Musical traditions in Moghreb progressively built up through history and ties linking those countries to the Arab kingdoms of Andalus, and later thanks to the cultural contribution of Arabs fleeing Spain under the Reconquista.
A convenient title for this group of traditions is Arabo-andalusian music.
This music, the content and style of which varies considerably from Libya to Morocco, nevertheless shares a common formal principle, that of the vocal and instrumental suite or nûbâ.
In Morocco, the national repertory, al-âla, developed mainly in Fes as well as Tetuan and Chawen, then spread throughout the country.
Since the 19th century however, the towns of Rabat and Oujda have also cultivated another Arabo-andalusian repertory, called at-tarab al-gharnâti as a tribute to the city of Granada which was the last Arab bastion of Andalus.
Borrowe from the Algerian tradition of Tlemcen, it appears that gharnâti spread to Morocco, on one hand through the intermediary of Moroccan Jews who, after their flight from Spain until the 17th century, became imbued with surrounding Araboandalusian music (even today the Moroccan hazanut is sung in the inshâd gharnâti and mawwal styles), and on the other, thanks to Algerian families who settled in Morocco at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. It is also possible that this diffusing benefitted from the cultural and commercial ties lasting over several centuries between the towns of Tlemcen and Fes.
Nowadays, the centre of gharnâti music in Algeria are most of all Tlemcen, but also Algiers and Constantine, and in Morocco : Rabat and Oujda. But, if gharnâti in Rabat interests only a few musicians, others devoting themselves essentially to the wholly Moroccan âla, the city of Oujda, on the contrary, has seen its gharnâti audiences grow thanks to the Jami‘ya al-andalusiya and to a blossoming of other associations which are maintaining the tradition among younger generations.