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  • Writer's pictureDinaKhalil

"Arabize" My Song

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

Coming here from a different culture and having that constant feel of being home sick, I thought of putting a teeny tiny piece of my culture into this project.

Working with Gil on our last assignment together made me realize that in my culture, we actually have some very uncommon and unique musical instruments that are being used exclusively in Arabic songs. Since these Arabic musical instruments are unknown to many people and very underrated, I’ve decided to use them to help me add a twist to your favorite songs.

The idea is to let the user connect their phones and play any song they like to a station that’s supposed to “Arabize” your song. The station would have about 4 tarbushes acting as a rotating button to control different Arabic musical instruments. Each tarbush would control one instrument, and the user gets to add the sound of any of the instruments to their song controlling their volume. It's like a mashup between karaoke and DJing.

I chose the tarbush to be the controller because the top view looks like a volume button on many radios and old music players. Also, because the tarbush was traditionally worn by most men in Egypt in the past, mainly in the 50s. It wasn't a symbol for a certain religion or class, it was simply worn by everyone. Very few people still wear it nowadays.

Tarbush top and a button top side by side


a picture of Doumbek or Tabla
Doumbek/ Tabla

a picture of Qanun, which is an arabic instrument

a picture of oud

Get an idea of the Music


Under the tarbushes, there will be potentiometers to control the volume of the sounds of the Arabic musical instrument. I’m not sure of what the user will connect their phones to exactly, but it can be just an empty promise.

How I Imagine the Project to be

how i imagine the project to be. stick man behind a table that has 4 tarbushes on top to control volume of each instrument

User Path

Initially, I wanted to do this on Ableton, but unfortunately I couldn't find a tutorial for what I wanted to do.

Below, is an example of what might be a user's song choice with a tabla sound added to it. Check it out! play the below tracks together, in different tabs, and adjust the volume according to your preference in order to 'arabize' this song.


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