Dick Dale, Surf Rock origins

❝ Most musicians have a mild hatred of scales because we were all forced to practice and memorize them without anyone ever telling us what the hell they are…

Dick Dale wasn’t just borrowing the Byzantine scale for his surf anthem. “Misirlou” is a remake of a vaguely Middle-Eastern traditional song, possible Egyptian or Turkish, first recorded in Greece in 1927. The whole melody finds its way into the Dick Dale version.

As it further turns out, Dick Dale’s connection to the scale isn’t crazily random. Dale was of Lebanese descent on his father’s side and grew up playing the tarabaki drum and hearing music based on these scales, which he then incorporated into his surf music.

What goes around, comes around.

2 thoughts on “Dick Dale, Surf Rock origins

  1. παιδαγωγός says:

    “Misirlou (Μισιρλού), due to the suffix “ou”, is the feminine form (in Greek) of Misirlis (Μισιρλής- a surname) which comes from the Turkish word Mısırlı, which is formed by combining Mısır (“Egypt” in Turkish, borrowed from Arabic مِصر‎ Miṣr) with the Turkish -lı suffix, literally meaning “Egyptian”. Therefore, the song is about an Egyptian woman.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misirlou

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