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Gharnati takes as its inspiration and starting point the music of the Moorish Civilisation that flourished in Andalucia (Al-Andaluz) up to the late fifteenth century. This culture was at the time the most sophisticated in Europe, and its music had a profound influence on the music of the troubadours and the European Courts of the time, and hence on the development of Western art music. It survives to this day in the Andalusian Music of the Maghreb. The piece is developed as a set of variations which create a suite of dances, somewhat in the Western tradition, but adheres strictly to the unstable Andalusian mode Zaydan, which is based on D with a ‘tonic’ of G, and which has alternating forms with major or minor third and sixth, and flattened or sharpened seventh. Its rhythmic schema is derived from that of the Tarab Gharnati (Granada), one of the great surviving compositions of the Andalusian culture. It may help to remind us of the huge debt we owe to Islamic civilisation. The violin part uses scordatura—tuning the ‘E string’ down to a D.

Gharnati was commissioned by Madeleine Mitchell and ensemblebash in 2007 with funding from Arts Council England. First performance—The Red Violin festival, Cardiff 2.10.07.

Instrumentation: violin, tamburello, darabuka, rattles, cabasa, vibraphone, 2 x marimba, saw, crotales, bows.

from notes by Stuart Jones © 2007


SIGCD111Download only


Track-specific metadata for SIGCD111 track 6

Recording date
4 August 2007
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
David Lefeber
Recording engineer
David Lefeber
Hyperion usage
  1. FiddleSticks (SIGCD111)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: November 2007
    Download only
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