Both compositions and improvisations in traditional Arabic music are based on the maqam system. Maqams can be realized with either vocal or instrumental music, and do not include a rhythmic component. Much of Arabic music is characterized by an emphasis on melody and rhythm, as opposed to harmony. There are some genres of Arabic music that are polyphonic, but typically, Arabic music is homophonic. There are approximately one hundred different rhythmic cycles used in the repertoire of Arab music, most shared with Turkish music.
Surf rock pioneer Dick Dale, a Lebanese American guitarist, was greatly influenced by the Arabic music he learnt from his uncle, particularly the oud and doumbek, skills which he later applied to his electric guitar playing when recording surf rock in the early 1960s.
A few selections that combine Arabic music styles with contempoary pop.