Morocco’s classical music originated from the Arab-Andalusian tradition. It is said that Andalusian classical music evolved in the 9th century in the Emirate of Cordoba (Al-Andalus) which was ruled by the Moors.
The outstanding Iraqi musician from Baghdad Abu Hassan Ali Ben Nafi, known as Ziryab, (“Le Merle or “The Blackbird”) is credited with its invention. It is said that Ziryab fled Baghdad in the 9th century following rumors spread by his teacher, Ishaq al-Mawsili, who became jealous of his success.
Andalusian classical music orchestras are spread across Morocco, including the cities of Fes, Tetouan, Chefchaouen, Tangier, Meknes, Rabat, and Casablanca. A number of musical instruments used in Western Music are believed to have been derived from Andalusian musical instruments: the lute was derived from the alud, the rebec (ancestor of violin) from the rebab, the guitar from qitara, naker from naqareh, aduf from al-duff, alboka from al-buq, anafil from al-nafir, exabeba from al-shabbaba (flute), atabal (bass drum) from al-tabl, atambal from al-tinbal, the balaban, the castanat from kasatan, sonajas de azofar from sunuj al-sufr, the conical bore wind instruments ,the xelami from the sulami or fistula (flute or musical pipe, the shawm and dulzaina from the reed instruments zamr and al-zuma, the gaita from the ghaita, rackett from iraqya or iraqiyya, the harp and zither from the qanun, canon from qanun, geige (violin) from ghichak, and the orbo from the tarab.