Berber music is well-known for its use of folk oral traditions, as well as particular scales and rhythmic patterns, which include pentatonic music and African rhythms. All these tunes are combined together to form one of the main sources of entertainment in Berber social ceremonies like marriages, verses, tales and songs.
Fatima Tihihit Mqourn with Albenssir
Berber vocal styles in Morocco consist of two main types. The first, called Ahwash, is exclusively village music, probably unchanged for centuries or longer. Ahwash texts emphasize the submission of the individual to the community. Typically, it consists of two large choruses engaging in call-and-response vocals, accompanied by instrumentalists and dancers. Since this music requires anywhere from 20 to 150 participants, it is not easily portable and so rarely heard in the cities. The second, called Raiss, is performed by smaller groups of professional musicians who blend dance, comedy, and sung poetry. Raiss songs tend to honor orthodox Islam, but with notable dashes of syncretist belief. In these songs, things like sacrifices and evil eyes are justified in terms of Islam. Instruments typically include the rebab, a one-stringed fiddle, the lotar lute, hand drums, and a bell. One notable feature of rwais (rais, singular) melodies is the way they leap up and down in large intervals.
The region of Kabylia in Algeria has a very large Berber population. Vocalists are usually accompanied by a rhythm section, consisting of t'bel (tambourine) and bendir (frame drum), and a melody section, consisting of a ghaita (bagpipe) and ajouag (flute).
Naima bent Oudaden
The Berber music of the Tuareg region uses rhythms and vocal styles similar to the music of other Berbers and Arab music, while West African call-and-response-style singing is also common. In contrast to many of the region's peoples, among the Tuareg, music is mostly the domain of women, especially the imzhad, a string instrument like a violin. Tuareg weddings feature unique styles of music, such as the vocal trilling of women and special dances (ilkan) of slaves marking the occasion.
The Berber people are spread out over a large part of Africa, but seem to have a dense concentration within the North Western part of Africa. The people have a vast array of instruments, both melodic and percussive. The following instruments take part in the accompaniment in dance and song both secular, and sacred.
The Qasabah is an end-blown reed flute. Used mostly to accompany songs rather than dance, the Qasabah is said to have a rich, breathy texture.
The Mizwid is like a set of bag-pipes seen in the western world. The word literally means bag or food pouch. It has a higher pitch than western bag-pipes, but is said to have a wider pitch range.
The Zukrah of Tunisia has a large role in societal performances along with the Ghaytah of Morocco. In both countries, these instruments are combined with several percussive instruments to create large ensembles which may perform at public festivals or such occasions.
The Nafir is a long and natural horn similar to the western trumpet. This instrument is used mostly as a signaling instrument to send out messages to large masses. Although it has some value in performances, it serves mainly this purpose.
The Moroccan Ginbri is a stringed instrument without frets but rather a long neck. The box of the instrument is covered in skin, and is used in several varying occasions. Most ensembles have at least one Ginbri, although it is not always limited to one. In addition to the Ginrbri, is the Rabab, a long necked-fiddle with a large box which is covered in skin. This instrument has only one string made normally by horse hair. It is commonly used alongside the Ginbri, as the voice of the group.
In percussion, the Tabl is a cylindrical double-sided drum. Although it has similar use and spelling to the Tabla of India, there is no direct correlation found between the two. The Qas'ah is a large shallow kettledrum found mostly in Tunisia. Similar to the Qas'ah is the Naqqarah, two ceramic kettledrums played simultaneously by both hands.
In Moroccan Berber music, a series of snare frame-drums of Bandirsmay be played simultaneously. These provide the main percussive rhythm for Berber music as the above mentioned drums are more artistic than Bandirs.
Last, but not least, is the Qaraqib. This is a metal clacker which has resemblance of a castanets. There is one in each hand and may be used to mark rhythm or may also have its own type of melody.
Naima bent Oudaden
Berbers are a solid majority of Morocco's population, but are nevertheless politically marginalized. Their most famous musical output is likely Ammouri Mbarek Singer and Song writer (Considered to be, the john lennon- Beatles in the Berber World, singing sense the early 1960s and now; Nekk dik a nmun (1978) Cd Album). Usman - Music Band 1960s and 1970s . Najat Aatabou, a singer whose debut cassette, "J'en ai Marre", sold an unprecedented half a million copies in Morocco. Internationally, the Master Musicians of Jajouka are also well known, as a result of their collaboration with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and William S. Burroughs. Another recording group from Jajouka is Master Musicians of Joujouka, formerly managed by the late painter Mohamed Hamri. In 2009 the first R'n'B songs in a Berberian language were released by Ahmed Soultan in his second album Code.