I’m talking about the morning call to prayer from the local mosque. Actually, we have quite a few “local” mosques……. they are often only a few blocks apart. This one is the closest, and also the loudest.
Originally, the mosques had to fairly close together, because it was important that everyone could hear the calls to prayer, and the muezzins relied on voice power… there was no amplification back then. Now, they have microphones and sound systems.
Yesterday morning I was awake when the call began, and as the windows were open, it was very clear. You see, they don’t all begin at exactly the same time, and they don’t use the same tune. The ones farther sway always start first, one after another…. and then the closest one chimes in. It’s a bit like a solo with chorus accompaniment, and the chorus is singing contrapuntal melodies instead of the chords we are used to in the West. The Arabic tonalities are not quite what we are used to either, so it has a mystical, rather eerie sound. As he chanted “Allah u akbar”, I could hear the distant voices saying the same thing, either as an echo, or just before. Our muezzin has a beautiful, low voice, and the tune he chants has fairly Western tonalities, unlike some.