Musical instruments of the Arab world reflect the unity and diversity within the music itself. Certain types of instruments, including end-blown reed flutes, double-reeds, single-reeds, fiddles, plucked lutes and frame drums predominate. Yet, in each area, there may be a preference for particular instruments or instrument types. Moreover, details of construction and playing techniques are affected by local intonation and sound ideals, availability of construction materials, external musical influences, and the functions assigned to each instrument.
In the Arab world today, instruments include an important category whose domain is mostly the urban communities and whose popularity tends to transcend national and geographical barriers. In Egypt, before World War I, these instruments constituted a traditional ensemble known by the name takht, literally “platform.”
The “Takht” ensemble, comprising Oud, Qanun, Nay, Kamanga, Riqq and Kamanjah, plays pure classical music, often referred to as “Tarab”, or enchantment. Music in this category is either purely instrumental, or encompasses the art song. It is a small traditional ensemble of acoustic instruments of complementary timbres, each of which enriches the monophonic texture of the composed music with their own idiosyncratic trills, runs, and slides.