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2012-03-18 20:29:48 by xxxZigZagxxx
RAC 5 CONTEST ENTRY SUMMARY
Song Title: Osiris' Faakht
CLICK HERE FOR SONG
I've never had really any response to Middle Eastern/Egyptian music, so I had no idea what I was in for when I went for this country. Egyptian music by tradition is a very old style, dating back to many centuries BC. Thus it is steeped in influence by the events and the mythologies that they believed in at the time. Sometimes I would learn about their religions and practices more than I did the actual song style that I was trying to emulate. Here is my account of the journey I took to make this song.
Egyptians credit the god Hathor with the invention of music. She was an Egyptian goddess, who personified the qualities of love, beauty, good music, motherhood, and pure joy. She was one of the most popular and love deities of Egypt, being worshipped as good and fair. She is depicted as the "Mistress of the West", which adds to her apparent mystery.
Alongside her is the god Osiris. They say that he used music to civilize the world, and he is god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead. He is depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, with a large pointy crown and ostrich feathers on each side. He usually is seen holding a crook and flail. Not only the merciful judge of the afterlife, he is also the underworld agency that granted all life, including sprouting vegetation, and fertile flooding of the Nile. The Egyptians stopped worshipping him after they became oppressed during the Christian era.
I imagined my piece to be a dance song by Osiris, trying to impress Hathor. Not unlike a wedding dance, Osiris would dance mightily until Hathor would come and join him. That's just my concept of the song.
I looked up some old Egyptian instruments, and it seemed they used harps, flutes and double clarinets often. Harps, being multi-stringed instruments, have a neck, resonator, and strings to appeal to that resonator. The resonator exhibits resonance, oscillating at a frequency desired.
The flutes are of the woodwind family, producing sound when blown against, such as a reed or a sharp edge. These two instruments: harp and flute, are usually used in Western music to display peace, but Egyptians often used them aggressively.
I looked up "Egyptian percussion" on google, and got this guy Hossam Ramzy, which is apparently a Egyptian percussionist LEGEND. (Hossam Ramzy, A song) He began playing the daburka at a young age (so I decided to try and emulate that with this song), which is like a goblet drum, producing a resonant, crisp sound. Hossam Ramzy got nicknamed "the sultan of swing", and he scored many films, including The Last Temptation of Christ, Prince of Persia and Conan the Barbarian (the new one). He also was sampled by Jay-Z for his song "Big Pimpin'" (link here). He uses doumbec, tambourine, and finger cymbals.
I then researched some middle eastern rhythms to help plan my drums. I searched for the Egyptian ones, including the aqsaaq, the karaatshi, and the rufaa'aya. But one drum pattern caught my eye.
It was the Faakht. A whopping 20/4 drum pattern, it had shifting rhythms that gained my attention, and I had always wanted to produce something with an unusual time signature. Most of the drums were played by hand, with a "D" representing a "dum" (right hand clear low tone), a "T" representing a "Tek" (right hand high crisp tone), and a "K" representing a "ka" (left hand, sounds like Tek). The faakht is as follows (D-T-|D-DDT-__|T-__|T-T-|D-__T-T-|D-__T-__|T-T-)
. I took the "D" to be a bass drum, effectively, and a T to be a snare drum.
I also listened to tons of Egyptian composers to get a feel for what I was up for. (a song, Halim El-Dabh, Soliman Gamil, Attia Sharara, another song)
My plan finally was I was going to make a song with traditional instruments. Egyptian music, I found, was mostly about the melody rather than chords, and is played in a Byzantine/Phrygian scale. So started I on my project and I hope I did it justice.
Thanks to NeonProject for being so patient, and best of luck to other contestants!
It's for personal reference, so just move along now, nothing to see here.
patrickliberty -- my main man, rapper extraordinaire
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Valfire -- needs voices for his new movie
Renaenae -- arty person
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