Six Variations in the Arabic style” for solo french horn



This piece consists of six variations on a very famous old Arabic folk tune, demonstrating in every variation a scene from Arabic folklore and traditional music, aimed to introduce the musician and the audience to the beautiful world of Arabic music.

Starting with “Morsèl” (مُرسل), which is a popular folk art in most Arab countries, is usually performed either by the rhetorical narration method or the lyrical narration method, both of which are performed solo and depending on improvisation and skill in reviewing melodic transitions.

Then, “Mouwèshèh”(مُوَشَّح), a kind of distinctive collective singing that we got from the Andalusian heritage, which first originated during the period of Arab rule in Andalusia, Spain today, and therefore it is called the Andalusian muwashshah.

Followed by “Raqsah”(رَقْصة), translated as “Dance”, a fast energetic instrumental piece of music designed to accompany the women’s dance (belly dance).

Then, “Zèffèh”(زَفَّة), which is a festive energetic music used to accompany the newlyweds’ tour in the village during their marriage when all the friends and the family sing and dance for them.

After, a very quiet “Tèhwidah” (تَهْويدَة), or lullaby, is very common in the Arabic world to be sung for the kids to help them feel safe and sleep.

And finally, the “Dèbkèh”(دَبْكة), which is a Levantine folk dance mainly seen in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Jordan, combines circle dance and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions.

Special thanks to the amazing horn teachers Louis Verchère, Philippe Queraud, and Jean Philippe Chavey, who helped in shaping the pedagogical aspect of this piece.

The story of the song “Rabétèk Zghairoun Hèssèn” (رَبيتَك زْغَيْرون حَسَن)
Version by Seddiqa AL-Mellaya

It is said that in Baghdad there was a sterile singer who did not have a son, so he decided to adopt a child to raise him as an adopted child.

After he searched a lot, he found a beautiful little boy with wide eyes named “Hassan” from a poor, destitute family that could hardly find food for that day. Indeed, this man fulfilled his promise and raised the child in the best manner and entered him into school.

And after Hassan grew up and became a young man, some of his friends told him that the one who raises him is not his real father, but his adoptive father.

Young Hassan was affected by what he heard, then he asked his adoptive father and revealed the truth to him, then informed him that his feelings towards him are the same as the feelings of any father towards his son from his loins.

As for Hassan, he began to yearn to get to know his true family. Hassan thanked his adopted father for his good care and upbringing, then asked him to allow him to leave and search for his real family.

The adoptive father grieved greatly, and he retired from the singing profession and retired to his home, living in his memories with Hassan, who raised him from a young age.

The news reached the governor, and friends of the governor insisted that he intervene in the reconciliation between Hassan and his adoptive father. The governor held a party and brought a band and invited Hassan and his adoptive father to attend it, as well as the governor’s friends.

Hassan’s adoptive father arrived and the party started and the band started playing its melodious tunes. Then Hassan arrived and entered and came face to face with his adoptive father, who, as soon as he saw him, tears started to fall from his eyes and he began to sing this song.

Sha’oubi Ibrahim tells the story of the song “Zghayroun Hassan”

Published by wajdiaboudiab

Wajdi Abou Diab is a composer of classical contemporary music, musicologist, educator, and conductor who believes in music as a way to build our cultural future while keeping us connected to our cultural history.

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