A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Coursera – DYM Lesson 2 videos (8)

Like Lesson 1, the last video for Lesson 2 of Coursera’s Developing Your Musicianship class features a Berklee student ensemble piece. This one is something I’m not familar with at all. It features a Palestinian qanunist named Ali Paris performing his composition, Najat1958, with a piano, bass and two percussionists as accompaniment. I’ve never seen a qanun before. Apparently, they’re like large zithers. I like that its pronounced like “canon“. 😉

8. Berklee Student Performance: “Najat 1958″ (9:33) 

Ali Paris Experiment, “Najat1958” – Live at Berklee College’s Cafe 939

Now, knowing the next-to-nothing that I do about quanin, I’m still impressed with the player, and I like the opening of the song. Overall, the backdrop is jazzy in parts to me, on account of the bassist and pianist, but what Ali plays isn’t. I’m not entirely sure what it is, as I’ve very little familiarity with Mid-Eastern music, aside from a few metal bands which probably don’t represent the historic or cultural sounds of the countries there. The percussionists, actually the whole rhythm section, is also interesting in the last 2 minutes of the song.

According to one of the Youtube commenters, his vocals are an Arabic improvisational style called “mawwal“. Its interesting to hear and makes me wonder if its an equivalent to scatting. Its curious what trying to learn bass and music theory can expose a person to. I’m half-tempted to log into Talkbass and ask “What’s the best quanin for metal?” just to get someone’s goat, but I actually think some of the members there would end up surprising me with a real answer. When I have more time to explore, maybe I’ll do that…

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Coursera – Developing Your Musicianship Lesson 2 | Ugly Bass Face

  2. Pingback: Coursera – DYM Lesson 4 videos (7) | Ugly Bass Face

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