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The Theme of Balanced Polarity  

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The Theme of Balanced Polarity

Maintaining the universal musical balance meant conforming to the natural cosmic law of balanced polarity.

We noted earlier that the diatonic scale has two energy centers. Balanced polarity in musical terms is represented through the alternate action between two different and complementary energies (like inhaling–exhaling).

The concept of this musical form is represented in a typical
Ancient Egyptian musical scene since the Old Kingdom (4500 years ago). An example can be found in the walls of Mereruka’s tomb [6th Dynasty, Saqqara], which shows two men squatting inside an egg-shaped oval, beating two percussion sticks together. The scene represents the typical Egyptian dor, a piece of music with a refrain. Other similar graphical representations are depicted in Ancient Egyptian tombs, in the grape harvest scenes, as well as harvest scenes of men dancing while the grain is being taken to the granary.

The application of balanced polarity—alternating sounds—applies to all types of musical performances in Ancient and present-day Egypt, as follows:

1. By musical instruments—in several varieties, such as:

2. Alternate singing, the archetype of responsorial and antiphonal practice of singing, was the specialty of the Egyptians since ancient times. Present Baladi Egyptians of rural population continue the very same tradition— where their singing form, structure, and pattern are rendered by a choir leader (a leading voice). The lead singer provides the melismatic solo parts, and was/ is usually accompanied by 4-6 singers who perform the rhythmically formal, strongly bound refrain-like sections.

Alternating singing may also occur between male and female individuals or male and female groups.

3. Singing and instruments alternating between a singer and a musical instrument (or instruments).

4. Dances were/are also performed on the alternating sound principle, i.e. the energy generated from/by two focal points in the round-shaped formation of dancers or participants. [More about “circle” dance in chapters ....

[Excerpts fro The Enduring Ancient Egyptian Musical System - Theory and Practice by Moustafa Gadalla]