Belly Dance Music

Belly Dance Training: Review of the JWAAD ‘Understanding Music’ Course

I’m writing a second installment of my review series, this time focusing on the JWAAD Belly Dance Training ‘Understanding Music’ course I just completed. I previously wrote about the JWAAD ‘Understanding Safety’ course and how much I enjoyed that, and the ‘Understanding Music’ course was the same for me in terms of enjoyment and how… Continue reading Belly Dance Training: Review of the JWAAD ‘Understanding Music’ Course

Belly Dance Music

Who Is Umm Kulthum and Why Is She Important for Belly Dance?

If you’ve never heard of Umm Kulthum (Oum Kalthoum) before, she was a very famous Egyptian singer active between the 1920s to 1970s. She is remembered for her extraordinary voice and unique musical style. She was born circa 1900 to a religious family in the Nile delta, and her exceptional singing talent was noticed through… Continue reading Who Is Umm Kulthum and Why Is She Important for Belly Dance?

Belly Dance Music

Musical Instruments in Middle Eastern Belly Dance Music

What instruments are commonly used in belly dance music? There are lots of them! In general, musical instruments can be divided into categories based on how they produce sound: percussion (striking by a hand or beater), winds (blowing air), and strings (bowing or plucking a string). Instruments belonging to each of these three types are… Continue reading Musical Instruments in Middle Eastern Belly Dance Music

Belly Dance Music

The Simsimiyya Music of Port Said

I want to start directly with a YouTube video, because it (and the JWAAD music course) are the inspiration behind this post: https://youtu.be/yJPRMRzyZMs A group of folk musicians from Port Said sing and dance in the video. When we think of Egypt, we often think of its culture as stemming from Pharaonic times. But there… Continue reading The Simsimiyya Music of Port Said

Belly Dance Music

Rhythms in Belly Dance Music

Introduction Let’s go down the rhythm rabbit hole! The rhythmic mode or iqa/iqaat (plural) is a foundational feature of Middle Eastern music. Songs in the Middle East have underlying repeated sequences of strong and weak drum beats. These are the iqaat, and there are reputedly up to 100 of them (Wikipedia). Why is it important… Continue reading Rhythms in Belly Dance Music

Belly Dance Music

Introduction to Belly Dance Music Appreciation: Musical Texture

Let’s talk about belly dance music. The first step to interpreting music through dance is listening to it, really listening to it. Music has a rich texture: “how the tempo, melodic, and harmonic materials are combined in a composition, thus determining the overall quality of the sound in a piece” (Wikipedia). Like a layer cake,… Continue reading Introduction to Belly Dance Music Appreciation: Musical Texture