Glossary

Terms to know from Egyptian Arabic

Ashrah: aka "ashrah baladi" literally means "ten"; refers to a style of music, often but not always accompanied by dance, which progresses through rhythms and melody changes, sometimes relating to known popular songs in which couplets may be vocalized by the dancers or musicians as the mood strikes. 

Arghul: a double pipe reed instrument with a attachments of varying lengths for varying the drone pitch.

Assaya: a general name for stick, may also be called naboot.

Bambi: a (suite? of melodies) which includes the tune known in Cairo as Raqset Hawanem.

Banat: girls/daughters

Baladi: "from the country" or "my country/village"; in music can refer to traditional popular music; in dance can refer to homestyle (non-professional) dance or movement aesthetics relating to social dance; [in the global raqs sharqi community] music and dance associated with the accordion progression (ashrah baladi)

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Dandana: Singing words or sounds to a melody, to fill in lyrics or keep time 


Duf/Duff: frame drum traditionally made from wood and goat skin, now made from wood or plastic with synthetic head.

Fan/Fannan(a)/funoon: art/artist (M) (F)/group of artists

 

Galabeya/Jalabeya: generic term for dress worn by men or women.

Ghawazee: dancers for rural populations, many groups exist around Egypt belonging to different ethnic(?) groupings, near Luxor groups include nawar, bahlawan, shahayna and haleb. 

 

Haraka: Movement/Move/Technique


Jihayni: Stick dance done socially or by professional dancers, performed by men or women, often incorporating movements of the tahtib.

Kawala: segmented flute with 4 sections and no thumb hole on the back.

Kharez: beads

 

Mertaha: slow pace, used by Khyria to describe the music or movement of a slow paced step.


Mizmar: often called zummar or zummarah in Egypt, a high pitched single or double reed wind instrument with a flared shape similar to a short clarinet. 

Naosi (نعوسي): Muffled playing of the mizmar, during which a dancer often responds with muted sagat & one sided movement.


Nay: Long segmented flute with 9 sections and a thumb hole in the back, comes in a variety of sizes for differing octaves.

Nizzawi: Another name for Jihayni; a word used by Edwina Nearing to describe the fast shimmy section of ashrah jihayni and subsequently adopted by other researchers but not apparently recognized as a separate dance by Khyria or Raja as of  2022.

Rababa: Spike fiddle usually with two strings made of steel or horsehair.

Rais: Honorary title for the leader of a group or musicians, acknowledging their position as experienced players; also honorofic used for managers of art groups.

Raqs: Dance

Safa: paillettes/sequins

Sagat: Finger Cymbals

Shaabi: "of the people"; "popular"; "traditional/folkloric"

Tabl Baladi: large double faced drum worn forward of the body and played with a wood beater and plastic or horn (?) stick. The beater is sometimes tucked inside the galabeya while a hand is used in it's place, to change the sound impact.

Tabla: goblet shaped drum, traditionally made from clay and fish or goat skin, now made from metal and plastic.

Taheya: a greeting; a common tradition at weddings and other events in which specific melodies are played to indicate the arrival of important guests, or the issuance of a salutation from one guest to another. Money is often paid to the band during the salutation and in the case of weddings the money can be collected and the amounts recorded about who gave how much as reciprocal exchange is implied between the giver and the party host, where the host will give a equal or greater contribution at a future event, or may have given in the past. The money may also be the compensation for the entertainers depending on their agreement with the hosts of the event.

Taqsim/Taqasim: instrumental improvisation (within a set of guidelines) highlighting a single melodic instrument, often accompanied with a light drone or rhythm.

Qafla: Finale; end of an ashrah generally speeding up to a finishing accent.

Wasla: musical suite involving a variety of sections including songs set on classic poetry, section of vocal or instrumental improvisation, popular songs and other instrumental structures.