Alf Leyla Wa Leyla is one of the songs every belly dancer should know. It’s perfect for any performance, both choreography and improvization. It has a typical structure with changing rhythms and also taxeem (without rhythm) which makes it interesting for the dancer as well as for the audience. This complexity, however, can cause problems, especially to beginners.
Alf Leyla Wa Leyla
- Artist: Cairo Orchestra
- Albums: Aziza Raks!
- Length: 6:12
Because the rhythm and tempo changes all the time, you can’t count at the same speed one, two, three, four throughout the whole song like you do for most pop songs for beginners. Baladi and Maksoum are 4/4 rhythms (count to four), Fallahi is 2/4 rhythm (count to two), Masmoudi is 8/4 rhythm (count to eight) and Darij Samai is 6/4 rhythm (count to six) or even better, memorize the rhythms and listen for “dums” and “teks”.
In the table below you can find a musical analysis of Alf Leyla Wa Leyla summarized in a table. I find it helpful to analyze music to help me understand and memorize a piece of music. I can easily rewind the music to a certain point thanks to time marks and I also know exactly how many counts and to which rhythm I dance to.
Recommended reading: How to analyze belly dancing music
Alf Leyla Wa Leyla – musical analysis
|0:00 – 0:22||48||8-8-8-8-8-8||Intro||6x D D D pause, melody for 4 counts|
|0:22 – 0:36||32||16-16||A||8x Maksoum|
|0:36 – 0:59||32||4-12-4-12||B||1x Baladi, 3x Maksoum, 1x Baladi, 3x Maksoum|
|0:59 – 1:22||C||Taxeem (no rhythm)|
|1:22 – 1:44||32||4-12-4-12||B||1x Baladi, 3x Maksoum, 1x Baladi, 3x Maksoum|
|1:44 – 2:05||48||4-4-4-4-8-4-4-4-4-8||D||D, melody for 3 counts, D, melody for 7 counts|
|2:05 – 2:14||16||8-8||E||2x Masmoudi|
|2:14 – 2:26||24||6-6-6-6||F1||4x Darij Samai|
|2:26 – 2:44||36||18-18||F2||6x Darij Samai|
|2:44 – 2:53||18||18||F3||3x Darij Samai|
|2:53 – 3:12||36||12-12-12||F4||6x Darij Samai|
|3:12 – 3:29||36||18-18||F2||6x Darij Samai|
|3:29 – 3:38||18||18||F3||3x Darij Samai|
|3:38 – 3:56||36||18-18||F2 var||6x Darij Samai|
|3:56 – 4:05||18||18||F3 var||3x Darij Samai|
|4:05 – 4:30||40||8-8-8-8-8||G||2x Baladi, 8x Maksoum|
|4:30 – 4:40||16||8-8||A var||8x Fallahi|
|4:40 – 4:51||16||8-8||H1||4x Maksoum|
|4:51 – 4:56||8||8||H2||2x Maksoum|
|4:56 – 5:06||16||8-8||H1||4x Maksoum|
|5:06 – 5:12||8||8||H2||2x Maksoum|
|5:12 – 5:22||16||8-8||H1||4x Maksoum|
|5:22 – 5:27||8||8||H2||2x Maksoum|
|5:28 – 5:38||16||8-8||H1||4x Maksoum|
|5:38 – 5:43||8||8||H2||2x Maksoum|
|5:43 – 6:12||32||4-12-4-12||B var||1x Baladi, 3x Maksoum, 1x Baladi, 3x Maksoum|
- D – dum
- T – tek
- k – ka
- var – variation
Arabic rhythms in Alf Leyla Wa Leyla by Cairo Orchestra
Alf Leyla Wa Leyla features various Middle-Eastern rhythms – Maksoum, Fallahi, Baladi, Masmoudi and Darij Samai. Darij Samai is not as common as the other ones and it took me a long time to identify it. It might feel strange to dance to at first because you count till six.
Maksoum (4/4 rhythm)
Fallahi, Fellahi (2/4 rhythm)
Baladi, Masmoudi Saghir (4/4 rhythm)
Masmoudi (8/4 rhythm)
Darij Samai (6/4 rhythm)
Alf Leyla Wa Leyla is a beautiful song worth spending quality time with whether you improvize or perform a choreography.
You can learn a beginners’ choreography to the first part of Alf Leyla Wa Leyla at home from a DVD Instructional Bellydance With Jillina – Level 1. It provides a good starting point even for more experienced dancers and then you can re-shape the choreography to make it your own or start from scratch and create your own choreography materpiece.