Letter to Students Interested in the Arab Music Ensemble

Dear Singers and Instrumentalists:

As the department ethnomusicologist and director of the Arab Music Ensemble, I invite you to join the ensemble to perform the art and popular music of a wide range of Arabic-speaking societies and historically interconnected cultures.

Vocalists and instrumentalists of all skill levels are welcome. Previous experience is not required, and participation is open to all students and community members. Performances include official concerts that conclude each quarter in addition to optional shows on and off campus for special occasions. Coordination with an associated dance troupe is a regular part of concert programs. The group also usually goes on an optional concert tour each year.

The Arab Music Ensemble combines a choir and orchestra. There also are opportunities to perform as a soloist and in a chamber ensemble. Members learn the systems of melodic and metric modes that underlie a variety of composed and improvisational forms that include some of the oldest continuously performed art music genres in the world. Students may sing or play traditional or adapted instruments that include the oud, violin, qanun, nay, riqq, daff, darabukka/tabla, bass, cello, accordion, guitar, reed instruments, and additional percussion.

The course number is MU 188 for first-time enrollment. Thereafter it is MU 188 for lower division and MU 388 for upper division. Meetings/rehearsals are Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m., in Room 218 of the Davidson Music Center. The first meeting is on the first day of classes.

Feel free to contact me if I may be of assistance in any way, and again, welcome to Cal Poly and to the Arab Music Ensemble!


Ken Habib, Ph.D
(805) 756-2741