I ADMIT that I was surprised by the size and quality of interest and reaction to my article ‘We copy music from others’ related to eminent Egyptian musician Abdel Wahab and others who copy Western melodies but don’t give credit to the original composers or admitting to what they have done indirectly.
Here they resemble the mimics of a painting or a novel and credit for their works. On the other hand, these, international tunes, mostly Western were and are still available to other musicians other than Abdel Wahab however, they have failed to earn the prestige or reach the status of Abdel Wahab, Farid Al-Atrash and Al-Rahbanis and therefore the issue can be looked at from more than one angle.
Due to the lack of space, I did not mention all of Abdel Wahab’s copied tunes in the first article, and a reader added another list added of copied melodies of songs as in “Ya Naimat al-Layl and Ana Sahi, from the opera ‘Samson and Dalila’, ‘Yallli Naweet Teshgheni’ from the Italian musician Giuseppe Verdi, and the song ‘Ahon Aleik’ from the Opera Aida of Verdi the song ‘Ya Donia Ya Grami’ from a Russian film with the participation of actress Greta Garbo, and the song ‘Al-Habibi Al-Majhoul’ Wagner, and ‘Aheb Aishat Al-Horriya’ from the Beethoven’s tunes.
Endama Ya’ati Al-Masa’a from the song ‘Shika Shika Baum’, and Ya Donia Ya Grami, from the Ukrainian folklore, ‘Yalli Naweet Teshghelni from Verdi, and ‘Khay Khay’ from Rachmanov, and the song ‘Al-Hob Jameel’ sung by Laila Murad in the ‘Ghazal Al-Banat’ from opera ‘The Story of Hoffman’, and even the song ‘Aheb Ahoufak kol youm’ from Opera Aida.
A well-informed reader says Farid Al-Atrash is better than Abdel-Wahab when it comes to copying, so as not to use another word more harsh and precise. It is rare to find the tune of a song that is not fully copied or in large part, such as ‘Leeh Tehgorni’ taken from the song ‘Ver de Luna’ of Rita Hayworth, and ‘Habib Albi wa wegdani’ from original Croatian song.
Mohammad Fawzi does not lag behind when it comes to copying and it is evident from his song ‘Yemken Ahebbak’, which was sung by Laila Mourad, and the origin of the song is in ‘Kiss me again’”, ‘Besame Mucho’ in Spanish, as well as the song ‘Yalli Wahabtak rouhi’ taken from the famous French song ‘J’attendrai’.
The music expert concludes by saying that Rahbanis, mainly Assi Al-Rahbani – not Mansour who was the author of the lyrics – began to compose the melodic dances before delving deeper into copying.
The reader agrees with me that the positive aspects of these professional quotations in their quality and style far outweigh their negatives, but we must admit that they added something special to our musical history, and the effect will remain with us forever.
We must not forget the fact that a majority of these musicians did not study or specialize in their fields, and therefore what they have really offered is considered special and distinguished.
We end the article with the fact that the greatest musician of the age is Sayed Darwish, whose role in addition to Arabic music, or Egyptian in particular, is not only renewal but in his originality. He is perhaps the only one who has not resorted to copying.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf