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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    Also in a Randa workshop; in a break the tabla player was going about a student who was assiduously writing down dums and teks and asking him for help, and just didn't get it that you couldn't notate the rhythm like that.
    OMG! Was she a teacher?!

  2. #32
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suheir View Post
    OMG! Was she a teacher?!
    No idea, I didn't pay attention to who it was, too busy moaning about not being able to see! Overcrowded, room far too small, no stage

  3. #33
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I'll bet she doesn't have a rule about what to do with what instrument, sound etc. Why do Westerners want everything to be black and white and codified.
    Dear Jen,
    I feel the same way. I also feel that there is no huge secret stuff you have to know to be a good dancer, but instead that it has to sort of be IN you, already, just waiting to be discovered. So, some people will end up being good Egyptian dancers, some more geared toward American Oriental or Turkish, or whatever it is that they have an aptitude for. I think that we might find ourselves eventually drawn toward a style of dance because it is what we have a talent for and more of a innate understanding about it.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Jen,
    I feel the same way. I also feel that there is no huge secret stuff you have to know to be a good dancer, but instead that it has to sort of be IN you, already, just waiting to be discovered. So, some people will end up being good Egyptian dancers, some more geared toward American Oriental or Turkish, or whatever it is that they have an aptitude for. I think that we might find ourselves eventually drawn toward a style of dance because it is what we have a talent for and more of a innate understanding about it.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    I feel that I am naturally a sha'abi dancer!! I would like to work on that to refine it to other Egyptian styles. I have however been musing for some time that were I to dance like that in front of some people round here, they would just put it down to more evidence that I don't reach their standards. I feel that there are some aspects of egyptian style, eg the relaxed easiness, the playing around with tempo, the use of the body to counterpart and complement an isolation, that we are having schooled out of us.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I feel that there are some aspects of egyptian style, eg the relaxed easiness, the playing around with tempo, the use of the body to counterpart and complement an isolation, that we are having schooled out of us.
    Part of the problem is that some people, including a worrying number of teachers, are so uneducated that they cannot understand or interpret what they are seeing, hence the comments like "Oh, she's not doing much, is she?", "She's not doing anything different to what we do" and "That's easy" from people here when they see dancers like Dandesh.

    For most of us it takes a *long* time of listening to Arabic music and watching Egyptian performers, both in person and on video, before we can fully appreciate and have some understanding of musical interpretation. Learning the dogma of Hossam Ramzy, for instance, and being able to spew it out verbatim is no indication whatsoever of actually understanding what you are hearing in the music and being able to dance to it.

  6. #36
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    Also in a Randa workshop; in a break the tabla player was going about a student who was assiduously writing down dums and teks and asking him for help, and just didn't get it that you couldn't notate the rhythm like that.

    Hmm. I'm not sure I'm prepared to argue with you (or Randa's drummer!) but this statement got me wondering -- this and something we were talking about on Bhuz about rhythmic notation being a western idea.

    To preface -- I know that Egypt is in Africa, but I think when Americans refer to "African" we refer to sub-Saharan Africa, so that's what I'm referring to here.

    There was an "African" drumming workshop in Indy a few years ago, and I went because I was curious. The instructors were one ancient old guy and a younger guy (student, maybe.) The old guy made a big deal about saying that rhythm starts with the heartbeat. And he would "sing" the heartbeat to us -- tup-tub, tup-tub, tup-tub. You could set a metronome by how precise he could "sing" this.

    The way he taught his rhythms was by how many "heartbeats" were in them. (They all had names -- but I don't know if those are standard names or if he made them up.) Most of the rhythms we learned were 1, 2, and 2 and a half heartbeats.

    Now, he didn't write these down, but you COULD. Rhythm, by its very definition, is regular and countable (meter). I think you can notate any rhythm -- even a shuffle. Even variations IN that -- just like you can notate music. ANY music. Even something like a mawaal or taqsim or free improvisation in western music.

    Our discussion on Bhuz was over what family "beledi" and Maqsoum/masmoudi fell into -- and what to call that. Some people think we shouldn't look at it in terms of rhythm families because that's a western idea. I don't agree that it's a western idea -- although the thought of NAMING the families might be, but I don't think so.

    Abu Nasar la Farabi wrote "The Grand Book of Music Theory" on Arab music -- in the ninth century AD. (He credits the Rajazz as the first Arab rhythm -- which is a Bedouin rhythm based on the meter of the camel's hoof beats during travel.) I think from his work, it's obvious that at least some Arabs were THINKING about music in a very structured, organized way, even if the unwashed masses couldn't articulate the name of the rhythm or knew how to notate it.

    It's because of this (and some other stuff) that I have to disagree when I hear people say "Westerners approach the music and dance with a sense of structure and organization that is absent in the native population." They have been very precise and structured in their visual arts, their poetry, and I believe also in music theory. So why is it somehow now "western" to think in the same terms, but using English words?

  7. #37
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suheir View Post
    Learning the dogma of Hossam Ramzy, for instance, and being able to spew it out verbatim is no indication whatsoever of actually understanding what you are hearing in the music and being able to dance to it.
    You know, I thought his "equation" was way too simplistic for a long time until I tried an experiment.

    For my brand-new beginners class (only 3 classes under their hip belts) I played clips from different songs, all featuring one major instrument. I said something like "what part of your body fits this instrument" or "where do you want to move when you hear this instrument playing?" Dang if they weren't SPOT on what Ramzy had suggested in his article, and in interviews.

    Flutes and nays equaled hands and arms, especially in the air. Violins/rebabas were in the chest and forearms. Accordion was in the abdomen and pelvis -- one cracked me up: One student said "Oh I feel this in my belly!!" (reminded me of Austin Powers). Qanoun was something shimmying or shaking. Mizmar was oddly enough found in the shoulders and pelvis -- and the feet. Drums were the hips and feet. And finger cymbals were in the shoulders. (?)

    This got me seriously wondering about Delsarte theory (even though I know it's tuned to Western ideas) and if it could be applied to all movement, despite the cultural origins, ya know? Things that make you go hmmmmm...

  8. #38
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    I feel that I am naturally a sha'abi dancer!! I would like to work on that to refine it to other Egyptian styles. I have however been musing for some time that were I to dance like that in front of some people round here, they would just put it down to more evidence that I don't reach their standards. I feel that there are some aspects of egyptian style, eg the relaxed easiness, the playing around with tempo, the use of the body to counterpart and complement an isolation, that we are having schooled out of us.

    Dear Jen,
    I agree with this and feel that it is part of the problem in the approved methods for teaching western dance and then trying to apply them overly to Middle Eastern dance. It just isn't like that. Much of what happens in the Middle Eastern dance process is not intellectual, and when we get overly intellectual in the teaching process, we create a huge gap between the reality of the dance and the learning process. I see the current problem as being that westerners are focused on movement to the detriment of every other element of the dance. So we get people who turn the dance into a study in getting way overly clever and precise with movement, rather than letting it be one vehicle for interpretation of the music and how it makes the dancer feel. Instead, it becomes, like someone else here said, a matter of "Look what I can do". It appears that there is a disconnect from every other element of the dance except for costuming, often even including the music itself. Certainly there is no emotional content.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  9. #39
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suheir View Post
    Part of the problem is that some people, including a worrying number of teachers, are so uneducated that they cannot understand or interpret what they are seeing, hence the comments like "Oh, she's not doing much, is she?", "She's not doing anything different to what we do" and "That's easy" from people here when they see dancers like Dandesh.

    For most of us it takes a *long* time of listening to Arabic music and watching Egyptian performers, both in person and on video, before we can fully appreciate and have some understanding of musical interpretation. Learning the dogma of Hossam Ramzy, for instance, and being able to spew it out verbatim is no indication whatsoever of actually understanding what you are hearing in the music and being able to dance to it.
    When I started learning it was amazing to me that we were all learning egyptian dance without ever having seen any. We were not introduced to different music, except we were given a compilation cd of music from variuos countries without any explanation or comment.We were not told about local haflas and did not see any actual dancing until the teacher demonstrated in the last class. I bought dvds watched youtube, joined this forum tried to eeducate myself. Only myself and one other girl who has lived in Egypt are still dancing. she goes to the advanced class that wouldn't take me and apparently they still learn nothing about the music and still do not talk about the essence of the dance.

  10. #40
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    Hmm. I'm not sure I'm prepared to argue with you (or Randa's drummer!) but this statement got me wondering -- this and something we were talking about on Bhuz about rhythmic notation being a western idea.

    There was an "African" drumming workshop in Indy a few years ago, and I went because I was curious. The instructors were one ancient old guy and a younger guy (student, maybe.) The old guy made a big deal about saying that rhythm starts with the heartbeat. And he would "sing" the heartbeat to us -- tup-tub, tup-tub, tup-tub. You could set a metronome by how precise he could "sing" this.

    The way he taught his rhythms was by how many "heartbeats" were in them. (They all had names -- but I don't know if those are standard names or if he made them up.) Most of the rhythms we learned were 1, 2, and 2 and a half heartbeats.

    Now, he didn't write these down, but you COULD. Rhythm, by its very definition, is regular and countable (meter). I think you can notate any rhythm -- even a shuffle.
    Absolutely; but you have to have a structure to peg it on, whether it's heartbeats or bars, or just having a recognised name for a particular rhythm. His point was that the string of dums and teks she was asking for would not help her reconstruct the rhythm because they were missing that structure, and she didn't see that.

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