Iraqi Maqam
September 11, 2011 4:08 PM   Subscribe

The maqam al-'iraqi is considered the most noble and perfect form of the maqam. As the name implies, it is native to Iraq; it has been known for approximately four hundred years in Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk. The maqam al-'iraqi has been passed on orally through the Iraqi masters of the maqam, who cultivate the form especially in Baghdad. The maqam is performed by a singer (qari') and three instrumentalists playing santur (box zither), juzah (spike fiddle), and tablah or dunbak (goblet drum).
posted by Trurl (5 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
"Abdul! You're playing it too fast!"

"Hey, I'm trying to maqam dance, man!"

Ahem. Sorry.

Just listened to the singer link. I love the thin, pinched sound of the juzah/rebab/and-all-the-other-names-that-the-spike-fiddle-goes-by. That reedy, airy sonic space that it occupies makes it the perfect counterpart to the voice of the maqam singer, which sounds so much fuller by comparison. That's one of the reasons they can both weave around each other throughout and not get in each other's way.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:27 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Maqam can also mean tomb or resting place.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:30 PM on September 11, 2011

Maqam can also mean tomb or resting place.

"Hey, Muneer, I heard Abdul's band was covering Alayya al-Raman"

"Yeah, they cover it alright... WITH A SHROUD!"

posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:39 PM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

But seriously, a nice post.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:12 PM on September 11, 2011

A sad little note from a modern perspective is that in the early part of the 20th century, many if not most of the prominent Iraqi musicians were Jewish. For example, this picture from the blog in the first link appears in Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food captioned as a group of Jewish court musicians. More.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:37 PM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

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