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A light, rhythmic collection of sounds that seem designed for dancing, Lebanese music developed in the courts of the early Islamic empire from the 7th to the 13th centuries.
The music is created using unharmonised melodies and long rhythmic cycles - in order to catch the rhythm and move or sing in time, a listener must follow the long pattern in the music.
Much of Arabic music is accompanied by singing, which can be poetic or even an elaborate sort of wordplay. The Arabic language lends itself to sophisticated, many-layered word games, and the greatest Lebanese singers are masters of this art.
Apart from the human voice, the most important instruments in Lebanese music are: various lutes, both long and short-necked, such as the 'ud; the bowed lute or fiddle called the rabab; the oboe-style flute known as the mijwiz or shawm; and the single-headed drum called the dirbake or tablah.
Various tambourines such as the daff are popular, as is the double headed drum and the naker, a small kettledrum.