Form and Structure of Chaabi Music
As the popular music of Morocco, Chaabi is a less defined musical tradition than many other styles of Moroccan music. It varies widely in rural and urban settings, and its evolution since the 1930's has allowed for the development of parallel traditions. However, Chaabi is commonly based on poetry written in Moroccan Arabic (Darija), called Qacida.
Chaabi's musical roots can be found in Andalusian music, but it possesses much of the poetic and musical freedom that Andalusian music lacks. Chaabi combines the modes found in Andalusian music to create a more improvised and fluid style. Chaabi's improvisational basis also allows individual artists more freedom and creativity.
Chaabi music typically ends with a leseb, where the tempo of the music is doubled and the music is accompanied by clapping, dancing, and shouting. In general, Chaabi music tends to be upbeat and celebratory, as it is commonly found at celebrations such as weddings and festivals.
Because Chaabi is influenced by Arab, Andalusian, Berber, Sufi, Malhun, Gnawa, and Western music, it is difficult to define the style concretely. It continues to evolve, although in recent decades it has been somewhat eclipsed by Ra'i music in Morocco.
"The Chaabi style has been overshadowed by other musics,including the Gnawa music that has become ubiquitous at world-music festivals. There are also Western imports like rock, soul, and especially hip-hop—not to mention raï, the Algerian-bred sound that has become a sort of Pan-Arab house music." - Elias Muhanna, "Folk the Kasbah"