The style of singing involved in Arabic music can sometimes be difficult to master. Fear no more though. We are here to give you a brief insight into how you can improve on your Arabic vocals.
For starters, we need to know the different types of melodies that are typically sung under the Arabic vocal dimension. Here are some of them:Melisma:
Also known as ‘melismata’ in plural form, is when a single or syllable of text is sung while moving between several notes, one after the other.
Though in English, the following videos shows us how a melismatic tone can be created. The great thing about Melisma is that it can be used for singing in all languages, as long as the syllable is being stretched over a number of notes.Maqam:
The maqam is an improvisation technique where the singer builds on a scale by defining pitches and patterns. It also involves using habitual phrases and important notes that have been used in past traditions.
The following video shows us ways in which you can achieve this technique.Ajnas:
The maqam consists of at least two scale segments called ajnas, which is the plural form of jins. Jins is derived from the Latin word genus, meaning ‘type’. A jins is either a trichord (three notes), a tetrachord (four notes) or a pentachord (five notes). A maqam usually covers only one octave (usually two ajnas), but can cover more.
The following video gives us an instrumental understanding of how ajnas works. Each segment is played with certain chords to make up a whole set of one maqam. This is exactly how it applies to singing as well.
This was just the basic, but there’s certainly a lot more that goes into becoming a pro at these vocal techniques.
The following are some other short videos on how to emphasize on specific notes/letters to achieve a certain style of singing.
Also, all those who would like to take this a step further and get personal training in learning Arabic singing techniques, here are some courses that are being offered:
Arab Academy of Music:
The AAM is a body of the League of Arab States that focuses on aspects of music throughout the Arab World. Specifically, the AAM aims to develop music teaching and promote Arab instrumental and vocal production.
Skype Sessions for One on One Training:
Singing lessons that focus on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern styles with particular attention given to melismatic use of voice according to different music traditions.
Singing Solo: Discover Your Voice
This is a more general training session to enhance your vocal skills.
Singing Course – Creative Musicianship:
This is a more detailed insight into the many layers of music and singing