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Other titles in the Global Music series:

Music in Egypt: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture Includes CD (Global Music)


Music in Egypt: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture Includes CD (Global Music) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Music in Egypt is one of several case-study volumes that can be used along with Thinking Musically, the core book in the Global Music Series. Thinking Musically incorporates music from many diverse cultures and establishes the framework for exploring the practice of music around the world. It sets the stage for an array of case-study volumes, each of which focuses on a single area of the world. Each case study uses the contemporary musical situation as a point of departure, covering historical information and traditions as they relate to the present. Visit for a list of case studies in the Global Music Series. The website also includes instructional materials to accompany each study.

Music in Egypt provides an overview of the country's rich and dynamic contemporary musical landscape. It offers an in-depth look at specific Egyptian musical traditions, paying special attention to performers and the variety of contexts in which performances occur. The book acknowledges the pervasive presence of Islam by focusing on two Muslim performance genres and by considering the age-old issue of the compatibility of music and Islam. It accomplishes the latter by incorporating the voices of many of the performers featured on the accompanying CD. The volume features a variety of musics that reflect and help to create a number of distinct regional, national, and community identities co-existing in Egypt today.

Drawing on more than twenty years of extensive fieldwork, Scott L. Marcus offers detailed ethnographic documentation of seven performance traditions found in Egypt today: the call to prayer; madh, a genre of Sufi religious music; southern Egyptian mizmar folk music; early twentieth-century takht-based art music; music by the acclaimed singer Umm Kulthum, which dominated the mid-twentieth century; wedding procession music; and music by the current superstar pop singer Hakim. The book is packaged with an 80-minute audio CD containing excellent examples of each tradition. All of the examples are based in a single melodic mode--maqam rast--to best engage students with the musical form, structure, and practice of the traditions. Separate educational tracks on the CD introduce maqam rast and the variety of rhythms found in the CD examples. In addition, the CD features a special solo improvisation (taqasim) in maqam rast by UCLA professor Ali Jihad Racy, to help students better understand this particular melodic mode.

Enhanced by eyewitness accounts of performances, interviews with performers, listening examples, and song lyrics that enable students to interact with the text, Music in Egypt provides a unique and hands-on introduction to the country's diverse and captivating music.

Table of Contents



CD Track List

1. The Call to Prayer: A Communal Endeavor

The Enduring Tradition

Giving the Call to Prayer

A Community of Callers

Responses to the Call: An Interactive Phenomenon


Mass-Mediated Broadcasts of the Call to Prayer

An Uneasy Juxtaposition

The Melodic Aspect of the Call to Prayer

2. The Eastern Arab Medodic Modes: The Maqamat

Melodic Texture

Arab Melodic Theory

The Scale System: Pitches and Intervals

Maqam Rast in Modern Arab Music Theory



Maqam Rast in Performance



Melodic Leaps

Use of Multiple Upper Tetrachords

A Characteristic Progression through a Maqam's Defining Features

CD Track 33: A Taqasim by Ali Jihad Racy

A Region for Beginning the Performance of a Maqam

A Characteristic Manner of Progressing through the Rest of the Maqam

A Special Shape for the Islamic Call to Prayer


3. Madh: A Genre of Sufi Religious Music

The Instruments in a Madh Ensemble

A Coffeehouse Context

A Sufi Zikr Context

Public Zikrs

Movement and Chanting at Zikr Rituals

A Weekly Zikr at the Mosque of Sidi 'Ali

Music in a Madh Cycle

Madh Mawwal Texts

Instrumental Passages

Features Shared among Many Eastern Arab Music Traditions

4. The Eastern Arab Rhythmic Modes

Skeletal Structures: Maqsum, Masmudi Saghir, and Sa'idi

Ornamenting the Rhythms in Performance

A Variety of Takk Sounds

Other Rhythms

Wahda and Zaffa

Malfuf and Sa'udi



Additional Region-Specific or Culture-Specific Rhythms

Changes Over Time

5. Upper Egyptian Folk Music for Weddings and Festivals: Mizmar Ensembles

A Mizmar Ensemble at an Upper Egyptian Wedding

The Ensemble


The Repertoire

Solo Instrumental Improvisation

The Songs "Kan 'Andi Ghazal" and "Sama'ti Yom Rannit Khulkhal"

Male Stick Dancing at Weddings

Sa'idi Mizmar at Saint's-Day Festivals

Male Stick Dancing at Saint's-Day Festivals

Sa'idi Mizmar / Tabl Baladi in Government Folk-Music Ensembles

"Gypsies"? A Shared Middle Eastern Tradition

Sa'idi Mizmar Music: Unique, Yet Partaking of a Shared Musical Tradition

6. Islam and Music: Is Music Haram?

The Highest Authorities: The Qur'an and the Hadith

Different Contexts/Different Rulers

Sufis: Developing the "Art of Listening"

The Sama' Polemic in Present-Day Cairo

Voices of Performers on the Accompanying CD

Other Voices in Present-Day Cairo

Maintaining a Separation between the Human and the Divine

7. Art Music of the Late-Nineteenth/Early-Twentieth Centuries: Takht Ensembles

From Takht to Firqa Ensembles

The Takht Ensemble

The Creation of a New Large Ensemble: The Firqa

The Takht Repertoire: The Wasla Suite Form

Reviving the Past

Creating a Takht Recording: CD Tracks 9-19

The Items in Tracks 9-19

The Improvisatory Genres: Taqasim, Layali, and Mawwal


Two Mawals

The Instrumental Dulab and Sama'i Genres

Two Precomposed Song Genres

The Taqtuqa "il-Bahr Nayim"

A Muwashshah

The Wasla as a Composite Sociocultural Entity

The Tarab Aesthetic

8. Art Music of the Mid-Twentieth Century: Umm Kulthum and the Long-Song Tradition

A New Superstar Emerges

The Development of New Mass Media

The New Ughniya (Long Song) Genre

Umm Kulthum's New Directions

Umm Kulthum's Ensemble

Other Famous Ughniya Singers

Performances Videoed and Then on Television

Umm Kulthum's Last Years

The Umm Kulthum Song, "Aruh Li Min," on CD Tracks 20-22

The Hall, The Stage

The Instrumental Introduction (Muqaddima)

Umm Kulthum Begins to Sing: The Vocal Refrain

The Poetic Text

Maqam Rast

9. Zaffa (Wedding Procession) Music

A Zaffa Band's Performance at a Five-Star Hotel

The Creation of the New Dumyati Zaffa Ensemble

The Sharqiyya Mizmar

Three Categories of Zaffa Ensemble Members

The Unique Sharqiyya Mizmar Style of Playing

Zaffa Songs

Maqam Rast and a Variety of Rhythms

Beyond Zaffa Performances

A Sharqiyya Mizmar Player's Life Story

10. Present-Day Pop Music: Hakim and the Sha'bi and Shababi Genres

A Wedding Performance

A Typical Performance Schedule

The Band

The Sha'bi and Shababi Pop-Music Genres

Hakim's Rise to Fame

The Early Years

Muhammad 'Ali Street, a Historic Center for Musicians

Shameful, but Not Haram


"Modern Sha'bi"

An International Vision


Creating a Sha'bi Song

Adding a Sha'bi Feel to the Three Traditional Components

The Arranger, a New Fourth Component

"il-Kalam Da Kabir" (CD Track 26)

Continuity and Change





Product Details

Marcus, Scott
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Scott L.
Scott L. Marcus
History & Criticism - General
Music | World Music, Ethnomusicology
Music -- Egypt -- History and criticism.
Music - Social aspects - Egypt
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology
Edition Description:
Global Music Series
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
43 illus. and 2 maps
8.22x5.52x.46 in. .62 lbs.

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Music in Egypt: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture Includes CD (Global Music) New Trade Paper
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