Arab music and cinema have gone through shifts of rapid progressional changes particularly because of the influence of modernity. Stemming from a purely religious framework, the two art forms have made radical turns in their development in order to compete effectively with other musical and film developers.
With most of the Western artistes tending to portray the Arabic culture, the Arab musicians and film makers have in recent days come out strongly to challenge such opinions through their works. This project seeks to analyze the development in both Arabic music and cinema. To this end the research shall cover all elements of progress covered in both the historical development of the two art forms as well as highlight on the modern day challenges being faced by the artistes in the field.
Music has played a fundamental role in the development of the Arabic culture since time immemorial. The works of anthropologists in various Arabic regions have unearthed different music instruments collected from both religious and secular environments, revealing that music has definitely been part of many Arabic rituals (Barakat 206-238).
Unfortunately, from research conducted by various scholars in the field it has been revealed that most of the traditional forms of Arabic music did not have a well laid down system of notation. As such, most of the musical transference only happened through a generational inheritance in which children learn from their parents. Arab music can easily be traced back to the 3rd Century
With the entry of modernity and civilization, Arabic music has had to borrow some elements from other cultures, a factor which has led to the development of such genres as Arab pop and Arab rock. The commercial prospects of the music industry have seen various individuals such as Ilham Al Madfai, Fairouz, and Magda El Roum develop music that appeals to the younger generation.
They have learnt to package their products professionally including going the extra mile of producing music videos to further attract more audiences. However, even with all the developments going on in the trade, modern day musicians still play allegiance to the masters of Arabic music including Umm Kulthum and Mohamed Al- Qasabji.
Even though some musicians have chosen to stick with traditional Arabic melodies, the influence of Western conventions has necessitated the development of pop cultures which are indicated by the development of competitive forms of ranking popular hip and urban music (Lughod 135-161).
However, these changes have not been without controversy as some of the developing younger-generations musicians have from time to time been accused of being negative influences to their peers. Syrian musician Abu Khalil Al-Qabani, for instance had to go on self imposed exile to Egypt to avoid falling victim to extremists. In Cairo, he established the first genuine Arabic music orchestra with his work receiving acclaim from all sectors of the music society.
Like music, Arab cinema has gone through intense evolution (Boyd 3-11). Since the production of the first Arabic film in the 1930s, various genres and aesthetic elements of production have been developed which weave into the elements of literacy, story telling and the development of music.
Most of the Arabic films have been developed in Egypt though some of the other Arabic states have greatly contributed to the development of the art form. Hollywood has had its influence in Arabic cinema particularly touching on the writing and production methods. Like with all other modern day forms of art, cinema has been heavily influenced by Western politics particularly when it comes to censorship and the usage of cinema as agent of resistance.
However, unlike Hollywood, Arabic cinema tries to portray the culture in positive light, by covering some of the broad aspects of social issues plaguing the people. In this regard, the films do not portray Arabs as nothing more than terrorists but as human beings who undergo normal everyday strife (Wild 200-209).
Theoretical thesis work/ Technical approach
The role of images to mould people’s thought processes through alteration of their states of mind will be analyzed based on secondary data. Data will be extracted from various journals, articles and books. The criteria of selection for the literature will be relevance to the research topic and the year of publication.
Both public and private libraries as well as online libraries were visited to access the data. Some of the online databases that were accessed include Ebsco, Questia, Emerald and Science Direct among others. This research will be partly evidence based and partly founded on professional research by professionals in the field.
Various articles will be studied in order to provide background information which will essentially give credibility to the final essay. Information from the books will serve to provide explanation as regards to the psychiatric effects of images and graphical representations. This is very vital information that will make the research appeal to both professionals and the general public.
For the latter, it may require that some of the information obtained from the books and other publications be broken down into simple language and at the same time illustrations drawn from the commonly applied functionalities of the stock market. Empirical data will also be collected from various cultural and scientific studies, with numbers and figures used to illustrate the evolutionary process of Arabic music and cinema.
In such a practical-based field, the strength lies in the figures and numbers obtained from real life scenarios to support collected evidence. With this knowledge in mind, effort will be made to obtain relevant information to the particular topic in question and this will be accompanied by adequate exemplification.
Barakat, Halim. “Creative Expression” in The Arab World: society, culture, and state. Ed. Halim Barakat. Berkeley: University of California press, 1993. 206-238. Print.
Boyd, Douglas. “Developments, trends, constraints” from Broadcasting in The Arab world: a survey of the electronic media in the middle east. Ed. Douglas Boyd. Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1999, 3-11. Print.
Lughod, abu Lila. Dramas of nationhood: The politics of television in Egypt. Cairo: The American University of Cairo press & the University of Chicago press, 2005. 135-161. Print.
Wild, Stefan. “Nizar Qabbani’s autobiography: Images of Sexuality, Death and Poetry” in love and sexuality in modern Arabic literature. Ed. Roger Alen. London: Saqi books, 1995. 200-209. Print.