University of Alberta Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble
This course will be available for credit in Winter 2022. Enroll using Bear Tracks. The course is not available in 2020-21.
If you are enrolled (or on a waitlist) be sure to fill out this form prior to the first meeting. The first meeting will be for consent, when I will ask everyone to sing or play something. Only those enrolled for credit need attend. The second meeting will be our first proper rehearsal.
Sign up for the MENAME email list.
New members click here for more information about the group. We meet in Studio 27, in the Fine Arts Building, Thursdays at 6:30 - those not taking the course for credit can generally come at 7pm. Here's a map.
MENAME (Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble) (Music 148, 448, 548)
- 1 Overview
- 2 Meeting place and time
- 3 For prospective members
- 4 For members
- 5 Videos and audios online
- 6 Other online resources
- 6.1 MENAME recordings
- 6.2 Regional music links (with audio, notations, bios, etc.)
- 6.3 Theory, ear training, practica
The University of Alberta Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble (MENAME) is a University of Alberta course and a community group for the study and performance of music from Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Berber, Hebrew, Nubian, Kurdish, Armenian, and other musical-linguistic communities of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as fusions thereof. Our aim is to learn and appreciate these musical traditions, to use music as a gateway towards broader intercultural understanding, and as a means of forming and maintaining a harmonious intercultural musical community here in Edmonton, bridging all divisions, especially those of ethnicity, nationality, language, and religion. The course combines academic and performance components. Our repertoire covers various gamuts, from specialized "high art" to participatory folk, from local to regional, from old to new. Besides studying pieces from the region (mostly songs), we also focus on regional musical concepts (tonal and rhythmic) in theory and practice, through a series of in-class exercises developing the ears in new directions.
The group gathers diverse members: musicians interested in traditions of the region; university students studying the region's culture, society and history; members of language communities; and anyone else who wishes to participate. MENAME was founded by director Michael Frishkopf in 2005 as the Arab Music Group; its scope has gradually expanded to include the Middle East and North Africa.
Technically the course is listed under University of Alberta's "open studies" program, and thus is accessible to anyone who wants to enroll. And everyone interested is encouraged to do so. Neither musical training, nor knowledge of musical notation, nor the ability to play an instrument, nor fluency in regional languages is a prerequisite. All I ask is that you make a firm commitment to the group for one full year, and participate with energy and enthusiasm.
Besides regular meetings, there are also various occasions to perform in public. Minimally, I expect all group members to participate in the final concert (see performances link, below).
The course provides 3 course weights per semester and combines performance and academics, the latter including:
- readings and films
- weekly short lectures, films or analytical listening
- a midterm and final, including performance and academic components
Meeting place and time
We meet every Thursday evening, fall and winter terms, usually from 6:30 to 9:30 pm (but sometimes we start later, or end earlier - join the mailing list to be in the know), in Studio 27, Fine Arts Building (FAB) of the University of Alberta campus (between the Timms centre and HUB mall, and next to the bus stop). Studio 27 is just north of the FAB central stairwell, on the second floor. It's on your left as you cross the breezeway from HUB mall to FAB. All are welcome!
For prospective members
MENAME prospective students click here.
Course outlines and schedules
Near Eastern Ensemble tapes (located off-wiki)
Repertoire content (located on-wiki)
Suggestion box. Please feel free to add...
MENAME performance programs: past and present
Links contain schedules; each performance is linked to its program.
Videos and audios online
Vimeo collection (password: emanem)
A night (mainly) in Tunisia! (the 2018 MENAME concert)
Other online resources
YouTube videos of MENA area songs
Performances by MENAME:
Theory, ear training, practica
MENA music theory and practice
MENA = Middle East and North Africa...what follows are the relevant links for music theory.
Michael's resources: PDF files providing basic maqamat and iqa`at (rhythms) for Arab music of Egypt/Levant (with a separate folder for Maghrib)
MaqamWorld: extensive treatment of maqamat, instruments, forms, and iqa`at (durub) (for Egypt and the Levant only)
Maqam Lessons: an excellent theoretical overview, with practical lessons and illustrative analyses
Ja's Middle Eastern Rhythms: detailed treatment of rhythms (you'll find dozens!) featuring a remarkable MIDI rhythm generator that will play any rhythm notated using special symbols to indicate the various drum strokes
Maqam places. The word maqam can mean: a literary genre, a saint's shrine, a musical mode, or a place or rank. And in fact many maqam names come from places. This map shows some of them. (Others -- along with the names of scale degrees -- are derived from the Persian numbers, coming ultimately from Indo-European: yek, doh, se, chehar...)
Western music theory training
introductory music theory, simple introduction to Western music notation, for those who'd like to learn.
Tutorials in music theory: more advanced training in Western music notation and music theory.
Oud for Guitarists, a site designed to teach oud and Arab music to guitarists
Microphone tuner (use it to practice singing quartertones!)
and this new one : http://www.meludia.com/en/