Lent 2013 Day 11: The Arabic-Byzantine cocktail :)

There are many similarities between the Byzantine tones and Arabic Music especially when it comes to tones that use scales with uneven distances between the steps of the scale versus western music scales that have equal distances.

Aside from theories and the proper melodies of Byzantine chant, there is great room for creative mixing between the two. Actually, sometimes I feel it is impossible for us Arabic speakers to ignore this influence and some gestures we introduce by default in our chanting without giving it much thought.

Fr. Nicola Malik is a pioneer in the Arabization of byzantine chants and composition of Arabic church music. Furthermore, his book “Sonooj Al Tahleel” meaning Cymbals of Joy contains most of the Psalms set in Byzantine Notation and some contain Arabic music motifs. Here is Fr. Malik chanting Axion Estin in Arabic:

Chant Text:
It is truly right to bless thee, O Theotokos,
ever blessed, and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the cherubim,
and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim.
Without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

— Jack Rabah


7 thoughts on “Lent 2013 Day 11: The Arabic-Byzantine cocktail :)

  1. Great chanter! And beautiful axion.
    You are so right, is so easy for you, arabian and greek people to learn and sing byzantine music.
    Here I put a link of an deacon who is singing in the same diatonic scale like father Nicola Malik, with an add of an old traditional greek song in the same scale…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH4qJNM3Gk8
    The name of the song is “Sto pa kai sto xanaleo” – ” I told you and I repeated it”.
    Thank you for your post!

  2. wow its a small world! I have this song on a mix cd of greek songs that I have in my car sung by Giorgos Dalaras. I never realized its on the varios tone 🙂

    I’ve told you and I’m telling you again
    don’t go down to the sea
    as the sea makes storms
    it’ll take you away

    And if it takes me, where will it take me
    down into deep waters
    I’ll make my body into a boat
    my hands into oars
    my handkerchief into a sail
    get on board and sail ashore

    I’ve told you and I’m telling you again
    don’t write me letters
    because I can’t read
    and tears overcome me

  3. I had a great joy today, to discover palestinien dances!!
    I’m very fond with traditional oriental folk dances and I love pontic dances very much. Today I discovered that palestinian dances are quit similar with pontic dances and i so excitated!
    Here the dance that I discovered today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIrzk8KlD_E
    And here is the pontic dance sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UHkztOMxKI
    You should post more about palestinian traditions, folk dances and songs… 🙂
    You have such a beautiful heritage!
    In the future I’ll give you samples from my romanian tradition to see similarities between arabian, greek and romanian heritages.
    Have a nice evening!


  4. WOW!! Really there seems to be a connection going on between us, take a look at this entry from my other blog:

    Funny no?

    Feel free to go through the other blog, but here are some of the articles you may like:


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