SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

An Introduction to Maqam: Music of Iran and the Arab Mashriq - SOAS Music Workshops


Date: 9 March 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 23 March 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Workshop

Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9th - 23rd March, 2021, 5-7pm

Course Fee: £100. Register here.

The musical heritage spread from North Africa to Central Asia, generally referred to as “maqām”, unites the region, regardless of territorial, linguistic and religious differences. Iranian and Arab music traditions have long been two of the most important pillars of this vast shared culture, always keeping in time with the present while rooted in the past.

The course aims to familiarise participants with the basics of maqām through engaging them actively in music practice. Each session starts with a brief theoretical/historical introduction accompanied by audiovisual examples, and continues with music-making. The lessons involve both instrumental and vocal music. A broad range of instruments can be employed to join the course, namely all the instruments of the maqām-based traditions, the western instruments with flexible pitch as well as every percussion. Following a line of gradual development, participants will gain a general understanding of the world of maqām and be able to perform or accompany a couple of well-known pieces of the Iranian and Arab repertoires by the end of the course. No prior knowledge of and experience in Middle Eastern music is required.

  • Session 1: Modes and microtones
  • Session 2: Rhythm and drumming
  • Session 3: The genres of pishdarâmad and dūlāb
  • Session 4: The genres of samā‘ī and taṣnif
  • Session 5: Free-rhythm music (âvâz)

For more information about Saied Kordmafi click here.

And to see a performance by Saied click here.

Organiser: Department of Music, School of Arts, SOAS

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