10 - The components of the Qanun
In lesson number six, Mr. Majed covers some information about the Qanun, number of strings and vocal space of this instrument. He also mentions the importance of this instrument in oriental musical history.
Welcome to i3zif.com, I am Majed Srour. We will start the 6th lesson. Today we will talk about the Zither, its components, vocal space, number of cords and off-tunes. These are the things we didn’t pay much attention for in the beginning because we were focused on placing our hands in the right way. The number of cords in the Zither is 78 cords; they consist of 26 notes or scale, not the musical scale, but we call it scale; Sol is a scale, La is a scale, Si… and so on. It is 26 notes, each note consists of 3 cords. It is up to the comfort of the player, if they think it is more comfortable to have 2 cords only in the last section they can, their sound is smoother for them. But it is more common to have 3 cords which gives a total of 78 cords. they start from Sol and end in Re. we agreed that the octave is 7 notes, and the 8th is repetition; Sol La Si Do Re Me Fa Sol, so from the lower Sol to the higher Sol it is called octave. So what we have is 3 octaves and 5 notes; Sol to Sol, Sol to higher Sol, Sol to Higher Sol, and 5 tunes *Play music* Sol La Si Do Re, this is the vocal space for the Zither. the vocal space for the Zither, made it a king within oriental music culture, it can play anything, and has all vocal spaces, with no problems. As long as it is calibrated well, then the player can play anything. And the Zither is named this way (Zither=Qanoun in Arabic meaning Law) because it is considered both for the music culture or the band, it is the constitution of the tune. This was very clear when a singer sings a part of a song. This part is different than the song you rehearsed, this part is usually spur of the moment. So anybody who faces this opportunity, and plays along is the Zither. Maybe later on any other instrument can participate but the Zither is still taking the lead, seeing as it is the ruler and governor of the oriental music culture, the Zither is the constitution of the tune. Now that we have talked about vocal spaces, let us talk about off-tunes. we will start simple with the first scale, a very popular scale in the piano, and in oriental music , it is called Do Major scale. If we notice the piano, we will find white and black keys. The black keys are 2 then 3 then 2 then 3 then 2 then 3. This black key is the medium distance between the note and the next one right after, which is 1 whole tune. For example, Do and Re, between them there is a whole tune. Now in the middle we find the black key , the is the medium space between them. Also between Re and Mi is an entire tune. We will find the second black key which is in the middle distance between them. Now between Mi and Fa, this scale’s dimensions are, between Do and Re, an entire tune, between Re and Mi an entire tune, but between Mi and Fa half a tune. In the scale, all notes have an entire tune between them except Mi and Fa, Si and Do. Let us memorize this as one of the basics to remember from this lesson. The scale of Do Major, which utilizes white keys only, we will not find a black key in between, the tune between them is ½ already. Between Si and Do also not black key, both those notes have the ½ tune in the middle. Do and Re have an entire tune between them which is why you will find a black key between them, also between Re and Mi, Fa and Sol, Sol and La, La and Si also. But between Mi and Fa they don’t have a black key in between because the tune between them is already 1/2. Now let us apply this on the Zither.