Morocco Music

Morocco Music: Morocco had known the settlement of successive civilizations :

Arab Islamic, Jewish Sub-Saharan African and Mediterranean and that of the indigenous Berbers which participate in a way or another to create an interesting musical heritage that makes Moroccans feel proud of the dissimilarity of their country’s music styles.

It is not that strange to say that music impacts the passages of life of every Moroccan and marks his memory. Morocco Music is present everywhere in Morocco in social and religious ceremonies, in private homes and public places as cafes, markets…

It may include classical and popular elements; yet it usually deals with social matters, sentimental subjects and political issues. There are many sorts of Moroccan music:

Andalusian classical music:

Morocco has preserved the Andalusian music, the origin of which goes back to the 9th C; emerged in Cordoba under the Moors; characterized by a complicated musical structure using instruments as lute, fiddle, goblet, drums and violin.the singing words are in Andalusian dialects or classical Arabic.

Andalusian classical schools are across morocco especially in the cities of fez, Meknes, Tetouan, Chefchaoun, cities which were once to be home to thousands of moors displaced from Spain.

Gharnati music:

It is of Algerian origin, popular in two cities Rabat- the capital- and Oujda in north east of the country. The orchestra contains men and women; many instruments are used such as kvitra, banjo, violin and mandolin.

Malhun music:

A kind of Arabic poetry chanted by an orchestra using traditional musical instruments as those used in gharnati and Andalusian as violin, bass lute, small cymbals…

The Andalusian, the malhun and the Gharnati are extremely complicated in musical structure at the level of vocalized words or of musical instruments used.

Berber music:

the diversity of this style appears clearly in its three musical genres:

* Village music which is played collectively to make men and women give a show of “ahidus” and “ahouach” dances; flutes and drums are among instruments used.

* Ritual music is to celebrate important life events and social occasions: weddings circumcision, new birth in the family.

* Professional musicians called”imdezen” travel in group of four the leader of which is the poet who performs the words of the lyrics; they used drums and a one stringed fiddle.

The Chluh Berbers in the region of Agadir and its surroundings have professional musicians called “rawis” the leader of the group guides the musicians and conducts the dancing of the group; they used lutes, rababs and cymbals.

Jajouka professional musicians especially in the riff mountains region, a large group of men only, well organized play traditional music and dance on the riffian tones.

Chaabi music:

It is pop Morocco music, consisting of numerous varieties. It is characterized by the inter-fusion of many aspects of Moroccan music with Arab, African and western styles; its famous form progressed in 1970’s with the emergence of several popular groups that achieved a widespread success particularly “Jil Jilala”, “Nass-elghiwane” and” lemshahab”. Those groups consisted of many traditional Moroccan instruments such as” al hadjuj” with some form of drums. But new instruments like electric guitar were added later.

Gnawa music:

Entered Morocco in the 16th C from the sub-Saharan African countries and became a part of Moroccan legacy, the origin of the word is derived from the name of the ancient Guinea empire.

It is a kind of mystical music which mixes genuinely the Muslim Sufi formality and African rhythms. Special instruments are used in Gnawa music like“tbl” - a loud double headed drums- and” qurequbat”-metal castanets-.

RAI music:

Although it evolved in Algeria; this style gained a lot of popularity in Morocco in the early 90s and give another addition to Morocco music, especially in the eastern regions perhaps this is due to their proximity to Algerian.

Rai music is a danceable and fascinating music style .It is based on North African and European rhythms, singing colloquial Arabic which is a mixture of Arabic dialect and French; using modern musical instruments and sometimes the old ones as well as solid bass line, synthesizer. This kind of music discusses the question of love, immigration to Europe and the problems of youth in general.

Aissawa music:

Its origin goes back to the 15TH C. It is a kind of a Sufi Morocco music, traditional musical instruments are used such as “bender”,” taarija” (percussion instruments),”raita” (small pipes) and “n’far” ( large one- note trumpets), it became in the last decade obligatory in celebrating social occasions as weddings, circumcision..

There are more other kinds of music: “Jilala”,” Sufi brothers”, “hmadsha”, “derkawa”…


The culture of morocco is a multi ethnic one, a character that is more apparent in all kinds of Morocco music and all forms of dance. Dancing in Morocco varied according to the music style and the regions that keep the dance singularity; the most famous are: Ahouach, Ahidus, Guedra (a cooking pot)…

*Ahouach: a very popular dance in high atlas, women perform in this dance, forming a large circle while men play music.

*Ahidus: well- known dance in middle Atlas, singers and dancers make a circle and men and women beat the ground with their feet rhythmically.

*Guedra: a particular dance of Southern Morocco, the dancer is usually a woman who starts her performance kneeling and moving her fingers, sometimes there are two dancers a man and a woman.

*Tissint: a dance that distinguishes the south of Agadir called the dance of the dagger.

*Gnawa: a dance that has a religious aspect, some of the dancers do skilful physical acts while dancing.

*Taskiouine: a dance that marks the region of Ouarzazate, called also the warrior’s dance.

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