Music of Sudan

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Sudan has a rich and unique musical culture. Modern Northern Sudanese music has its roots in Haqibah (pronounced Hagee-ba). It originated in the early 1920s, and was originally derived from the Muslim gospel style known as Madeeh. Haqibah is essentially an harmonic a capella style, with percussion coming from the tamborine-like riq and from other instruments. Occasionally tonal instruments such as the piano and the qanun (a stringed instrument) are used.

Haqibah evolved into what is generally referred to as "post-Haqibah", a style dominating in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. This period was marked by the introduction of tonal instruments from both East and West, such as the violin, accordion, tabla, bongo and oud. A big band style came into existence, mirroring trends in the West. Post-Haqibah, like Haqibah, was based on the pentatonic scale.

From the 1970s to the present, Northern Sudanese music saw a further Westernisation, with the introduction of guitars and brass instruments. For the first time, female singers became socially acceptable. Northern Sudanese music remains today diverse, and quite distinctive compared to other musical cultures within the country itself, in the region and around the world.

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