Andalusī nūbah (نوبة أندلسيّة), also transliterated nūba, nūbā, or nouba (pl. nūbāt), or in its classical Arabic form, nawba, nawbah, or nōbah, is a music genre found in the North African Maghrib states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya but, as the name indicates, it has its origins in Andalusi music. The name replaced the older use of sawt and originated from the musician waiting behind a curtain to be told it was his turn or nawbah by the sattar or curtain man.[1]

The North African cities have inherited a particularly Andalusian musical style of Granada.[2] The term gharnati (Granadan) in Morocco designates a distinct musical style from "Tarab Al Ala" originating in Córdoba and Valencia, according to the authors Rachid Aous and Mohammed Habib Samrakandi in the latter's book Musiques d'Algérie.[3]

Form, texts, and performance

According to tradition, there were initially 24 nubat, one for each hour of the day. Each nuba must have a duration of 1 hour.[citation needed]

Lyrics are sung by a soloist or in unison by a chorus, and are chosen from the muwashshah or zajal poetic forms, which are in classical and colloquial Arabic, respectively.[4]

An andalusi nubah uses one tab' (similar to a maqam, or mode) per performance, and includes several instrumental pieces as well as predominantly vocal pieces accompanied by instrumentation. These differ as to mizan (pl. mawazin) or rhythmic pattern (wazn, pl. awzan).[1][dubious ]

Formally the tempo increases while the awzan simply[vague] within each of five sections, called mawazin. The sections are introduced by short instrumental pieces and vary according to region, the name of a section indicating the wazn used:

The instrumental ensemble used includes the ud, rabab, Maghreb rebab or rebec, nay, qanun, tambourine, and a goblet drum called darbuka. The instrumentalists also serve as chorus.[5]


Name of the Nubah Scale
Raml al-Máya (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { d2 e4 f4 g4 a2 b4 c4 d4 ))
Iráq al-Ajam (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { g'2 a4 b2 c4 d2 e fis4 g2 ))
Al-Máya (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { c2 d4 e2 f4 g2 a4 b c2 ))
Rasd (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { d2 e4 g4 a2 b4 | d4 a2 g4 e4 d2 c d ))
Hijaz Al Kabir (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { d2 ees4 fis4 g2 a2 b4 c4 d2 ))
Hijaz (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { d2 e4 fis4 g4 a2 b4 c4 d2 ))
Al-Ushshaq (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { g'2 a4 b2 c4 d2 e4 f g2 ))
Al-Isbahán (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { d2 e4 f4 g4 a2 b4 c4 d2 ))
Al-Istihlál (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { c2 d4 e f g2 a4 b4 c2 ))
Gharíbat al-Housayn (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { c2 d4 e2 f4 g a b c2 | c b4 a 2g f4 e d c2 ))
Rasd Al-dayl (Morocco)
\relative c' { \override Staff.BarLine #'stencil = ##f { c2 d4 e2 f4 g a2 b4 c2 ))


In Tunisia, the 13 nubat are traditionally said to have been classified and organized by the 18th-century aristocratic amateur Muhammad al-Rashid Bey, who died in 1759. He is also credited with the composition or commissioning of the 27 instrumental pieces (bashrafs, etc.) that introduce and separate the main vocal pieces in the nuba cycle. In this system, the 13 nubat are treated as a single overarching cycle, given a sequence in which, ideally, they should be performed.[6]


The nubat of Morocco were collected and classified toward the end of the 18th century by the musician Al Haïk from Tetuan.[7]

Unlike the nubat from Algeria or Tunisia, Moroccan nubat are long, so it is rare for a Moroccan nuba to be played in its entirety. Another distinction is that many Tunisian or Libyan nubat and some Algerian nubat are considered as being of Turkish inspiration, whereas Moroccan nubat are free of this influence.[citation needed]


See also


  1. ^ a b Touma 1996, p. 68.
  2. ^ Menocal, Scheindlin, and Sells 2000, pp. 72–73.
  3. ^ Samrakandi 2002, pp. 15, 24.
  4. ^ Touma 1996, pp. 70–71.
  5. ^ Touma 1996, p. 70.
  6. ^ Davis 1996, 425–26.
  7. ^ Eisenberg 1988, 184.


  • Davis, Ruth (1996). "Arab-Andalusian Music in Tunisia". Early Music 24, no. 3, Early Music from Around the World (August): 423–426, 428–431, 433–437.
  • Eisenberg, Daniel (1988). "The Editor's Column: La musique andalouse marocaine". Journal of Hispanic Philology 12:181–189 (archive from 5 March 2019, accessed 22 July 2020).
  • Menocal, María Rosa, Raymond P. Scheindlin, and Michael Sells (eds.). 2000. The Literature of Al-Andalus. The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature 5, series edited by Alfred Felix and Landon Beeston. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47159-6.
  • Samrakandi, Mohammed Habib (2002). Musiques d'Algérie: Mémoire de la culture maghrébine algérie: histoire, société, théâtre, arts plastiques. Horizons maghrébins: le droit à la mémoire 47. Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail. ISBN 978-2-85816-657-2.
  • Touma, Habib Hassan (1996). The Music of the Arabs, translated by Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-88-8.

Further reading

  • Azzouna, J. Evolution de la musique arabe jusqu'au Zajal, Ibla. Revue de l'Institut des Belles-Lettres Arabes Tunis, 1977, vol. 40, no. 140, pp. 213–241.
  • Barrios Manuel, Gitanos, Moriscos y Cante Flamenco, Séville, RC 1994.
  • Benabdeljalil Abdelaziz, Madjal ilâ târîj al-mûsîqâ al-magribiyya (Introduction à la musique marocaine), Casablanca, s. éd., 2000.
  • Bois, Pierre, L'Anthologie al-Âla du Maroc. Une opération de sauvegarde discographique., in Internationale de l'imaginaire, vol. 4: "La musique et le monde", Paris, Babel, Maison des cultures du Monde, 1995, pp. 75–90.
  • Chailley, Jacques, Histoire musicale du Moyen-Age, Paris, PUF, 1950.
  • Chottin, Alexis, Corpus de musique marocaine, fascicule 1: Nouba de ochchâk (prélude et première phase rythmique: Bsīṭ), transcription, translation, and notes. Paris: Heugel Editeur, 1931.
  • Cortes, García Manuela, Pasado y Presente de la Música Andalusí, Sevilla, Fundación El Monte, 1996.
  • Fernandez Manzano, Reynaldo, De las Melodias Nazari de Granada a las Estructuras Musicales Cristianas, Diputación Provincial de Granada, 1985.
  • Fethi Zghonda, Tunisie. Anthologie du mâlûf, vol. 4, éd. Maison des cultures du monde, Paris, 1993
  • García Barriuso Patrocinio, La Música hispano-musulmana en Marruecos, Madrid, Publicaciones des Instituto General Franco, 1950.
  • Guettat, Mahmoud, La Musique classique du Maghreb, Paris, Sindbad, 1980.
  • Guettat, Mahmoud, La Música Andaluí En El Maghreb, Sevilla, Fundación El Monte, 1999.
  • Mokhtar Hadj Slimane: "Recueil d'informations élémentaires sur la musique andalouse à Tlemcen", publié en avril 2002. Ministère le culture du Maroc Historique; Personnages ayant marqué de leurs empreintes leurs passages au sein de cette musique(photos et biographies de certains d'entre eux ), Poésies chantées les plus utilisées, Volet technique, conclusion.[full citation needed] (archive from 19 April 2009).
  • Nadir Marouf (dir.), Le chant arabo-andalou, Paris: L'Harmattan, 1995.
  • Poché, Christian, La Musique Arabo-Andalouse, Paris, Cité de la musique / Actes Sud, 1998.
  • Scarnecchia, Paolo, Encyclopédie de la Méditerranée, Musiques populaire, musique savante, série Temps Présent, Edisud, 2003
  • thèse de doctorat inédite Los moriscos españoles emigrados al norte de Africa, después de la expulsión. Traduction de l’extrait par J. et C. Penella, révision de M. de Epalza et J. Servage.