• Learn More About Middle Eastern Music
Grade 4, Log On
Grade 4, Unit 6, Lesson 5
The Middle East is a region located in the middle of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It includes countries like Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. Though many different people live in the Middle East-including Jewish people, Africans, Europeans, and Asians-most of the people who live there are Arab.
Music in the Middle East can be very different, depending on the country or culture. Just like the United States, young people, adults, and older people have different tastes, too. People in the Middle East often play music for fun. Friends and family may gather together at home or at a restaurant to sing and play folk songs that everyone knows. Other times people visit concert halls to listen to huge orchestras that may have all kinds of interesting instruments. Or, they may just watch and listen to it on television.
People enjoy traditional music, like the song "Hala lala layya," but many kids also buy CDs of their favorite musicians and listen to the radio, too. In the Middle East, there are many music television programs that show videos by pop music stars.
Instruments You might recognize some of the instruments Arab people play, like the violin and the tambourine (called a riq in Arabic). The dumbek, which is often called the hourglass drum in the United States, also comes from the Middle East. Other instruments might be new to you, like the 'ud and the nay. The 'ud is like a short, fat guitar and is plucked with a pick. The nay is like a recorder, except that it is made from a bamboo reed.
Click here to listen to the dumbek.