Bedouin music: music from the heart
Our music comes from our hearts. It is one of our ways of desert storytelling. Stories set to music to arouse the imagination of the musicians and their audience. It is like a caravan of camels on a long ride. One musician is in the front. He starts and leads the song. The other musicians follow him one by one—all in a set order and rhythm. The songs are long, with a lot of repetition. Mostly we use the rhythm of a riding camel. It is the rhythm that will capture and hold you. We can divert our music in 3 types:
- Al-shi’ir al-nabati; these songs are mostly a capella songs containing poetry
- Taghrud; the songs of the camel-drivers
- Ayyala; the dance songs of preparation for war
Bedouin music and poetry
A lot of our music contains poetry. And we Bedouin love poetry. To us, the words, the poets are more important than the voice of the singer. That is why everyone can play Bedouin music. The better your poetry, the better singer you are. The following three forms of poetry, we consider music.
- Ghazal, the love poem
- Qasidah, the long, epic poem
- Ghinwiyah, the social criticism poem
The type of poem influences the way we sing it, the use of a refrain, the number of needed singers, and we use instruments.
Music instruments used for Bedouin music
Although most music is a cappella, we do use instruments. We use the rababa, the oud, and the darbuka.
The Rababa is an over 1500 years old bowed string instrument. A one-stringed fiddle held on the lap. It is made from goatskin and the tail of an Arabian racing horse.
- El Oud
The oud is a pear-shaped string instrument. Unlike the guitar and lute, the oud has no frets. The number of strings varies between ten and thirteen. The back of the oud is beautiful, with the thin strips of wood used.
The Darbuka is an over 900 years old struck drum. It is a single head drum with a goblet-shaped body. This instrument can be played either by keeping it under the arm or resting on the leg.
During our tours, we often take our oud with us. To play Bedouin music during lunch break, at a viewpoint or night under the starry skies of Wadi Rum desert.