Greetings from Egypt,
I in progress with a study in the subject of “Preservation of the endangered cultural assets of the traditional Egyptian storytellers’ heritage and its instruments and tools.” in cooperation with UNISCO Cairo Office,
The collections of the instruments and tools related to the mentioned heritage include Musical instruments such as Rababa or Arab fiddle with bow, Smsmiyya or Tanpora, Salamiyyah, Zummarah, Mizmar, Arghul, Nay, Tabl and Tambourine, as well as the other instruments and objects such as storytelling props (puppets, Qaraquz or Araquz etc) and Sanduk El-Donia (Please see details blow about such heritage and its instruments and tools).
I am calling for entries from professionals and museums (which have collections of the mentioned instruments and tools) as we as individual obtained privet collections or pieces of the mentioned instruments and tools.
The entries could be in any form and not limited to the following forms:
1- Information, documents and published studies or books in the mentioned subject.
2- Information regarding the existing collection in your museum or your privet collection (such as the documentation and records information, the pieces state of conservation and photos) with permission (in any form) to include the material within the study.
3- Information about the related material available on your website and permission (in any form) to include such material within the study and to link the related mentioned pages to the study's WebPages being designed and established to be linked to UNISCO Website as well as to some other related Sites.
4- Information, studies and other material regarding similar instruments and tools other than Egyptian for comparative study (as well as Information regarding the existing collection of such similar instruments and tools in your museum or your privet collection with permission (in any form) to include the material within the study).
5-Recommendations and studies in preservation and conservation of the mentioned instruments and tools as well as the Preservation and Conservation methods, materials and techniques.
6- Recommendations and studies in Documentation, Storage and Displaying methods and techniques.
I will be so grateful to receive your entries As Soon As Possible and before the Dead Line of August 31, 2007. Please send your entries with the subject marked “Traditional Egyptian storytellers’ heritage”
For any questions or doubts please fell free to connect me.
I also will be so grateful for all your advice and suggestions.
I look forward to hear from you and thank you in advance,
With my best regards,
Dr. (Mr.) / Hany Hanna (PH.D)
Elected Coordinator, ICOM-CC–Wood, Furniture and Lacquer
General Director, Department of conservation, Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), EGYPT.
Professor, Institute for Coptic Studies in Cairo.
Mobil No.: +2-012-4176742
Postal Address: 8 Sayed Darwish St., El-Kousaiareen, Cairo, Egypt. (11291)
Preservation of the endangered cultural assets of the traditional Egyptian storyteller's heritage
The traditional Egyptian storytellers’ heritage is a very important art in its musical, theatrical and cinematic forms. In its expressive singing, stylized speech, motion, repertoire of narratives and mimetic gesture, it is one of the most unique expressions of Egyptian’s rich performing arts tradition and folk culture. In addition to its significance as a foremost literary and musical expression, this heritage represents a repository for the rich spectrum of Egyptian folk history, customs, beliefs, symbolism and traditions not only in its intangible form but also in its instruments and movable assets.
The traditional Egyptian storytellers’ heritage consists of many stories and epic poems such as al-Sirah al-Hilaliyyah and its characters such as Abu zed al-Hilaliy, El-Zenaty Kalepha and Zayab Ibn Ganem.
Al-Sirah al-Hilaliyyah, which recorded within the second proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is just one of the major oral epic poems to develop within the Egyptian and Arabic folk tradition from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, al-Sirah al-Hilaliyyah is the last of these epics to remain alive in oral tradition and continues to be performed in its integral musical form until today and has survived to the present day in Egypt.
There were other stories such as the story of Sayf Ibn Ze El-Yazen, the story of Antra Ibn Sadad and Abla and Antra’s partner Shaybob and a lot of Political and emotional stories.
In its musical form there are different forms of storytelling performed by vocalists or poets with musical instruments accompaniment.
Several traditional musical instruments traditionally used to accompany the traditional storytellers, poetries and singers. Those instruments are mostly wooden instruments. There are several sorts of instruments include string instruments such as Rababa and Smsmiyya, wind instrument such as Salamiyyah, Zummarah, Mizmar, Arghul and Nay and percussion instruments such as Tablah and Tambourine.
- Rababa (Arabic Fiddle) Or Oriental Rebec Or (Spike Fiddle) The Egyptian Rababa or Arab fiddle is the earliest known bowed instrument. The instrument was first mentioned in the 10th century, became prominent in medieval and later in Arab art music. In medieval times the word Rababa was used for any bowed instrument. The Rababa has a membrane belly made mainly of wood, two or three strings. There is normally no fingerboard, the strings being stopped by the player's fingers. The Rababa’s body shapes vary; pear-and boat-shaped Rababa was particularly common, Bedouin musicians mainly play rectangular bodies, flat round and trapezoidal are also found. Throughout the Middle East and Egypt, the word Rababa or a derivative name refers to a spike fiddle, one that has a small round or cylindrical body and a narrow neck. It has an easily recognizable rich thick sound - a combination of high and low tones.
- Smsmiyya (Tanpora) is a musical instrument made of wood and has five strings. Noun as Tanpora the Smsmiyya used in Nubia where from it moved to the Sues canal area where it became the common popular musical instrument especially in Port Said, Ismailiya and sues sites.
- Salamiyyah is an open-ended reed-flute, characteristically breathy in tone and commonly seen in folk-oriented Sufi performances.
- Zummarah (Oriental Salamia) or (Kawla) has a two identical reed tubes, each tube has five or six holes and a smaller tube inside which vibrates to produce the sound. It is played using a circular breathing technique, which produces a continuous sound.
- Mizmar (Or reed pipe) is a double reed appears characteristically with a large double-sided drum called Tabl baladi. Typically, three Mizmars play together. Not too long ago, a 3,000-year-old tomb of Egypt was uncovered on an archeological dig sponsored by the University of Cairo. During the excavation, an ancient reed Mizmar was discovered in the ruins. Although pictures of such musical instruments were depicted on the walls of other previously excavated tombs, this was the first incidence in history of actually uncovering the real object.
- Arghul is a reed flute, open-ended and end-blown. It has a limited range and a breathy sound, which the player sometimes accompanies by humming and associated with weddings and dances, and also played by shepherds. Arghul resembles the Palestinian Yarghul.
-Nay (Oriental Flute) is an open-ended, usually 60 to 70 cm long, with 5 to 7 finger holes, obliquely blown flute made from reed or wood. Exhibiting a breathy tone, it has a wide range of almost two and a half octaves. It is also extremely expressive and capable of producing dynamic and tonal inflections. The development and use of the Nay has been attributed to shepherds, but it is, in fact, an urban instrument. The Nay also appears in some Sufi musical performances.
- Tabl (or tablah ) (Or Darbuka) is a cylindrical double-sided wooden drum, covered with goatskin played with the hand on one side and with a wooden beater on the other. The name is widely used, though the instrument itself has regional variations.
- Tambourine (Tar) is a one of the musical instruments which has it's origins in the middle ages. It is also known in Egypt as Riqq (Rikk, reqq or Rek), this Egyptian tambourine is a cylindrical drum with sets of double cymbals, which can create many distinct tones and patterns.
In the theatrical form another sort of the storytellers’ tool been used.
Qaraquz or Araquz is the fames name for this tool, which form featuring handcrafted puppets and complex musical styles. Qaraquz is a sort of glove puppet, which made of wood and textile. The storyteller or puppeteer used to be hided behind a textile and wooden screen tells or sings his story and moves the puppets in the front of the attendance.
In it cinematic form another sort of the storytellers’ tools been used.
Sanduk El-Donia (= box of the world) (Or Peep-show box) is the name for this tool (Sanduk is an Arabic word means box and El-Donia is an Arabic word means the world), which is a wooden box used by the storytellers for telling the stories accompanied by pictures and music. People used to look to the picture inside the box through some holes while the artist tells the stories and changes the picture.
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Dr. Hany Hanna
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Received on 2007-06-12