Do certain instruments encourage the same belly dance moves in all dancers?

As a scientist and a belly dancer I am always interested in the latest dance related studies and surveys.

Have you ever wondered if certain sounds illicit the same motivations to move for all dancers? I am sure you have noticed that big, deep drum beats tend to get big, juicy, earthy moves from most people. I guess Keti Sharif was wondering this too as she recently added a pdf on her survey on this very topic. She had the aim

 “to observe any recurring patterns of natural movement response to each instrument, to establish predominant music-movement relationships and characteristics of movement value”.

To read the complete findings, you can easily obtain a copy through the lovely Keti Sharif’s website.does the music effect the dance?

But here is a little taste of what was discovered from the 836 participants:-

Ney elicited an overwhelming preference for upper body movement and arms at shoulder level or above head.

Oud tended to elicit lower body responses  with rolling and vibrating movements interspersed, and the arms were moving between chest and hip level – possibly as a response to scale.

“The survey demonstrates that in many cases, the area of the body and movement of the musician to hold instrument and create sound (eg: strumming, stroking, wavering or plucking types of movement), is often reflected intuitively through dance, in the same, or at least a close or nearby area of the dancer’s body.”

This is a very cool bit of insight into human nature and sound. I thank all participants and the Keti for putting this together. It is worth a look for all sorts of reasons but could be particularly valuable to teachers, those interested in dancing to live music or those that have trouble with improvisation.

Do you know of any other studies on dance or belly dance that you have found useful? Please share the links below.

Free Belly Dance Music

I randomly came across this website offering free mp3 downloads. It has some great Arabic music on the page that’s worth listening too, particularly if you are relatively new to belly dance and haven’t got many Arabic albums in your collection. You can download the songs for free however where they actually got the music from is not mentioned. I suspect it is ripped from youtube clips and possibly without the permission of the artist. You will have to work out the ethics for yourself but if I really like a piece or intend on dancing to it, I always give it my best shot to track down the original music and pay for it. It helps support the artists and it’s hard to be a great dancer without great music to inspire us!!

Here’s the link to mp3truck for your listening pleasure..

Arabic music free

Don’t forget that I post on any free Arabic or belly dance related music I come across so please hit the follow button so you don’t miss a post.

Another popular post I did on free Arabic Music can be found here

or you can just scroll down the page to the Articles heading on the right hand side of the page and hit the music or Arabic drumming categories to see more.

What do you think about all the free video and music popping up on the web? Ethical or unethical? Comment below.

A Lot of Free Arabic Music

I stumbled across this website by accident and what a find! So much free Arabic music to download, it is a belly dancers heaven.

Ghaneli sports hundreds of Arabic artists and thousands of albums. Sign up is simple and you can start downloading. The site is available in both English and Arabic which is handy for us English speakers! I can’t read any Arabic script as yet.

I haven’t quite got the hang of the site yet. I don’t seem to be able to listen to anything first, so it’s a bit of pot luck unless you know what you are after. The other problem is that I only seem to be able to download “Albums” not songs or “collections” by hitting the download button but you can download individual songs by looking for the text link download.  Despite these glitches I still have access to 3394 albums!!  A slightly annoying thing that happens is that sometimes the songs get placed on your start up page but it takes only a second to delete the shortcuts from there. Abou El Leef’s album Super Leefa had “ghaneli” come through as the title for every song so I needed to do a bit of cut and paste from the website to get the correct titles but for the other albums I have tried that didn’t happen.

Jade belly dance students should consider downloading the cave man looking album by Abou El Leef. This is an album I bought in Egypt and we use the song Abl Ma Anam in the kid’s class.  I had to try a lot of times but I finally managed to download songs by Oum Kalthoum -Joy! .

The Legendary Oum Kalthoum

For a bit of fun I have been picking a few albums at random. I have discovered that I am not really a fan of Amar – too babyish voice for my taste. Wael Jassar is a bit hit and miss for me. I think every dancer should have an Amr Diab song, if only to have an excuse to have a picture of him on an album cover. (I still remember the big billboards of him in Cairo and each time the group of dancers I was with drove by, all conversations stopped momentarily 🙂 )

I don’t know what the legalities are of this site but it looks pretty clean. I haven’t got any viruses off it as yet and it isn’t full of horrid flashing advertising. My biggest concern is that I am unsure how artists get reimbursed. I am suspecting they don’t (but I am not sure), so for the sake of good Karma I would suggest that if you download something you really like listening or dancing to then you should seek out potentially more official versions. Also it’s a good idea to tell people what you like to give the artist a bit of a plug.

Totally worth checking out. What is your favourite Arabic artist? Did Ghaneli work for you? What’s your best find? Comment below….

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