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

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

Tuesday, 9 March 2021, 5.00pm

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

Course Fee: £100

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, visit:

And to see a performance by Saied, visit:

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