The Al-Kindî Ensemble
The Al-Kindî Ensemble, founded in 1983 by the french virtuoso of Arab zither (qânûn) Julien Jâlal Eddine Weiss, resident in Aleppo (capital of northern Syria and a stopping place on the famous Silk Road) is currently rated among the best formations devoted to classical Arab music, owing to the musical qualities displayed by its performers, and to the high standard of its work, steeped in the various musical traditions of the Near and Middle East.
In the Middle Age, Al-Kindi was the first great theoretician of Arabic music. He proposed adding a fifth string to the lute and reflected on the cosmological connotations of music. It surpassed the Greek work using an alphabetical annotation for each octave. He published fifteen treatises on music theory, however, only those five survive. In one of his treatises, he used the word “music” in Arabic for the first time. Al-Farabi wrote a remarkable book about music, Kitab al Musiqi al Kabir (The Great Book of Music). His tone system is still used even in Arabic music.
The Arabs did classical, popular, secular and religious music. Arabic music has been in contact with other regional music such as Persian, Turkish, Indian, European... Muslims translated from Greek into Arabic treaties music theory, and assimilated the principles of the enharmonic, chromatic, diatonic... systems.
In conclusion, The Al-Kindî Ensemble is a great start to begin listening and appreciate Arab music, music from a different culture that also has its beauty.