Mawwal

Farasha Hanem

New member
I was reading a Wikipedia article on Hakim, and learned that he sings "mawwal" in some of his sha'abbi songs, and from what I gathered, the mawwal is a type of vocalization before a song actually starts (I might have gotten my info wrong, though). Not sure of how a mawwal sounds, I'm posting a YouTube clip of one of Hakim's songs. Could someone please tell me if the vocalizations interspersed throughout this song are examples of mawwal, or are they actually something else entirely? If so, what are they called? :think::think: Thank you in advance! :D

[video=youtube_share;xNONE86CqcA]http://youtu.be/xNONE86CqcA[/video]

hakim does the vocalizations at the beginning and the end of the song. I don't know Arabic, but it sounds like "Leiyla Ya Leiyla," or something like that. :confused:
 
Last edited:

Sophia Maria

New member
Ahhhh, the mawwal!! A mawwal is one of the most beautiful parts of Arabic music! As far as I understand it, it is the vocal improvisations done usually at the beginning of the song, "before the beat drops", as we say in American lingo ;)

There is usually not much complicated going on with the lyrics, it's more about emotional interpretation and playing with the melody; if a singer gets it just right, that's when the audience gets really into it and cheer or clap (or occasionally they will simply say "Allah" to show their appreciation)

I do not hear any mawwal in that recording. Yes, hakim is improvising a bit and having fun, and saying leyla y leyla etc.--I think that's more him just having fun. Since it is in the middle of the song and to the beat, that's not mawwal.

These might answer your questions better:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mawwal
http://www.maqamworld.com/forms.html

Here are some examples:

French singer Faudel ( this mawwal was extra for the live show, it was not in the radio version of the song. The radio version kicks in when "the beat drops")
[video=youtube;AMLfrZ6wpCw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMLfrZ6wpCw[/video]

Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf singing on Arab Idol
[video=youtube;5S099Q0S2B8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S099Q0S2B8[/video]
I absolutely ADORE his voice. This video is cute because as soon as he says Libnaan (Lebanon), people go crazy (perhaps they are Lebanese?)

Ahmed Jamal, Mohammed Assaf, and Ziad Khoury on Arab Idol--they each do their own mawwal
[video=youtube;8UadpoZkIt4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UadpoZkIt4[/video]

As you can tell, it's all vocal improvisation, involving a lot of the "trilling" (if that's the correct term) that come with Arabic singing--lingering on one note or word, but the voice slides up and down half-notes or quarter-notes--and improvisation. There are some instruments in the background, but only to provide a background and respond to the singer. The beat, and the official song, starts later.

I'm not a music expert, just a obsessed music lover :D If anyone wants to weigh in with more information / correct anything said here, feel free!
 

Sophia Maria

New member
Another example:
[video=youtube;C2tNdw_Ay_o]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2tNdw_Ay_o[/video]


Also, I don't know if you were following that thread where we were talking about the controversial Helwa Rou7 clip with Hakim and Haifa Wehbe, but that might be considered mawwal as well
[video=youtube;5RpQDN_E9cU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RpQDN_E9cU[/video]
 

Zumarrad

Member
Complete derailing here: wow, Mohammed Assaf is just AWESOME, isn't he? It seems that he's quite good at making up appropriate words to sing as well as having a fantastic voice. And so cute. No wonder he won.

The three of them having to do mawaal in competition against each other must have been so pressured.

The old style of Irish music has this sort of element to it as well, I think - certainly the improvising and trilling.

ETA: I *think* Arab Idol is shot in Lebanon, which would explain all the delight at Lubnan.
 

Sophia Maria

New member
Complete derailing here: wow, Mohammed Assaf is just AWESOME, isn't he? It seems that he's quite good at making up appropriate words to sing as well as having a fantastic voice. And so cute. No wonder he won.

The three of them having to do mawaal in competition against each other must have been so pressured.

The old style of Irish music has this sort of element to it as well, I think - certainly the improvising and trilling.

ETA: I *think* Arab Idol is shot in Lebanon, which would explain all the delight at Lubnan.
Ooh! I've been meaning to get into Irish music. Do you happen to have an example of it, by any chance?

Yeah, Assaf has a truly beautiful voice. He's actually one the first that popped into my head when I was trying to think of example for Farasha...
 

Zumarrad

Member
There is what they call "mouth music", which is all the diddly diddly wordless scat-like stuff, but I don't have any examples of that. I just found this lovely footage of a woman singer who is obviously also of Arab descent which is quite cool and appropriate for this forum! I should get into this more. It's my heritage after all.

The style is sean nos, old style. There's sean nos dancing as well, which I would love to learn a bit of - it's more appropriate for my age than all that leaping about.

http://youtu.be/N8paj2hQHIo?list=PLE124B27640C5730D
 
Last edited:

Sophia Maria

New member
Here is a man singing in the Donegal style for comparison.

It doesn't seem that it sets the mood in the same way a mawaal does. It's like mawaal-ish singing but applied to a song right away.

http://youtu.be/_mlW7I0kDaE

Nice, thanks! Yes, it seems to be slow and vocally-based, the way a mawwal is, but it seems to be the purpose of the entire song, whereas a mawwal is just an introduction. The scales and structure of the melody is also very different, obviously.

Sorry for the thread derailment!
 

Sophia Maria

New member
Is this mawwal?

[video=youtube;CrM9SnWeF7U]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrM9SnWeF7U[/video]

I guess technically, in the beginning 10 seconds...It's not much of one if it is. I'm no expert, but I wouldn't tend to talk about a mawwal unless the singer spent some real time on it? It's not uncommon for an Arabic singer to warm-up/improvise for little section and then jump into the song...it's not unlike nodding your head to the beat or grooving a little bit before you actually start your dance.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Complete derailing here: wow, Mohammed Assaf is just AWESOME, isn't he? It seems that he's quite good at making up appropriate words to sing as well as having a fantastic voice. And so cute. No wonder he won.

The three of them having to do mawaal in competition against each other must have been so pressured.

The old style of Irish music has this sort of element to it as well, I think - certainly the improvising and trilling.

ETA: I *think* Arab Idol is shot in Lebanon, which would explain all the delight at Lubnan.
I don't cons it derailing at all! :D Mohammed Assaf IS amazing (and cute!)! :D And the "mawwal-off" is FANTASTIC! Sophia, thank you for all the videos and links, and the information, I appreciate it! :D
 

Sophia Maria

New member
I don't cons it derailing at all! :D Mohammed Assaf IS amazing (and cute!)! :D And the "mawwal-off" is FANTASTIC! Sophia, thank you for all the videos and links, and the information, I appreciate it! :D
No problem! I always appreciate the chance to nerd out about music. Assaf certainly is amazing. I will see him in concert NEXT WEEKEND, I am so excited. Perhaps I will report back when I return ;)
 

Sophia Maria

New member
Yes! Please do! :D
Whoops! I never came back with a report about my concert! :D

The concert was lovely, although I wasn't crazy about the venue. We had to be sitting, and when people did get up and dance they were ushered back into their seats....try combining Arab music with just sitting, seriously :rolleyes:...doesn't work.

His voice was as lovely as ever. He sang mostly Palestinian songs, a couple I knew, most I didn't, along with at least one Lebanese one, a Saudi one, and his rendition of Gana el Hawa by Abdel Halim :dance:

I must say I have finally admitted to myself that I am nursing a bit of a celebrity crush, hehe. Oh well.

Here is a song from the concert
[video=youtube;xgRUim75I_M]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgRUim75I_M[/video]


And here is an interview from backstage
[video=youtube;-eTEsSiEtpE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eTEsSiEtpE[/video]

This mawwal thread is quickly becoming the Mohammed Assaf thread :lol: , but actually one of the reasons why I love his music so much is I think, as opposed to some newer stars on the Middle Eastern music scene, he tends to more of the intense mawwal vocal work and less of the 4 minute pop songs that are more common today.
 
Top