The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2

By Neubauer, Eckhard | Yearbook for Traditional Music, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2


Neubauer, Eckhard, Yearbook for Traditional Music


The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9809661-1-4. Produced and distributed by George Sawa. http://www.georgedimitrisawa.com. Performed by the Traditional Arabic Music Ensemble. Annotated by George Dimitri Sawa. 19 pp. of notes in English. 8 colour photographs, 13 rhythmic notations. 9-item bibliography. 1 compact disc, 10 tracks (55:53).

George Sawa has distinguished himself as an outstanding historian of Arab music and theory of music. He is also the founder of the Traditional Arabic Music Ensemble in which he plays the qanun (psaltery) in the tradition of his Alexandrian masters. In his latest disc, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2, Sawa has chosen late nineteenth- to early twentieth-century Egyptian and Syrian dances and other instrumental pieces, to which he has added two peshrevs (instrumental "preludes") from the older Ottoman repertoire including the famous "Peshrev Nihavend" attributed to Dervish Mustafa.

Sawa's elaborate playing technique is guided by a refined musical taste that avoids the fashions of trendy qanun playing. This includes a return to the older technique of manually producing chromatic pitches and microtones instead of using the mechanical adjusting device (mandal) and, in order to come as close as possible to the desired historical sound, the use of guitar and harp strings on his instrument in addition to the qanun strings of the four lowest positions. …

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