Friday, July 29, 2011

Battle of the Muezzin - Impressions #14

Since the dawn of time (or at least, the ready availability of sound amplification technology) the Muezzin of the great desert kingdom have engaged in daily aural battles, challenging each other, competing to sing the praises of the Almighty, battling to stir in the hearts of the people feelings of awe and humility.

Walking through the streets of Riyadh, you are never more than a few blocks from a "Friday Mosque". Planning guidelines for new developments recommend that no house should be more than 500 meters, 1/4 mile, from a mosque. You should always be walking distance from one. There will be several in the project I am working on.

Anyhow, though they all sing the same words, each Muezzin has his own unique style of singing. Some are more florid, others somber. Nowadays, with every mosque having amazing sound amplification technology, you can easily hear 3 or 4 muezzin, in 3 or 4 different mosques, all singing at the same time. I'm sure all their amplifiers go up to 11. They certainly max them out.

I took this little video this evening as I was walking home from the supermarket. I happened to pass this intersection just as they got going. I could see the minaret of one of the mosques, but the other, the opposite direction down the street, was hidden by some trees.


  1. Wow, fascinating! It's actually quite lovely.

  2. And of course their amplifiers go up to 11!

  3. One evening there was a mynah bird singing wildly in my back yard. I recorded it and then played it back at full volume. The bird went insane shrieking back at his own voice. Quite exciting. Perhaps you could try the same thing with your greater-crested warbling muezzin.