Prior to the onset of the Rahbani School of music, the Arab World lacked musical sophistication. Most of the old Arabic songs concerned the longing for one's love, which contained very superficial themes. Although many of the lyrics were taken from very well known and respected poems, they lacked certain richness to them. Furthermore, the music itself was fairly one-dimensional and failed to express much emotion.
As we know, Sa'adeh had always considered the attachment to one's land to be an important part of our social behavior. For this reason, he firmly believed that music should include such themes as love for our homeland and the glory of our past civilizations. In fact, using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 as an example, Sa'adeh demonstrated how emotionally expressive true sophisticated music can be. Well, most of the musicians in the Arab World failed to heed his call, until the Rahbanis showed up to revolutionize Arabic music.
The sophistication and deepness, which the Rahbanis have demonstrated in their music, as well as their lyrics, has been matched by no one in the Arab World. The effect they have had on all of Arabic music cannot, and must not, be underestimated. The variety of emotional expressions that have filled their music is tremendous and truly magnificent.
Fairouz and the Rahbanis instilled a very powerful feeling of patriotism and nationalism in their magnificent songs. They always used the land as the main part of their themes in all of their songs. Even their love songs never failed to state the importance of the land. Their songs for Lebanon, Sham, and Palestine leave all their listeners with a feeling of strong emotional attachment to those wonderful places. In addition, musicals such as "Petra", "Ayyam Fakhreddine", and "Jbal El-Souan" are all great displays of our great history, glory, and heroism. Furthermore, the poems they sang were extremely rich with metaphors and poetic pictures, which no other artists were ever able to present.
The quality of the Rahbani music is also what sets them apart from other musicians and composers. A careful listener will undoubtedly notice that the music is deep, layered, and filled with tremendous emotional expressions. An average person can listen to one of their songs over a hundred times, and still hear something new, which they had not noticed before. A great example of this point is the song "Al-Nabi", which includes parts from Giran Khalil Gibran's "The Prophet".
Moreover, in addition to all the above mentioned points, it is the purity of Fairouz's voice which, in my eyes, has set her apart from all other singers of the Arab World. Until the magnificent Fairouz appeared, Arabic singers had mostly nasal voices, which failed to add any beauty to the music they presented. The heavenly quality of Fairouz's voice was able to give the Rahbani music another dimension, which led to their great success.
Fairouz and the Rahbanis, through their wonderful music, were able to represent the true cultural and intellectual heritage of the Syrian nation. It is unfortunate that today's generation has failed to show enough appreciation for such a magnificent trio, and instead has decided to cling to the collection of annoying sounds, along with their highly superficial lyrics, which are an unfortunate reality in the new music coming out of our nation today.
Sa'adeh's Impact on Fairouz And the Rahbani Music