources. Be sure to sign your annotations!

Egypt: Factors and impact of transformation (from the 19th c through the 20th)

  • Historical overview of this transitional period:
    • Egypt was typically under foreign rule after the Pharaonic period
    • Ottomans conquered Egypt in 1517, taking over the Mamluke dynasties that had prevailed since the 13th century.
    • French campaign of 1798 defeated the Ottomans and stamped the region indelibly with French influence, though the occupation lasted just 3 years
    • Muhammad Ali, an Ottoman officer (originally Albanian) took control in 1805 and ruled Egypt nearly independently until 1848, taking on the title "Khedive"
    • The next significant figure was the Khedive Ismail, who oversaw the construction of the Suez Canal and the Cairo Opera House.
    • But Ismail also squandered Egypt's wealth; his family were seen as foreigners.
    • Ahmed Urabi led a revolt against Khedivial power (1879-1882) until suppressed by a British invasion
    • Thus in 1882 Egypt came under de facto British power
    • British soldiers stirred resentment in the population (e.g. the Dinshawy incident (1906), which became the subject of folk song.
    • Nationalism continued to build, along with a nascent Islamism, two ideologies that continued to compete in the region, to the present.
    • Egypt became nominally independent with the 1922 constitution but real independence didn't come until 1952 with the revolution of the Free Officers when Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power.


  • Musical commodification (concert halls, music media) and commercialism, e.g. Cairo's Opera House (opened 1869) and 19th century music halls around Ezbekiyyeh Gardens (1880 photo), which had been developed before the 19th century (under the Ottomans), but was renovated in the European style by the Khedive Ismail.
  • Rise of music mass media (phonograms from 1904, radio in the 1920s, musical film in the 1930s)
  • Nationalist movements and moves towards independence (partly due to mass media, leading to government control, nationalist agendas, increased influence of Egyptian music, new concepts of "Arab music")
  • Increased Western influence (via media, politics): military bands (19th century), elite music making (piano), larger ensembles in the European style (orchestras with conductor)
  • Decline of the kuttab (trad. religious school) and rise of European-style and public education
  • Presence of foreign soldiers (patronizing nightclubs), rise of cabaret music
  • Rise of Islamist (political Islamic) groups, rejecting much of the aesthetic Islamic heritage, and especially secular music
  • Advent of formal musical training via music institutes and conservatories: standardization, reduction in reliance on the ear and improvisation.
  • Urbanization: much larger populations begin to support commercial music-making
  • Cairo becomes the primary commercial center, drawing talent from across the Arab world, and exporting music and music films everywhere
  • Technology as modernity becomes attractive, displacing the "old fashioned" tradition.
  • New public role for women: appearance of female singer in public, women owners of nightclubs and cabarets. Women's increased role in the performing arts: as singers, dancers, actresses (but not as instrumentalists).
  • Increased centrality of conductors, composers and arrangers. Singers become merely singers, rather than leaders, or blend into an anonymous chorus.
  • Shorter songs (for phonograms and films)
  • Longer songs (for mid-20th century tarab tradition): the ughniya (song) of Umm Kulthum and others, representing rise of the composer; often featuring lengthy instrumental sections, perhaps condensing the old "wasla" form into a single piece.
  • Rise of musical stardom, visual music; increased emphasis on physical appearance, with musical films (and later "video clips")
  • Decline in traditional tarab and traditional repertoire, considered old-fashioned, media unfriendly, and unprofitable (except when revived, esp. for nationalist purposes)
  • Rise of conservatories, music notation, larger ensembles, and mediated music also limit tarab by reducing performer flexibility and constraining performer/audience interactions
  • New bifurcation: separation of urban religious and urban secular musics, along with a new kind of mixing--rural and urban:
    • Formerly religious and secular were tightly intertwined. With new forms of music education and new Islamism this connection is undone. Musicians no longer start out in the kuttab; music figures less prominently in religious devotions.
  • New fusions:
    • Uptake of folk musics into elite-production urban commercial popular music (as a form of representation): for instance, in films depicting village scenes, and the common use of folk music in bellydancing suites (from the 1930s)
    • Use of folk music in Egyptian "classical" music (parallel to nationalist use of folk elements elsewhere, e.g. Chopin, Grieg, Sibelius, Bartok...)
    • Development of popular musics drawing on working class music, with the advent of popular-production urban commercial music that emerged with the cassette (1970s)
    • Uptake of commercial popular musics into rural folk and religious music via radio, with technological development in the villages: for instance, Shaykh Yasin al-Tuhami (Sufi singer) will often include excerpts from songs by Umm Kulthum
    • Uptake of Western musics (e.g. Latin music, French chanson, classical) into secular entertainment music, via the mass music media

Music in 19th century Egypt and Levant

Early 19th century

  • Documentation in the pre-media era. Early 19th century Egypt is relatively well-documented, at least from an outsider (French) perspective, in the massive "Description de l'Égypte", an enormous research project begun upon French conquest 1798-1801 (Egypt was formerly ruled by the Ottomans), sponsored by Emperor Napoleon I (1769-1821) and staffed by some 160 civilian scholars and scientists from France. The project, covering all aspects of Egypt from natural topography to history (ancient to present) and culture, resulted in a lengthy multivolume publication illustrated by meticulously prepared plates.
  • Within this work, music culture was presented by Guillaume André Villoteau in "De l'état actuel de l'art musical en Égypte" (État moderne [text], v. 1, p. 607-846); "Description historique, technique et littéraire, des instrumens de musique des Orientaux" (v. 1, p. 847-1012). See: [1], [2] (refer to "Modern State" volumes).
  • Extremely detailed plates from Description de l'Egypte, along with musical transcription, description, and analysis, provide much information on the instrumentarium of the day.
  • A few decades later, Edward Lane (1801-1876) provided further documentation of musical life in Egypt in the 1830s in his "Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians" (PDF). A fully electronic version is available as well. He too prepared detailed engravings to accompany his book, as well as transcriptions of songs.
  • Naturally these sources need to be read critically, in view of the orientalist, Eurocentric, and colonialist attitudes of the day, but they are remarkable sources nonetheless. [NB: check these sources for any foreshadowing of types represented in El Mastaba's groups]
  • History. In the first part of the 19th c, different musics were associated with minority ethnic categories, including Turks, Armenians, Ethiopians, Copts, Jews, and ghawazi (female dancers).
  • Yet the majority ethnicity is not qualified as Arab (which word refers to the Beduins).
  • “Majority” music is distinguished by gender and functional criteria: music of the alatiyya (male professional musicians), `awalim (female professional musicians), munshidin (Islamic singers), and shu`ara’ (epic singers).
  • Military music appears to have been an extension of the Ottoman Janissary tradition. (Lane, 1836; Racy, 1977:19-26; Villoteau, 1812).
  • But during this period European-style modernization emerged too, driven by the modernizing Ottoman (Albanian) ruler Muhammad Ali Pasha (r. 1805-1848), who established several music schools to teach European military music (El-Shawan, 1985), and organized educational missions to Europe.

Latter 19th century

  • Latter half of the 19th c was quite different. It is ironically to this period of tremendous change that one can most directly trace the contemporary "turath" or Arab musical heritage. This is partly due to modernity, especially technology - late 19th century music was the first to be recorded - and partly because the social status of music--as part of an "Arab renaissance" (nahda) was greatly elevated by elite patronage at a time of nationalist sentiment, with which it blended easily, eventually becoming "Arab music" (al-musiqa al-arabiyya), though this term was not current in Arabic until the 1930s.
  • Rise of the Arab Nahda ("renaissance") characterized primarily as a literary movement, the establishment of Arabic printing presses, and thus the rise of Arab nationalism along Benedict Anderson's concept of "imagined community". The wheels had been set in motion already by Muhammad Ali with establishment of a press at Boulaq, and sending delegations to Europe, but the process bore fruit later. There was a musical component as well - but fraught, torn between tradition and modernity.
  • Muhammad Ali's grandson, the Khedive Ismail (r. 1863-1879), patronized European music, building an Opera House (opened 1869) to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal, with a performance of Verdi's new opera, "Rigoletto" (Aida had been scheduled, but was not completed in time).
  • But Ismail also patronized the great Arabic singers and composers of his day, most famously `Abdu al-Hamuli (1843-1901), Almaz (1860-1896), and Shaykh Yusuf al-Manyalawi (1847-1911).
  • Al-Hamuli and al-Manyalawi traveled to Istanbul, where they absorbed Ottoman influence.
  • Arabic singing flourished at the Khedivial court, where a new art style, known as maghna, developed, featuring a uniquely Egyptian vocal form, the dawr (later reinterpreted as a fixture of turath) as well as Ottoman influence, displayed in the Turkish instrumental genres of sama`i and bashraf, new melodic modes (Rizk, 1936), and a compound form (wasla) comparable to the Turkish fasil.
  • Mikha’il Mishaqa (1800-1888) was a key figure. Mishaqa was one of the first intellectuals to view Mount Lebanon as a territorial unit, calling for a new kind of regional identity which would transcend religious difference. Mashaqa’s biographical details are typical of secular Arabism. He was born into a middle-class Greek Melkite Syrian family, wealthy through commerce with Europe. Mashaqa’s polymathy included music, both practical and theoretical. A careful reading of his musical discourse reveals new concepts of ethnic identity.
  • His Risala al-Shihabiyya fi al-Sina`a al-Musiqiyya (translated by Eli Smith in 1847), although ostensibly concerned with age-old topics, marks a radical break with traditional theory in Arabic writings.
  • First, he is one of the first to implicitly formulate an ethnically differentiated concept of “Arab music”, via the introduction of contrastive pairs: the contemporary “Arab scale” is compared to the “Greek scale”, the “Arabs” to the “Greeks” and “Franks” (ifranj), and the mode “Nehuft of the Arabs” to “Nehuft of the Turks” (Mashaqa & Smith, 1847:178, 182, 185).
  • Secondly, he is widely known for attempting to formulate an equal-tempered quarter-tone scale. This formulation sharply contrasts with medieval Islamicate music theory, as developed by philosophers such as al-Kindi (d. 870), al-Farabi (d. 950), Ibn Sina (d. 1037), and Safi al-Din al-Urmawi (d. 1294), in which scales are defined by integer-ratio intervals, in the ancient Greek tradition. Through missionary schools and churches, the modern Syrians were introduced to modern European equal temperament, which enables unlimited transposition.
  • Following his teacher, Shaykh Muhammad al-`Attar, and anticipating the Arab-Euro spirit of nahda, Mashaqa sought to systematize and advance traditional Arab music along European lines while preserving its character. by promulgating a quartertone scale with 24 roughly equal steps to the octave.
  • In doing so he established the basis for much contemporary Arab music theory, while marking its separation from Turkish and Persian theory. Thus in Mashaqa’s equal temperament one can at once read signs of European influence and a clear break from the music (hence culture) of the “Orient”, while maintaining authentic Arab character: the synthesis of modernization and traditionalism which was the signature of the new Arabism.
  • Musical theater. An important outcome of the Arab nahda was the rise of Arab musical theater, pioneered by the Syrian Ahmad Abu Khalil al-Qabbani (ca. 1884), influenced by translation of French dramas into Arabic. Many Syrian performers moved to Egypt, featuring a less conservative musical atmosphere. Here, al-Qabbani taught the founder of Egyptian musical theater, Shaykh Salama al-Hijazi (1852-1917), who had also absorbed opera performances at Cairo’s Opera House (Zaki, :125-7) With the success of his theatrical troupe in the 1910s, musical theater became very popular in Egypt. Salama al-Hijazi influenced Sayyid Darwish, who developed the art further, incorporating Mediterranean European influence. The new musical theater was at first subsumed under regional identities (e.g. “Egyptian music”); only later did it become absorbed as a key component of al-musiqa al-`arabiyya.
  • This period also witnessed the rise of star female singers, epitomized in the celebrated Almaz, who performed at the Khedivial court, just as Dananeer had done in Baghdad centuries earlier.
  • Late 19th c witnessed rise of nationalism in opposition to royal rule, co-opted by the British from the 1880s. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Shaykh Muhammad Abduh were critical figures in the formulation of this opposition, and nascent nationalisms proceeded from there.
  • During this period of turath formulation the music was generally called "musiqa sharqiyya" (eastern music) and counterposed to "ifranji" ("Frankish") or "gharbi" ("Western") music.
  • Watching the film "Almaz and Abdu al-Hamuli" one witnesses all these trends, as interpreted in mid-20th century Egyptian cinema.
  • Latter 19th century music: roles, styles, genres
    • Rural folk music
    • urban art music in Cairo: wasla suite (balancing instrumental/vocal, solo/group, composed/improvised)
      • Alatiyya - male (e.g. Abdu al-Hamuli)
      • Awalim - female (e.g. Almaz)
      • vocal forms
        • qasida
        • muwashshah
        • dawr
        • layali/mawwal
      • instrumental forms: Ottoman influence
        • Dulab
        • Samai, Peshrev
        • Taqasim

20th century Media representations of socio-musical transformations

  • Almaz and Abdu al-Hamuli (film 1962 starring Warda and Adel Mamoun, setting circa 1862): the true love story about two famous singers, musical developments in the khedevial court (rise of female singers, royal patronage, connection to Istanbul) in light of emergent Egyptian nationalism and nascent Islamism. Watch the opening scenes and read the accompanying text. Abdu al-Hamuli, Almaz, and Shaykh Yusuf al-Manyalawi are all mentioned, along with Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, and the corrupt Khedive Ismail, squandering the country's money. The whole can be taken as an allegory for Egypt's 1952 revolution, with King Faruq taking the place of Ismail...

  • Midaq Alley (Zuqaq al-Midaq, 1947; film produced in 1963 starring Shadia, setting 1940s): film version of Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz' famous novel (by which he's said to have won the Nobel prize) about transformations to Egyptian culture in the 1940s. Watch the film from 15:00. Note scene depicting transformations to cafe culture, formerly the scene for live musical performance. The radio replacing the traditional performer (sha`ir, performer of poetic epics such as the Sira Hilalaliyya (see week 6)) receives a royal position, high up, from which it displaces the traditional performer...with a performance of the same Sira! (Note: the 1994 film starring Salma Hayek adapts Mahfouz's novel to Mexico)

The turath continues to reverberate, modulated by forces of change, throughout the 20th century

Transformations in the early 20th century

Overview: New musical trends from early to mid 20th c

The emergence of Arab music (a paper in progress by MF): In the 20th century (precisely the period most excluded by Touma) "Arab music" is first defined and recognized as a recognized musical category, style, repertoire, and type. The first true pan-Arab music can only exist with publication of cylinders and 78s, later reinforced by radio and musical film.

Mass media and commodification work in parallel with forces of nationalism towards a musical expression of Arabism that is widely heard, and which even shapes the formation of nationalisms (similar to mass dissemination of print media in the 19th century, all of which can be interpreted along the lines of Benedict Anderson's theory of "Imagined Community"). Such music creates "common feeling" - feeling that is shared, and that everyone feels is shared. Thus certain musical figures (such as Umm Kulthum) unite a region. This was never true in the past - the ordinary farmer didn't know anything about music in the court of Harun al-Rashid!

Music is closely tied to formation of imagined communities, and Arab music is closely tied to formations of Arab nationalism (from local nationalisms - Egyptian, Moroccan, Syrian, etc. to "pan-Arabism")

However music's effects are a bit more complex than print for a few reasons:

  • oral/aural domain
  • multiple musical "dialects" in the region (at least 5, broadly speaking: N. Africa, Egypt, Levant, Iraq, Gulf)
  • multiple levels of music (urban/rural and class distinctions): "turath", modern song, "folk"
  • use of classical language (fus-ha) decreases in the 20th c, and thus divisions among traditions increase - exacerbated by local production (esp. cassettes)
  • less discursively explicit - music typically doesn't make referential assertions
  • emotional ambiguity, non-discursivity - music contains multiple dimensions of sound, whose effects are powerful but perhaps less predictable than text
  • TV music introduces further regional distinctions based on dress, image

Directions of change are multiple - factors can be traced to economic conditions and media technologies, within broader political frame. Shifting media with multiple effects.

  • ensembles: small (takht) shift: from really small (mechanical recordings) to large (radio and musical film orchestras) to small again (popular music)
  • length: long (wasla) to very short (cylinders) to longer (film, radio, LP) to very long (radio) to short (pop format)
  • Westernization increasing
  • Rise of public female singing stars
  • Rise in importance of composer (and later conductor and arranger) as roles distinct from singer.
  • Decline in role of improvisation or free interpretation.
  • Detachment of popular music from religious recitation traditions
  • Decline in use of full system of maqam and iqaa`
  • Decline then rise of free market forces (which reached nadir during the socialist periods - in Egypt the 50s and 60s - then returned from the 70s onward)

Abstractions of media system and social system will be presented below...

The early media age

  • phonograms from 1904: foreign companies mainly (Gramophone Company), but also the Lebanese Baidaphone.
  • radio, from 1920s
  • musical cinema, from 1930s to 60s

Songs recorded on Cylinders and 78 rpm phonogram discs

Musical film songs

Related to earlier musical theater. Shorter, fitting dramatic action, but also heard and watched (with TV) out of context. Thus, precursors to the contemporary "video clip"... Most singers performed both types, performing in concert halls, on radio, and in film.

The first musical film was Unshudat al-Fu’ad (starring Nadra and Shaykh Zakariya Ahmad) in 1932; shortly thereafter came Al-Warda al-Bayda, starring Muhammad Abdel Wahhab; one of the films famous songs, Gafnuhu allam al-ghazal (His eyelids flirted) exhibits his modernism in its Latin rhythms, while also demonstrating complete command of the turath.

TobaFilm version Abdel Halim Hafez (from the 1955 film, "Days and Nights")

Ghanni ya albiFilm Farid al-Atrash

Large orchestras, short songs.

Long songs broadcast on radio (later recorded in studios, released in edited form on LP)

  • Rise of the "long song" (ughniya), 15-30 minutes, and longer with repeats in concert, with multiple sections, including instrumentals
  • Essentially the wasla becomes a single multisectional song
  • Long introductions (overtures)
  • Bigger orchestras (firqa)
  • Centrality of composer - distinct from singers (though singer maintains importance, unlike the orchestrated turath that follows)
  • Use of tarab's musical dimensions (maqam, iqaa`, instrumentation, melodic principles) together with other "colors" (alwan) - folk, western, religious - creating a complex overlay
  • Little improvisation
  • New "mediated tarab" style (Racy's "central domain")

Umm Kulthum:

Abdel Wahhab:

كل ده كان ليه لما شفت عنيه الكرنك الجندول النهر الخالد آخر أغنية لمحمد عبد الوهاب في فيلم كانت في ١٩٤٧ لكن أغانيه اللي فوق دي مش في أفلام لو كنت محتاج اللنك قول لي

Qalbi biyuul kalam[3] Muhammad Abdel Wahhab

Growth of commodification

  • New musical venues
  • Greater prominence of female stars
  • Music (as tickets or media) enters system of exchange
  • Legal framework regulating music as intellectual property
  • Primary force before and after Arab nationalism (1940s-1960s)

Rise of "Arab music" as a concept

Transformation from "oriental music" (al-musiqa al-sharqiya) to "Arab music" (al-musiqa al-`Arabiyya):

  • Mikha’il Mishaqa 1800-1888 and modernization of the scale system (24 quartertones) as distinctively "Arab"
  • 19th c Nahda: emergence of elite Arab literature, Music
  • new nationalism, Arabism (tension: modernizing, conserving)
  • New Media: phonograms (1904), radio (1920s, Egyptian Radio in 1934), musical film; publication of books
  • Rise of elite amateur musicians, who founded new institutes: Oriental Music Club (1914), which became the Royal Oriental Music Institute.
  • 1932 Arab Music Conference, hosted by the Royal Oriental Music Institute.
    • See CEDEJ volume (will circulate in class), and Thomas article.
    • Delegations attended the Conference from all regions of the Arabic-speaking world (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia) and Turkey, along with famous European composers and musicologists (Sachs, Bartok, Hindemith, Farmer and others).
    • Aimed (according to the Proceedings) to revive the Arab musical past, safeguard its present, and assure that it advance towards the future, hoping for Arab music to achieve the perfection and refinement of Western Music.
    • Arab scholars sought a more modern Arab music, grounded in the past, but emulating the West in aesthetic and scientific advancement. By contrast, European scholars were less enthusiastic about imposing change, upholding the importance of folk traditions. Seven committees advanced specific agendas: scales, maqam, iqa`, preservation, education, advancement of instruments. Musicians were recorded but not encouraged to participate intellectually.
    • The Conference resulted in print publications and over 175 recorded discs.
    • Conference publications issued in Arabic and French.
    • Congress recordings: Short documentary. Hear: Gharnati music from AlgeriaIraqi maqam chalghi Baghdadi ensembleMuhammad Qubanchi of IraqIraqi qanun taqsimOther Iraqi maqam examples. A number of recordings of the original discs have now been published.
    • Upon the return of delegations to their home countries, the idea of an “Arab music” reverberated elsewhere. Thus were founded the Andalusian Music Society in Morocco, the Musul Society in Algeria, the Rashidiyya in Tunis (1934), the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, and Music Institutes in Damascus, Beirut, and Aleppo (al-Mahdi, 1979:5).
    • Following its establishment in 1945, the Arab League established the Majma` al-`Arabi li al-Musiqa (Arab Academy for Music), charged primarily with Arab music research.

Transformations in the latter 20th century

New Media

  • TV 1950s-60s
  • Cassette tape 1970s
  • VHS tapes 1980s
  • Satellite TV, CDs 1990s
  • Internet, mobile phone 2000s

The turath: reconstitution, continuity

  • Turath of 19th c becomes a kind of silent symbol of the Arab nation - little heard, but important for what it represents. However it subdivides, not only due to variations across the Arab world, but also because it serves a slightly different purpose for each nation state.
    • Thus Tunisia establishes the Rashidiyya (an institute for preserving and reviving the traditional Andalusian ma'luf)
    • Egypt establishes the Firqat al-Musiqa al-Arabiyya (Arab Music Group) for traditional 19th century Egypt forms: muwashshah, qasida, dawr.
    • These national revivals are ideological as well as musical.
  • "Turath": defined, redefined...reflected, refracted, modernized...reverberating through time and space, recasting sound, remapping meaning, still vibrant...
  • Turath in Media: often visually more than auditorily authentic. For instance, we've seen the films:
    • Dananir (1940 representation of 8th c Baghdad, and the musical court of Harun al-Rashid, with Ibrahim al-Mawsili)
    • Almaz and Abdu al-Hamuli (1962 representation of the 1860s and the dawr performed at the Khedive's court)
    • Midaq Alley (1963 representation of 1940s Cairo, the old sha`ir and the new radio)
  • Loci of musical continuity

Techno-political history from independence (1952) to present: Egypt

(with implications for music culture)

  • Nasser years: 1952-1970
    • 1952 independence - Gamal Abdel Nasser
    • King Faruq expelled, British leave
    • Patronized the young Abdel Halim Hafez
    • (Umm Kulthum briefly eclipsed, then restored)
    • Soviet alliance, High Dam project
    • Ideology of Arab socialism
    • Expands range and scope of radio in support of Egypt-centric pan-Arabism
    • 1960 television established in Egypt
    • Media (radio, TV, newspapers) are centralized, government-owned, censored and curated (e.g. "listening committees")
    • 1967 stunning defeat by Israel
    • 1970 Nasser dies
  • Sadat years: 1970-1981
    • 1970 Anwar Sadat becomes president
    • economic "opening: (infitah), shift to US alliance, privatization, free market forces, imports
    • 1973 Sinai war with Israel
    • 1973 Gulf oil embargo
    • Removal of travel restrictions
    • Migrant labor in (now oil rich) Gulf, influence of Gulf values and culture & influx of money, consumer goods
    • New consumerism
    • Cassette technology transforms music scene: enabling, localizing
    • 1970s Decline of tarab stars (Umm Kulthum d. 1975, Farid al-Atrash d. 1974, Abdel Halim d. 1977, Abdel Wahab d. 1991)
    • 1975+ TVs, radios, cassette players proliferate
    • Gradual decline of rural oral music culture as villages are electrified
    • Rise of Arab pop songs (shababi, sha`bi) centered on small ensemble
      • Shababi: westernized ensemble and sound (drums, bass, guitars, synth, Arab percussion, kawala; sometimes with bowed strings)
      • Sha`bi: more Arab elements (Arab percussion, synth...)
      • Largely gone: Arab stringed instruments (oud, qanun)
    • Musical censorship: raqaba ala al-musannafat al-fanniya (sex, politics, religion)
    • Imprisonment of many intellectuals and leftists, repression of political music
    • Rise of Islamism in Egypt, decline of the Left
    • 1979 Peace treaty with Israel
    • 1981 Sadat assassinated
  • Mubarak years 1981-present
    • 1981 Muhammad Hosni Mubarak becomes president
    • liberalization of press and culture
    • Clampdown on militant Islam in late 80s and 90s
    • TVs, radios, cassette players become even more widespread
    • early 1990s: private satellite TV covering Arabic-speaking region
    • mid 1990s: Internet
    • late 1990s: mobile phone networks
    • rise of the "video clip"
    • shift back to visual music
    • Decline of top-down pan-Arab ideology; new pan-Arabism emerges out of satellite broadcasts
    • Rise of "civil society" layer of music, neither government nor excessively commerical including folk (e.g. El Mastaba, Makan) but also new popular (promoted at venues like El Sawy), e.g. [ Wust al-Balad band.
  • Revolution: turbulence

Shifts in the pan-Arab music network

New Egyptian popular music: songs, styles, genres...from the late 70s to present

Cassettes freed production, removing restrictions of the government-controlled production (radio, TV, Sawt al-Qahira) and their "listening committees". Productions moved to become more commercial and reflect (more than shape) popular taste. High-end controlled by larger companies (up to Rotana), while productions by smaller producers also became possible. Each country develops local production along these lines (e.g. Rai music in Algeria) but Egypt continues to dominate the pan-Arab airwaves, accentuated with the rise of satellite TV in the 90s.

  • Sha`bi music: urban modern folk - drawing on lower class urban music.

Hakim, a slicker sha`bi, is a kind of crossover between the two categories.

New styles:

New modes of production

Production companies...produce cassettes/CDs/DVDs, mp3 CDs, downloadable songs, video clips, TV shows, ring tones, films...

New modes of bootlegging: copying mp3 files...decline of music media (cassette, CD, DVD)