Workshops And Education

Workshop by Maren Lueg: Practical and theoretical introduction to Middle Eastern music for Western Musicians.

Middle Eastern Music:

Middle Eastern music is related to the region that was occupied by the Ottoman Empire, reaching as far as parts of Eastern Europe, Greece, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria and North Africa.
It is not just the use of quarter tones that makes Middle Eastern music different to western music, it is also the lack of harmony and emphasis on personal musical expression, as much as the exquisite relationship between melody and rhythm that gives Middle Eastern music its distinct flavor.

Introduction to the Workshop:

This course will provide a unique opportunity for Western musicians to study the musical scales, melodies and performance style from the Middle East and explore the relationship between Middle Eastern and Western music.
Participants need to bring their own melody instrument, which they already have proficiency on.

Workshop Topics:

1) An introduction to Middle Eastern Music and its cultural and historic context.

2) Parallels and differences between the Middle Eastern Maqam system and western music.

3) Advantages and limitations for the use of western music notation, for Middle Eastern Music.

4) Middle Eastern musical forms and maqams (melodic modal scale with and without microtones) are introduced and demonstrated through the performance of taqasim (structured improvisation typical to the Middle East).

5) Improvisation is a very important element in Arabic music and participants are encouraged to explore their improvisational abilities in a supportive structure.

6) Traditional musical pieces from the folkloric and classical art music repertoire of Turkey and the Arab world, are taught either by ear or from sheet music provided.

7) Incorporation of Middle Eastern musical elements, in western classical and contemporary Music, in theory and practise.


Workshop by Chas Whitaker: Introduction to Arabic rhythms.

Arabic Rhythms:

In Arabic speaking countries rhythms are most commonly played on percussion instruments traditional to the Middle East, such as the Darabuka (goblet shaped hand drum used in Arabic folkloric and classical music also called Tabla in Egypt),
Riq (tambourine mainly used in Arabic classical music), duff (frame drum used in Arabic folkloric and classical music), Sagat (Arabic finger cymbals traditional used in folkloric music and for Arabic dance performances).
Rhythm in Arabic music is organized into cycles of beats and pauses. These rhythmic modes are known as iqa’at.
The rule of the percussionist within Arabic music is very important, the lead percussionist is expected to take solos and show his art of rhythmic ornamentation through skilful application of fills and licks.

Introduction to the Workshop:
This workshop offers an introduction to the most commonly used rhythms from across the Arab World. Using the correct playing technique for the darabuka, riq, duff and segat, we will play together as a percussive ensemble. I will teach a variety of styles of drumming applied for different genres of Arabic classical and popular music. This workshop is open to all levels.

Workshop Topics:

1) Introduction to the historic and cultural background of percussion instruments in the Middle East.

2) Presentation of the different types of percussion instruments played across the Middle East.

3) Warming up exercises for percussionist.

4) Tuition of the most commonly found rhythms used in the Arabic world using hand clapping and onomatopoeic syllables.
5) Hands on tuition of the basic playing technique for the Darabuka, Riq, Duff and Segat.

6) Demonstration of the most important practice tips for each percussion instrument.

7) Tuition of the rhythmic patterns and cycles used in the Arab world.

8) Introduction to rhythmic changes and guidelines for creating rhythmical variations.

9) Detailed explanation and breakdown of effective simple and complex percussion techniques commonly used for licks and fills in Arabic music.


Workshop by Maren Lueg: Introduction to the Arabic and Turkish Ney Flute by Maren Lueg MMus (Master in Middle Eastern Music Performance)

The Ney Flute:
Reed flutes like the Ney have been played for hundreds and possibly thousands of years all across the Middle East in classical, folk and religious music. The Ney flute has reached a high level of performance technique and sound, though in its structure it is a relatively simple instrument. It is open at both ends, has six finger holes along the front and one thumbhole on the underside. The Arabic Ney has no mouthpiece while the Turkish Ney has got a buffalo horn or plastic mouthpiece.

In this workshop I shall explain the technique for playing the Arabic and Turkish Ney flute from a western trained musician’s perspective.
I will introduce the historic and cultural background of the Ney flute and cover the most important aspect of the Maqam (melodic modal scale from the Middle East) theory and practise in the Turkey and the Arab World.

Topics that will be covered during the Ney flute Workshop:

1) Introduction to the cultural historic context of the Ney flute and the use of the Ney flute in Contemporary Middle Eastern and Western Music.

2) Explanation of the tuning and range of the Ney Flute.

3) Tuition of techniques for training the embouchure muscles that need to be developed in order to produce the appropriate sound on the Ney flute.

4) Tuition of breathing exercises that strengthen the diaphragm muscles which determents the quality and strength of the sound.

5) Introduction to the accurate sitting and finger position for playing the Ney flute.

5) Demonstration of the use of different breathing techniques and embouchure control in different registers.

6) Explanation of the different finger positions for each note using a fingering chart with Western and Middle Eastern musical terminology.

7) Introduction to the notes and performance style of each maqam in form of a taqasim (structured improvisation typical to the Middle East).

8) Tuition of the simple and popular Arabic and Turkish melodies using western music notation and aural transmission.