Taqsim (تَقْسِيم, also spelled taqseem, taksim or takseem, plural 'taqasim') is an improvisation of an oud, buzuq, violin, ney, qanun, accordion, saxophone, or any other melodic instrument in Middle Eastern music.
It can be performed alone or as a part of a full musical composition, sometimes as an introduction and other times in the middle of the piece. When it's a part of a full composition, it may be backed up by a steady rhythm in harmony with the melodic solo.
When we're describing taqasim in English, we might use the name of the instrument first, followed by the word "taqsim," like "oud taqsim" or "ney taqsim." However in Arabic, typically the description of a word will follow the noun that it's describing. Since the instrument describes the type of taqsim being played, in Arabic these taqasim would be described as "taqsim oud" or "taqsim ney."
Hear a few examples below:
Oud Taqsim by Farid al-Atrache, the "King of the Oud"
Taqsim Nay by Michael Ibrahim
Baladi Progression Beginning With a Saxophone Taqsim by Samir Srour
Taqsim Qanun by Tony Barhoum of the National Arab Orchestra
Baladi Progression Beginning With an Accordion Taqsim
Taqsim Violin by Karim Henkesh
Which of these melodic instruments is your favorite to listen to? Which type of taqsim do you most enjoy dancing to? Would you like to learn more about taqasim, like how to interpret this music as a dancer? Let us know in the comments below!
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