If you have been dancing belly dance for a while then you have probably heard of the term Taqsim, Taksim, Takaseem or Taqasim.
I remember that as a novice belly dancer I had no idea what the purpose of a Taqsim was. When I started with belly dancing, I loved the exciting music of a darbuka during a drum solo. I think many of us are attracted to a Darbuka's Dums and Taks. But as I developed myself more and more in belly dance and listened more carefully to Arabic music, the appreciation for the melodic parts grew.
As my education in belly dance continued and I listened more and more to Arabic music, the appreciation for the melodic parts grew. In the meantime my body became stronger and I got more freedom of movement through the training in the Salimpour Format and I was becomingcame a greater fan of Taqsim.
I remember when I was in Bharata Natyam a similar thing happened to me. I was so attracted to the Tillana (Abstract dance) and the more I grew in my dance the more my appreciation grew for the poetic parts.
But what is actually a Taqsim?
In Arabic music, a Taqsim is a melodic improvisation of a single instrument. Sometimes that instrument can be supported in the background by another instrument playing an underlying note. The most commonly used traditional instruments in Arabic music are the Oud, Buzuq, Qanun and Ney.
The performance of classical Arabic music is built on a Maqam. A maqam is the musical mode in Arabic music. A modes or mode is the way in which the system of tone systems are ordered. Arabic music has different types of Maqamat (pl. Maqam) and each Maqam has its own character traits and moods.
Taqsim traditionally follows a certain melodic progression. Usually the beginning and the end of a musical piece is in the same Maqam, but sometimes it transfers to a different Maqam. The study of Maqamat does take musicians many years but as dancers we can take advantage of it by understanding the basics.
What do you do in belly dance with Taqsim?
Belly dancers use the term Taqsim from a dancers point of view.
Modern music compositions are pieces of music created for belly dancers but still have a section with a Taqsim in it. Because the music is slower, we use belly dance movements that are slower, think of flowing and undulating movements, almost hypnotic to the viewers eye, because those movements are more appropriate to the music piece. In Jamila Salimpour Format, a whole section of dance moves is classified as Taqsim Family. And because those are belly dance moves, musically it doesn't necessarily have to be a Taqsim.
Two examples of modern compositions with a Taqsim section in it
A few CDs I can recommend with different instruments
The following source was used for this blog post:
Middle Eastern Music: History and Study Guide (A Salimpour Learning Tool)
Hello! My name is Nargis!