Maqam (music)

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Maqam ( Arabic مقام, DMG Maqām  , location ', literally. "Location, built on the somewhat", plural Maqamen , Maqame , maybe maqams , Arabic plural Maqamat ( Arabic مقامات, DMG maqāmāt ); Turkish makam , plural makamlar is borrowed from Arabic) is the term used in Arabic and Turkish , but also in Persian art music for the mode of a piece of music.


A maqam is mainly characterized by the heptatonic scale or key on which it is based , but there are a number of other characteristics depending on the maqam, including the dominant , the tonic , the movement of the melody , caesuras , typical openings and the formation of the finals. The individual Maqamat / Makamlar express different affects . Modulation sequences characteristic of the respective maqam (change to related maqamat) can take place within the pieces of music and improvisations. This can result in different dominant tones in a melody. At the end of a piece or an improvisation ( Taksim ), the original maqam is modulated back. Pieces of music do not always start with the keynote of their maqam, but they always end on this.

The total number of Maqamat / Makamlar is in the hundreds, but these are or were not all in common use everywhere. In addition, Arabic maqamat and Turkish makamlar differ more or less in their structure, although the names are basically the same. These are of Persian- Arabic origin. There are simple and compound maqamat. Composers have invented new maqamat.

Arabic maqamat

The basic building blocks for the Arabic maqāmāt are the adschnās ( Arabic أجناس, DMG aǧnās , singular:جنس, DMG ǧins ), d. H. a group of trichords , tetrachords and pentachords from which the individual maqamat are composed. The adjnas differ mainly in the intervals between the individual tones. In a maqām, two adjnās are combined with each other.

In Arabic music , in addition to accidentals for semitones , there are also those for "quarter tones" , which are indicated in the musical notation by a Arabic music notation half flat.svg(crossed out ), i. That is, the note in question is lowered by a quarter-tone step so that there is a three-quarter-tone step between it and the previous note. Examples of Arabic maqāmāt are:

Maqam 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th
c d ¾ e f G a ¾ h c '
c d it f G as H c '
d it f sharp G a b c ' d '
¾ e f G as H c ' d ' ¾ e '

The definition of quarter tones for the Arabic music world was a compromise, as tonal accents of different strengths are actually used in different regions and depending on the corresponding maqaām. For example, in Maqām Ḥiǧāz arībحجاز غريب (alter Ḥiǧāz) the second tone is slightly raised (Es +) and the third tone is slightly lowered (f sharp -).

Turkish macamlar

In Turkish art music there are 13 basic makamlar ( basit makamlar ) from which all others (almost 600 in total) can be derived.

Frequently occurring Makamlar are z. B. Rast, Nihavend, Uşşak, Hüseyni, Hicaz and Hüzzam.

In order to reproduce the intervals within a macam exactly, these can be specified using the unit cents . One cent is 1/100 of the equally tempered semitone . An octave consists of 1200 cents. With this unit the Pythagorean intervals can be described exactly within the octave. Here are some of the scales (in rounded cents) with the respective distances from tone to tone:

Makam Keynote to the 2nd to the 3rd for the 4th for the 5th for the 6th for the 7th for the 8th comparable to
Rest G 204 180 114 204 204 180 114 G major or ionic mode
Nihavend G 204 90 204 204 90 204 204 G minor or Aeolian mode
Usak a <180 > 114 204 204 90 204 204 A minor , in practice an approximation of the Phrygian mode , which, however, can be better compared with Kürdi.
Hüseynî a 180 114 204 204 180 114 204 also Phrygian mode , since the Hüseynî pentachord uses the same first three pitch intervals as the Uşşak tetrachord.
Hicaz a 90 294 114 204 180 114 204
Huzzam b 114 204 114 270 114 204 180

Here you can see that there are excessive intervals (270 or 294 cents). Scales with such intervals have a sound that is particularly characteristic of the Orient.

Practically, however, the cents that are too fine for the human ear are not handled, but the whole tone intervals are broken down into 9 parts ( commas ). This enables a sufficient approximation to the tonal relationships calculated by Pythagoras of the smaller Leimmas and the larger apotomes within the whole tone. Within the well -tempered process that has come into fashion since Johann Sebastian Bach , the physically correct small difference between Leimma and Apotome for the European socialized ear has been lost. In contrast to the western notation system, the following divisions of the whole tone were defined:

  • Comma: 23.46 cents
  • Leimma: 90.225 cents - 4 commas (small semitone - usually shown in musical notation as a normal -sign before the next higher whole tone)
  • Apotome: 113.685 cents - 5 commas (large semitone - in notation usually shown as Arabic music notation half flat.svgbefore the next higher whole tone)
  • Small whole tone: approx. 180 cents - 8 commas (in the music notation mostly shown as Llpd-½.svgbefore the next higher whole tone)
  • (large) whole tone: 203.910 cents - 9 commas
  • small excessive interval: approx. 270 cents - 12 commas
  • large excessive interval: approx. 294 cents - 13 commas

This explains the above-mentioned intervals within the Makamlar. These adaptations of the European notation system were necessary in order to approximate the written preservation and transmission of the actual music. With the help of the glue and the comma as well as the difference between the two (approx. 66 cents), a theoretical tone system can be established which divides the octave into 24 levels, as described by the Turkish musicologist Suphi Ezgi .

Turkish makamlar.pdf

The scales on which the Makamlar are based each consist of a certain pentachord and an adjoining tetrachord (or vice versa), whereby these come from an inventory of eight tetrachords and twelve pentachords.

In the description system using commas, the following pitch intervals result for two exemplary pentachords:

Pentachord Sound interval Spacing in commas
Rest from g to a 9 commas
from a to h (with Llpd-½.svg) 8 commas
from h (with Llpd-½.svg) to c ' 5 commas
from c ′ to d ′ 9 commas
Pentachord Sound interval Spacing in commas
Hicaz from a to b 4 commas
from b to c sharp ' 13 commas
from c sharp 'to d' 5 commas
from d ′ to e ′ 9 commas

Depending on the melody, a small whole tone can also be played 1/8, 1/7 or 1/6 lower than the large whole tone. With downward movements of the melody the tendency tends towards weaker s, with upward movements it tends towards sharper. The minimalist tone modulations typical of oriental music are not recorded by the notation system and cannot be passed on from it. This shows an example that the subsequently installed European description system, which is foreign to the genuinely oral oriental music tradition, has to be flexibly designed by the oriental musician in order to play his music.

Maqamat in music therapy

Since the 9th century there have been reports by Arab scholars about the effects of music on people and the possibilities of healing through music. A doctor at the court of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mūn mentioned the therapeutic use of music on the mentally ill around 800. The Arab doctor Haly Abbas (ʿAli ibn al-ʿAbbās, † 944) treated the pain of toddlers with music and brought them to sleep. Against a fever from sadness and against melancholy , he recommended lovely singing and the caste-veils kithara and lyre . The hospital in Cairo , founded by Sultan Qalawun and completed in 1284, employed musicians to comfort the sick on sleepless nights. The Makamat were still used as a healing method in the heyday of the Ottoman Empire . The exact indication and application are described for a total of twelve Makamats. Important historical sources for this are Evliya Çelebi in the 17th century and other Ottoman manuscripts. Even today, the different tonal properties of the Maqamat are still or occasionally used in music therapy.

Iranian maqam

The tone scales or modal systems of Iranian music are also each called Arabic - Persian مقام, DMG Maqām (also pronounced Maghām in the authoritative Tehran city dialect ). This term was in common use in Iran before the new codification of the Dastgah system at the end of the 19th century. Based on common (especially Safavid ) sources, there are similarities to the Arabic and Turkish tonal systems, from which the linguistic equivalents, such as Uşşak for a Turkish Makam and Oschāq ( Arabic - Persian عشاق, DMG 'Uššāq , lit. "the lovers") for a Persian gusheh.

Tajik and Uzbek Shashmaqam

Shashmaqam is the most famous art music style of Tajik music , which is cultivated in eastern Uzbekistan and northern Tajikistan . It received its present form in the 18th century in the Emirate of Bukhara and is connected to the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara .

Azerbaijani mugham

The mugham (muğam) is a form of composition of Azerbaijani art music, to which the carried ballads of the tasnif belong and which differs from the Aşık songs of folk music. The name is borrowed from the maqam.

See also


  • Mehdi Barkechli: Les systèmes de la musique traditionnelle de l'Iran (Radif) , Tehran 1973, French, pers.
  • Jean During, Zia Mirabdolbaghi, Dariush Safvat: The Art of Persian Music . Mage Publishers, Washington DC 1991, ISBN 0-934211-22-1 , pp. 46-48.
  • Issam El-Mallah : Arabic Music and Notation . Hans Schneider Verlag, Tutzing 1996, ISBN 3-7952-0850-5 .
  • L. Manik: The Arabic sound system in the Middle Ages. Leiden 1969.
  • Thomas Mikosch: Makamlar: The scales of Turkey . Holtzbrinck, 2017 ISBN 3-7450-9798-X .
  • Cameron Powers: Arabic Musical Scales - Basic Maqam Notation . GL, Boulders CO, ISBN 0-9745882-4-5 .
  • Kurt et al. Ursula Reinhard: Music of Turkey . Vol. 1: The art music . Heinrichshofen, Wilhelmshaven 1984, ISBN 3-7959-0425-0 .
  • Marius Schneider : Raga - Maqam - Nomos . In: Music in the past and present. Volume 10. Kassel 1962, pp. 1864-1868.
  • Karl L. Signell: Makam: Modal Practice In Turkish Art Music. Asian Music Publications, University of Washington, Seattle 1977, new edition: Usul Editions, 2008, ISBN 0-9760455-1-6
  • Habib Hassan Touma: The Music of the Arabs . Heinrichshofen, Wilhelmshaven 1975, ISBN 3-7959-0182-0 .

Web links

References and comments

  1. From a musical point of view, the place of the hand on the lute is meant, which indicates the maqām tone that gives the name.
  2. It is the traditional name that continues to be used alongside the Persian terms Dastgāh and Āwāz , which were introduced in the 19th century .
  3. David Parfitt: The Oud - Tetrachords / Pentachords. ( Memento of the original from January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. 2001-2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Hans Engel: The position of the musician in the Arab-Islamic area. Publishing house for systematic musicology, Bonn 1987, pp. 36–38.
  5. Multicultural communication. Alternative medical treatment methods - German homeopathy versus Turkish music therapy: only theories?
  6. PRI's The World: "In Turkey, Sufi music is used to decrease patient stress" (Matthew Brunwasser, April 27, 2012)
  7. Ardavan Taheri: Today's System of Traditional Music in Iran (The Annotation to the Radif) .
  8. ^ Edith Gerson-Kiwi: The Persian Conception of the Maqam. In: The Persian Doctrine of Dastga-Composition. A phenomenological study in the musical modes. Israel Music Institute, Tel-Aviv 1963, pp. 8-16
  9. ^ Hormoz Farhat: The Dastgāh Concept in Persian Music. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1990, ISBN 0-521-30542-X , p. 23.
  10. Rūḥollāh-e Ḫāleqī: Naẓar-ī be-mūsīqī ( Persian نظرى بموسيقى, 'A View on Music'), Vol. 2, 4th edition, Tehran 1352 (1973/74).
  11. Jean During, Zia Mirabdolbaghi, Dariush Safvat: The Art of Persian Music . Mage Publishers, Washington DC 1991, ISBN 0-934211-22-1 , p. 32.