Analysis Of Halim El-Dabh's Leiyla And The Poet

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For a piece that utilizes so many non-pitched sounds, Halim El-Dabh’s Leiyla and the Poet (1959) is a surprisingly melodic and structured piece. Two introductory motifs, one melodic, one rhythmic, are introduced at the beginning. The melodic element is shown in a whistle that follows a roughly duple pattern which is broken and reformed throughout the following minutes. Both the introduction and ending, it sets up the atmosphere and cues the listener’s attention to the different sections of the piece. It also helps makes the piece more understandable and approachable from the more traditional perspective of music. The rhythmic element is heard in the spoken voice shortly after the whistles stops. The voice is cut short and echoed over, repeating …show more content…
At the beginning and end are the high whistle which greets and closes the piece with its pleasant and erie melody. A introduction of each instrument without the wind brings each part to attention. The main focus - the voice - puts forth his motive towards Leiyla. He discusses “her cousin, a madman” and the almost oppressive message of his love for her. He becomes less and less comprehensible as the other instruments start picking up pace into the third part. Madness is the theme of this section. The voice is hardly understandable and is put alongside an early recording of itself. The echoing has been implemented with every word in some lines. There is clear emotion present in his voice when he says the name “Leiyla”. What that emotion is, however, is difficult to discern. The drums are heard at a greatly increased pace, utilizing more and more pitches with faster runs. The oud, a plucked string instrument, comes in and out, always matching the drum. It comes to sound rather like an accompaniment to a chase scene in an action movie. The drums conclude the section with a loud rhythm and are cut out. The whistle appears again for a brief conclusion that is reminiscent of the …show more content…
First attempted in Egypt in 1944 (Gluck), his use of tape
recorders to modulate, loop, and combine recordings lead to the unique sounds that make up his works. Splicing is merely cutting and pasting the magnetic tape used in cassettes and other audio recorders (Holkeboer). The tape can be rearranged in multiple different ways. Looping can be achieved by glueing to ends of a segment together to continuously play the same segment. An editor can also splice so that the music can abruptly or gradually fade into another section. Many other methods can be and have been commonly employed by composers ever since the practice started with visual recordings.
From a more ordinary recording of a man speaking about his desire for Leiyla, Halim El-Dabh made a rhythmic and musical performance. With tape splicing, El-Dabh was able to loop the same voice over itself, creating the alien sounding voice and expanding the possibilities of spoken expression. With any regular recording process, reusing the same voice to speak two parts at once would have been difficult, if not impossible, and the repetition of certain words to form accents and lend a sense of madness would have been unthinkable. The only way the voice’s critical manipulations towards a more foreign and interesting sound could have been achieved was through the use of splicing. While Leiyla is interesting enough to listen to, the

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