The Forms

The gharnâti suites listed in Algeria and approved of by Moroccan musicians number sixteen, four of which are incomplete.
Each nûbâ is based on a main musical mode (tab‘) from which it borrows its name.
The twelve complete nûbâ are: dhîl, mjanbâ, hsîn, ramal, ramal al-mâya, ghrîb, zîdân, sîka, rasd, mazmûm, rasd al-dhîl, mâya ; and the four incomplete are: muwwâl, ghribât al-hsîn, jârka, ‘irâq.
In addition to these principal nûbâ may be added the relatively recent mini-nûbâ or nûbâ inqilâb, whose poetic character and lighter musical style have made them very popular with the public.
The form of the gharnâti nûbâ like that of the nûbâ of the Moroccan âla, follows a succession of several rhythmic movements (mîzân): msaddar, btâyhî, darj, insirâf, makhlas.
These movements are linked to one another, either directly, or by means of an unmeasured instrumental prelude (istikhbâr) or a short and fast instrumental piece (kursî).
Each movement includes a variable number of sung poems (san‘a) performed sometimes by a soloist, sometimes by instrumentalistschorists.
Depending on the time allotted for a musical session, all the pieces are played or a selection is made to suit the taste of the artists and of the audience, while strictly respecting the linking and the order of the movements.
The version of the nûba ramal here, contains 8 out of the 76 san‘a compiled by Algerian musicians.
The poetic models are borrowed from the classical genre, qasîda, from the more recent muwashshah, or again from dialectal forms derived from the muwashshah, the zajal.
Each poem is usually divided into three parts : the first is composed of two or three lines (ghusn) interspersed with instrumental refrains jawâb ; the second is a matla‘ of one or two lines sung to a different melody; and
the third, rujû‘, goes back to the melody of the first part.