Morocco, Kingdom of (Arab. Mamlaka al-Maghrebia)
- Philip Schuyler
(Arab. Mamlaka al-Maghrebia)
Country in north-west Africa. It lies in the north-west corner of the continent, flanked by the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean. Four mountain ranges – the Rif, Middle-Atlas, High-Atlas and Anti-Atlas – divide the kingdom into distinct ecological and cultural zones. These include the different mountain regions themselves, the fertile plains of the Atlantic coast, dry steppe to the east of the Middle-Atlas, and the Sahara desert to the south and east of the High- and Anti-Atlas. This geographical position and topological variety have contributed to great cultural diversity. Many Moroccan musical styles and areas, including the Rif mountains, the Jbala region north of Fez and the desert region of the deep south, have yet to be studied in depth.
The many varieties of Moroccan music draw on several separate musical cultures from the Middle East, Africa and southern Europe. The indigenous Berber peoples, who have inhabited North Africa for at least 2500 years, are generally divided into three groups: Tarifit-speakers (in the Rif mountains), Tamazight-speakers (Middle-Atlas) and Tashlhit-speakers (High-Atlas, Anti-Atlas and the desert beyond). Half the Moroccan population speaks some variety of Berber....