Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble

The Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble performs instrumental and vocal music, both traditional and modern, primarily from the Arab world (Egypt and the Nile Valley, the Levant, North Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and Iraq), Turkey and Iran. These rich music traditions centre on sung poetry, heterophonic melody, modal improvisation, distinctive instrumental sonorities, a modal system of maqamat (including microtonal intervals), and a temporal system of rhythmic cycles, or iqa`at. The course includes a certain amount of theoretical instruction, but learning occurs primarily via group performance and independent listening.

Most teaching and learning is accomplished by ear; neither the ability to read music notation nor knowledge of regional languages is required. Singers, percussionists, performers of continuous pitch instruments (e.g. fretless bass, contrabass, cello, viola, violin, trombone), as well as those with strong interest in languages, literatures, and cultures of the region are especially encouraged to join.

There is no audition for this ensemble. With permission from the instructor, the course is available to all students at the University of Alberta and to the general Edmonton community (via Open Studies). Students must come to the meeting for consent in Studio 27 (FAB 2-7) on first day of class, or else receive consent from the instructor by email.

Please contact Director Michael Frishkopf with questions.