Quran recitation is the reading aloud, and reciting portions of the holy Quran. Recitation should be done according to rules of pronunciation intonation, and breaks established by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, thought first recorded in the eighth century CE. The most popular reading is that of Hafs on the authority of `Asim. Similarly, each melodic passage centers on a single tone level, but the melodic contour and melodic passages are largely shaped by the reading rules tajweed, creating passages of different lengths whose temporal expansion is defined through pausing.
The Qur’an is marked with twenty-six symbols, circles, rectangles, dashes and letters, some in color. These are written above, below, or beside the letters of the alphabet. They indicate the pronunciation of consonants, whether the blending of neighboring or adjacent consonants is allowed, and where recitation pauses and caesuras are forbidden and possible.
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