Arabic music is typically homophonic and is characterised by an emphasis on complex moving melodies and rhythm, as opposed to harmonious sounds.
The scale in Arabic music consists of tones and semitones, but can also move in quarter tones.
The basis of Arabic music is the maqam which is a scale of seven tones, derived from the division of the octave into 24 intervals. Today there are over fifty such scales used in maqams, although many of these are not commonly played. Along with scale tones, a maqam consists of melodic passages, phrases, tone hierarchies, and emotional content.
The rhythmic patterns, wazn, in Arabic music are constructed differently to Western music, resulting in more variation. Read more about Arabic music.