• World Music
  • Arabic

Music of the Arab World
Explore the rich tapestry of Arab music

Lesson Content

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Instruments and Rhythms of the Arab World

To western ears and eyes, musical instruments and of the Arab World may seem exotic. Host Georges Collinet (NPR’s Afropop Worldwide) is joined by scholars and musicians to explore the sounds and history of Arab musical instruments, such as the qanun, the oud, the rebab and the nay. The rhythms and musical tonality that help define the rich sound of Arabic music are explored in this informative podcast.

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What Makes Arabic Music Unique?

Much of what defines the music of the Arab World is the experience, not only for the musician, but also for the listener. In the Arab World, the audience is an active participant, responding to the ornamental and improvisatory offerings of the players, giving vocal feedback while in a state of “musical ecstacy.” Joined by Arabic music scholars and musicians, host Georges Collinet (NPR’s Afropop Worldwide) explores this important bond between musician and audience, and how it creates a unique musical relationship.

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Styles of Music of the Arab World

The Arab World spans the width of North African Maghreb, across the Arabian Peninsula and into the Levant. Centuries of indigenous and nomadic traditions have created a musical cultural tapestry of unique regional styles bound by common themes and ideas. In the 21st Century, Arabic folk music traditions have been confronted with increased globalization, from Egyptian mega-star Umm Kulthum, to the worldwide influence of Western media. Host Georges Collinet (NPR’s Afropop Worldwide) is joined by Arabic musicians to discuss the many styles and future of music of the Arab World.

  • Narrator

    Georges Collinet

  • Audio Producer

    Richard Paul

  • Producer

    Kenny Neal

  • Published

    September 9, 2019

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Kennedy Center Education Digital Learning

Eric Friedman 
Director, Digital Learning

Kenny Neal 
Manager, Digital Education Resources

Tiffany Bryant 
Assistant Manager, Audience Enrichment

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JoDee Scissors 
Content Specialist, Digital Learning

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