Shems

Taksim

ShemsA taksim is an improvisation of a solo instrument. The instrument plays either completely alone, with a percussionist (often playing a slow rhythm like a chiftitelli or wahda kebir but it can be any rhythm) or with a drone, meaning the others instruments sustain one note as an underlay for the highlighted solo. The dancer interprets that instrument, emotionally and physically through her movement. Often the taksim is part of another piece, like an Oriental entrance or any piece that the musicians decide to include improvisational portions in. Sometimes it stands alone between pieces as a very moving and beautiful portion of a performance. A common structure for the taksim: The instrument will begin in the same musical maqam as the piece, then modulate into different maqams and return to the original maqam which will cue a return to the original piece. One common mistake for dancers in the taksim is to over dance. Trying to physically relate every musical detail isn’t as important as bringing out the feeling of the taksim. The dancer chooses to highlight important details. The other common mistake is to be too flat. It is important for the dancer to extend the emotion of the music with her own emotional openness and stretch the meaning by using a large range of dynamics.

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