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Andalusian classical music

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Andalusian classical music

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Andalusian classical music is a style of music found across North Africa, though it evolved out of the music of Andalusia between the 9th and 15th centuries. It is now most closely associated with Morocco (al-la), though similar traditions are found in Algeria (Gharnt, and San'a), Tunisia and Libya (al-Maalf).



Andalusian classical music probably evolved during Muslim rule in Cordoba, and the Baghdad-born musician Ziryb (d. 857) is usually credited with its invention. Later, the poet, composer and philosopher Ibn Bjja (d. 1139) of Saragossa is said to have combined the style of Ziryb with Christian Spanish music to produce a wholly new style that spread across Iberia and North Africa. The classical music of Andalusia reached North Africa via centuries of cultural exchange, as well as through mass resettlements of Muslims and Sephardi_Jews from Cordova, Seville, Valencia and Granada, fleeing the Christian Reconquista.


A suite form called the nba forms the basis of al-la. Though it has roots in Andalusia, the modern nba probably is a North African creation. Each nba is dominated by one musical mode. It is said there used to be twenty-four nuba linked to each hour of the day, but in Morocco only eleven nuba have survived, which together include 25 "Andalusian" modes. Each nba is divided into five parts called mzn, each with a corresponding rhythm. The rhythms occur in the following order in a complete nuba:

  1. bast (6/4)
  2. q'im wa nusf (8/4)
  3. btyh (8/4)
  4. darj (4/4)
  5. quddm (3/4 or 6/8)

An entire nuba can last six or seven hours, though this is never done today. Rather, in Morocco usually only one mzn from any given nba is performed at a time.

Each mizan begins with instrumental preludes called either tshiya, m'shaliya or bughya, followed by as many as twenty songs (sana'i) in the entire mizan.

Andalusian classical music orchestras are spread across Morocco, including the cities of Fez, Tetouan, Chaouen, Tangier, Meknes, Rabat and Casablanca.


Andalusian classical music orchestras use instruments including oud (lute), rabab (rebec), darbouka (goblet drums), taarija (tambourine), qann (zither) and kamenjah (violin). More recently, other instruments have been added to the ensemble, including piano, contrabass, cello, and even banjos, saxophones and clarinets, though these latter instruments are rare.

Middle Eastern music
Andalusian - Arabic

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.