The Poetic Content of the Iraqi Maqam

Farida Abu-Haidar
Journal of Arabic Literature, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Sep., 1988), pp. 128-141

Iraq has a wealth of vocal music, ranging from bedouin and rural folk songs, like the gisid, the 'ataba and the abudiyya, to name but three, to the well-established urban genre, the maqam. It was thought at one time that this vocal musical composition was the direct descendant of 'Abbasid court music, as interpreted by notable singers and musicians like Siyyat (d. 785), Mukhariq (d. 845), Ibrahim al-Mausili (742-804) and his son Ishaq al-Mausili (767-850). This theory, however, has come to be refuted, and we are now told that the maqam, as we know it today, originated some three hundred years ago.1

Maqam is the name given in Iraq to both a song cycle arranged according to the Arabo-Turkish modal system, and to each mode constituting it.2 The vocal part is sung by a solo singer (qari' al-maqam)3 and the musical accompaniment is played by four instrumentalists, on the santur 'dulcimer',4 the kamanja 'bowed viol',5 the raqq or daff  'tambourine' and the tabla 'drum'.6 The instrumental accompaniment is known as çalgi or çalgi Baghdadi7 'orchestra'.

The maqam is the music of urban Iraq, of cities like Baghdad, Mosul and Basrah, although Baghdad is by far its most important centre.8 It was in inner Baghdad that the maqam came into its own. Most of the famous singers were natives of inner Baghdad quarters, and it was in the coffee-houses of inner Baghdad that the maqam flourished. Each singer used to frequent the same coffee-house where he would give a nightly recital to the customers, who were usually made up of regulars. The rostrum consisted of two wooden benches, placed next to each other, on top of which chairs were put for the singer and the çalgi. Coffee-house maqam recitals lasted several hours, and in the summer months, and during Ramadan, they would go on until the early hours of the morning. When the radio was introduced into Iraq, and coffee-houses began to install it, the popularity of the live maqam recital began to dwindle. Radio music gradually replaced it, so that by the early 1930s there were maqam recitals during Ramadan only. These too eventually came to an end, and the last coffee-house recital, we are told, took place on the last day of Ramadan 1357/1938.9

Like most Iraqi folk songs, the maqam has been handed down orally, so that our knowledge of its development is dependent on hearsay. It is difficult to determine, therefore, before any of it was written down, the original modes (maqamat) or combinations (tarakib)10 that made up each maqam recital,11 especially as singers were known to improvise and introduce innovations, in a manner which recalls New Orleans jazz musicians and blues singers. We are told that there were originally seven maqams, 'principal modes', with over eighty shu'ab, 'branch modes'. In time a number of branch modes became principal modes, so that there are now well over fifty principal maqams. One of the best known maqam singers and improvisers of the last century, Ahmad al-Zaydan (1829-1912), turned a number of shu'ab into maqams by transposing a shu'ba in an already established maqam, and giving the transposed mode a new name and a new identity as a full-fledged maqam.12 Al-Zaydan had a number of disciples who learnt this art from him in the three inner Baghdad coffee-houses he frequented throughout his long career. Foremost among his disciples was Rashid al-Qundarchi (1885-1945), a shoemaker by profession, hence the appellation. Al-Zaydan is said to have chosen al-Qundarchi as his successor (خليفتي من بعدي)13 Al-Qundarchi and his younger contemporary, Muhammad al-Qabbanchi (b. 1901), popularly known as al-Gubbanchi, were among the last exponents of the traditional Iraqi maqam.14 Al-Gubbanchi was instrumental in introducing audiences outside Iraq to the maqam.15 As head of the delegation of Iraqi musicians, he took part in an Oriental music congress in Cairo in May 1932. The congress was an important turning point in the history of the maqam. For the first time this typically Iraqi genre was taken out of the cabal-like circles which had jealously guarded it from outsiders, and was made known to the Arab public at large.16

Traditional maqam recitals have changed considerably in the past thirty years or so. Few people nowadays seem to have time for the long sessions that were once so much a part of the social life of Baghdadi men and women. Although women did not go anywhere near a coffee-house, there were many occasions, like the Prophet's birthday, or weddings, when a maqam singer and his accompanists would be hired to entertain the women. With growing interest in other types of music, notably Egyptian popular music, introduced into Iraq through Egyptian films, and other forms of entertainment, like the cinema and television, only extracts of maqams, usually with catchy tunes, are sung nowadays. The traditional maqam, however, is taught at music colleges, and its aficionados, although relatively few, endeavour to keep alive this art form which is so much a part of the native Baghdadi's heritage.

Of the fifty-four or so maqams that we have today, approximately thirty are sung in classical Arabic (cl.), while the rest are sung in colloquial Arabic (coll.). Each maqam has a beginning, tahrir, a middle, miyana, and an end, taslim, or more commonly taslum. Zawa'id 'fioriture' or 'ornaments' occur in the maqam at the beginning of a phrase. These usually consist of Turkish or Persian words, like janim 'my dear' (Tur. çanim ) or yar 'my companion' (Pers. يار) , The Arabic ya lel occurs also as lilli or lela.

A typical Iraqi maqam recital is divided into five fusul 'stages'.17 Each fasl 'stage' has a stipulated number of maqams, usually between five and seven. At the end of each fasl the singer takes a rest. It is then that the audience joins the çalgi in singing a popular ditty or pasta whose music is also arranged according to the same modal system. The following table lists the maqams of each fasl and the language each maqam is sung in:

Fasl 1 - Bayat           Fasl 2 - Hijaz                  Fasl 3 - Rast
Bayat - cl.                  Hijz Diwan - cl.               Rast - cl.
Nari - coll.                 Quriyyat - coll.18             Mansuri - cl.
Tahir - cl.                  'Arebun 'Ajam - cl.           Hijaz Acuh - cl.
Mahmudi - coll.        'Arebun 'Arab - coll.        Jiburi - coll.
Saygah - cl.               Ibrahimi - coll.                 Khanabat - cl.
Mhalif - coll.             Hadidi - coll.

Fasl 4 - Nawa             Fasl 5 - Hseni
Nawa- cl.                     Hseni - cl.
Mischin - coll.              Dasht - cl.
'Ajam 'Asheran - cl.     Urfa19 - cl.
Penjgah- cl.                 Arwah - cl.
Rashdi - coll.               Awj - cl.
Hakimi - coll.
Saba - cl.

As can be seen from the list above the Bayat and Hijaz have a predominance of colloquial verse maqams, while the other three have more classical than colloquial verse, with Rast and Hseni having one maqam, out of five and seven respectively, sung in the colloquial. A singer has to keep to the order of the maqams in the fusul, but is free to choose the ones he wants to sing and to omit others. It is customary not to exceed thirty maqams in any one recital. If, however, the audience seems reluctant to leave and clamours for more, then the singer sings as many maqams as he wants, provided he does not exceed a maximum of fifty.

Very little has been written about the Iraqi maqam. What works there are tend to concentrate on the music to the exclusion of the poetry. Yet the maqam's value is not in its music only, but also in the rich variety of its verse. Given the Arab's natural love of poetry, maqam aficionados listen to the poetry first and foremost. However much they may appreciate and enjoy the music, it is the poetry they lend their ears to, often mouthing the words with the singer, and showing their approval by such expressions as Allah, 'ishit 'long may you live!' or tawwak 'that's it!',20 whenever the singer happens to pause.21

Three different types of poetry are sung in a maqam recital. These are the classical qasida, the colloquial mawwal and colloquial ditties which constitute the pasta. Most of the classical poetry that is sung during a recital is taken from qasidas by well-known Arab poets. Occasionally they are the composition of the singer himself, written according to the metres and rhyme schemes of the classical qasida. Al-Gubbanchi, for example, is well known for writing his own poems, in both classical and colloquial verse, and number of them have become minor 'classics'. The singer usually selects between five and seven lines from a monorhyme qasida whose mood is compatible with that of the music. Thus, for a slow moving, dirge-like maqam he would choose a poem evoking sadness, and for a maqam with a more cheerful, faster tempo, a poem in a light-hearted vein.

The following lines by al-Mutanabbi, which are in the kamil metre, are taken from one of his well-known panegyrics:

أرق على أرق ومثلي يأرق * وجوى يزيد وعبرة تترقرق
جهد الصبابة ان تكون كما ارى * عين مسهدة وقلب يخفق
وعذلت اهل العشق حتى ذقته * فعجبت كيف يموت من لا يعشق
وعذرتهم وعرفت ذنبي انني * عيبتهم فلقيت منهم ما لقوا
نبكى على الدنيا وما من معشر * جمعتهم الدنيا فلم يتفرقوا

Sleeplessness following on sleeplessness, and the likes of me do lose sleep.
Love turns more ardent while my eyes get bathed with tears;
Fervent love cannot go beyond what I am undergoing (lit. witnessing),
An ever wakeful eye, and an ever throbbing heart;
I chided those who fell in love until I came to have a taste of it,
And I wondered then how those who did not fall in love could ever die.
I forgave them all, and recognised my fault,
I blamed them (for a frailty) that I came to be blamed for.
We mourn (our losses) in this life,
And there are no companions that life brings together who do not get dispersed.

The first two lines are the opening of the qasida, but the next three are lines 5, 6 and 8 respectively. The singer often omits any lines he does not want to include, as long as their omission does not impair the meaning or semantic flow of the poem. In the following six lines taken from the beginning of Abu Nuwas's qasida in the basit metre, lines 3 and 6 are omitted:

دع عنك لومي فان اللوم اغراء * وداوني بالتي كانت هي الداء
صفراء لا تنزل الاحزان ساحتها * لو مسها حجر مسته سراء
قامت بابريقها والليل معتكر * فلاح من وجهها في البيت لاءلاء
فارسلت من فم الابريق صافية * كانما اخذها بالعين اغفاء
فلو مزجت بها نورا لمازجها * حتى تولد انوار واضواء
دارت على فتية دار الزمان بهم * فما يصيبهم الا بما شاؤوا

Leave off blaming me, blame is only an added enticement,
And treat me with (the wine) that was the cause of my malady,
Of a yellowish colour before (whose glow) all grief is dissipated,
If a stone should touch it, it would become astir with joy (lit. touched with joy).
(A maiden) stood up with her (wine) jug when the night was pitch-dark
And the (brightness) of her face set the whole house aglow.
She poured a clear (wine) from the spout of her jug
The sight of which was like sleep to the eye.
Should you mix it with light, light would readily merge with it
Until showers of light scintillate all round.
It was carried round a group of young men whom time takes round
And only apportions to them that which they desire.

It is generally agreed that Rashid al-Qundarchi was the first singer to choose the above verses for a maqam. Al-Qundarchi seemed to prefer poetry by Baghdadi poets because he felt it was better suited to the typically Baghdadi art of maqam singing. Other than Abu Nuwas he liked the works of his own contemporaries, Ma'ruf al-Rusafi and Jamil Sidqi al-Zahawi. Al-Gubbanchi, on the other hand, used to select verses from the works of a wide range of poets, but he also had his preferences. He seemed, for instance, to favour poems rhyming in the letter mim (م), and poems with a loose rhyme (qafiya mutlaqa) ending with an alif (ا) as the majra, or long vowel which follows the rhyme letter. The following lines are by the Cairene mystic poet, Ibn al-Farid (1181-1235), which were often sung by al-Gubbanchi:

شربنا على ذكر الحبيب مدامة * سكرنا بها قبل ان يخلق الكرم
لها البدر كأس وهي شمس يديرها * هلال وكم يبدو اذا مزجت نجم
ولولا شذاها ما اهتديت لحانها * ولولا سناها ما تصورها الوهم
ولو نضحوا منها ثرى قبر ميت * لعادت اليه الروح وانتعش الجسم
ولو طرحوا في في حائط كرمها * عليلا وقد اشفى لفارقه السقم

We drank to the memory of the beloved a wine
Which made us drunk, long before the wine was created.
The full moon is a cup for it, and it is a sun carried by
A crescent moon, and many a star appears when it is mixed (with water).
Had it not been for its fragrance, I would not have discovered its tavern,
And was it not for its glow, it would not have been perceived by the imagination.
Should they give shelter in the shade of its vineyard wall
To a sick man at the point of death, his illness would (immediately) leave him.

Besides the monorhyme qasida, al-Gubbanchi liked singing the five hemistich stanzaic poems known as takhmis. In this type of poem the rhyme is set by the first verse with which the fifth hemistich of subsequent verses has to rhyme. The rhyme scheme of the takhmis is as follows:

------------a  ------------a
------------a ------------a
------------b  ------------b
------------b  ------------b

The following is an example of takhmis taken from al-Gubbanchl's vast discography. It is in the tawil metre, and is sung in the Mansuri mode:

اذا زاد بي وجد وغرام * وشوقني دهري بهم هيام
فاسال من اهوى ولست الام * باية ارض يمعوا واقاموا
هموا حللوا التفريق وهو حرام
فهل من وثاق البين في الناس منقذي * لقد احرموني بالوداع تلذذي
اعوذ بذكراهم وخاب تعوذي * وساروا وشحوا بالفراق وما الذي
يضرهم التوديع وهو كلام

Should love and the ecstasy of love become stronger,
And should time and passionate longing draw me closer to them,
I ask those I love, and I shall not be blamed for asking,
Which lands did they head for and settle in?
They have made separation legal, although it is unlawful.
Is there anyone to save me from the trammels of separation?
They have deprived me of all joy by leaving me.
I seek refuge in their memory, but it does not avail.
They left and grudged me even a word of farewell,
What harm would saying good-bye have done them, when it is (no more than) mere words?

The metres of classical Arabic qasidas sung with maqams are varied, but they tend to be mostly in the basit, tawil, khafif, kamil and wafir metres. The colloquial verse that is sung with maqams is the mawwal, also known in Iraq as zuheri,22 after one of its first composers, Mulla Jadir al-Zuhayri.2

The Iraqi mawwal is a seven-line poem whose rhyme scheme is a a a b b b a.24 It consists of two sets of paronomasic tercets followed by a seventh line ending in a word that is homophonous with the final words of the first tercet. Most mawwals are in uninflected language which is often a hybrid of rural and urban Iraqi Arabic.

It is difficult to scan mawwals according to the metres of al-Khalil. Whenever a metre can be detected, however, it is invariably in the basit. In the following opening line of a mawwal, for example, there appears to be, at first sight, a whole sequence of long syllables, interrupted once only by a short penultimate syllable. Thus:

min yom far gak 'an ni kull ham mi bi 'ad
  -      -     -     -     -    -     -     -     -    v    -

The above line cannot be scanned according to the metres of al-Khalil. When a singer, as often happens, introduces anaptyctic vowels, the lines of a mawwal become scannable. Thus:

min yom(i) far gak(i) 'an ni kull(i) ham mi bi'ad
-       -     v   -    -     v    -  -     -   v    -     -    - v -

The above line now has the familiar four feet, mustaf'ilun, fa'ilun, mustaf'ilun, fa'ilun, of the basit metre.

Like most colloquial verse, mawwals have been handed down orally. Singers frequently take liberties with mawwals, sometimes changing a word, at other times a whole line. The paronomasias of one mawwal are often used in another.26 Some maqam virtuosi, like al-Zaydan, were known to improvise mawwals on the spot. The following mawwal is attributed to him:

يا منبع العلم يا بحر الندى ما شفت
صديت عني وعليه كل الاعادي شفت
خليتني حاير بامري وعاض الشفت
وبكيت اداري الاعادي وصافج الراحات
لا تلومني يا فتى ليش اشرب الراحات
كلت اترك الراح ظني اجسب الراحات
زاد العنا تاركها ما يوم راحة شفت

ya manba' il-'ilim ya bahr in-nada ma shifit
sadddet 'anni w-'alayya kull il-a'adi shifit
khalletni hayir ib amri wi-'add il-shifit
wi-bget adari 'l-a'adi w-saffij ir-rahat
la tlumni ya fata lesh ashrab ir-rahat
gilit atrik ir-rih zanni achsib ir-rahat
zad il-'ina tarikha ma yom raha shifit

Oh source of learning and sea of generosity who has not become dry,
You kept away from me, and all (my) enemies pounced upon me.
You left me bewildered biting my lip,
And I kept trying to deal with my enemies and to clap my hands.
Don't blame me, young man, because I resort to drink.
I said I would give up drinking, thinking I would find comfort.
Giving up (drink) increased my troubles, and I did not find any comfort.

The last word of the first line is nishafit > nashafa 'to become dry', but the nun has been omitted.27 In the second line the last word is in fact chifat 'to pounce', while in the third line shifit stands for shiffa 'lip'. In the second tercet the word rahat means 'palms' or 'hands', 'drink' and 'comforts' respectively. The final word of the seventh line means 'I saw' > shaf 'to see' in colloquial Arabic.

There are mawwals in which the final word of the seventh line has the same meaning as one of the final words of the first tercet, as in the following:

min yom fargak 'anni kull hammi bi'ad
wi-bget farhan ma thissa afrahi bi'add
kull amal wallah ma tmalla bhubbak ba'ad
wi-zra'it ma bin rawdhat il-warid tala
wi-b-kull rannf azawwif atmarha tala
ya min shirit dun rab'ak ma ilak tali
ya khayin iz-zad ma yimkin ashufak ba'ad

The day you left me all my problems became a thing of the past.
I remained happy, my joy was immeasurable.
Every hope I have has not been fulfilled by your love yet.
I planted in the flower gardens a young palm,
Believing full well that I would eventually harvest its fruit.
Oh you, who stayed alone without your people, you will not come to a good end.
You unfaithful one (lit. unfaithful to the shared bread or provisions), I will not see you again.

In this mawwal the paronomasias of the first tercet are bi'ad 'it became distant', bi'add' by measuring' or 'by counting', and ba'ad 'still' or 'yet', respectively. Singers have been known to pronounce all three words as bi'ad to maintain the rhyme. In the second tercet the paronomasias are tala 'a young palm', tala or tali 'later', 'eventually', and tali 'consequence', 'end', respectively. Here again, in order to keep to the rhyme, singers frequently pronounce the last word of the sixth line as tala, instead of tali.

The third type of poem sung during a maqam recital is the pasta. Unlike the qasida and the mawwal, which are sung by the singer only, the pasta is sung by the orchestra, with the audience joining in. Besides giving the singer a rest after each fasl, the pasta, consisting of a popular ditty, or a collection of ditties, provides a light-hearted contrast to the sombre mood created by the intellectually demanding maqam.29 The repertoire of each singer consists of a variety of pastas. He usually starts by singing the opening couplet of a pasta, or sometimes just the first few words, as a cue for the audience and the orchestra to take over.

There are two main types of pasta, the tawshih30 and the murabba'. The lines of a tawshih have to be equisyllabic, either consecutively or alternately. Needless to say pastas, written entirely in colloquial Arabic, do not have a classical Arabic metre. There seems to be a great deal of similarity between Iraqi tawshih type pastas and folk ditties of other countries, especially Spain, a country rich in folk music and song. The following pasta consists of four-line stanzas of alternating heptasyllabic and pentasyllabic hemistichs with the latter maintaining the rhyme. This particular type of pasta is reminiscent of a Spanish seguidilla.31 Thus:

til'at ya mahla nurha shams ish-shammmusa32
yalla bna nimla w nishrab khamrat il-'arusa
til'at ya mahla nurha wi-l-nahar khabit33
markab habibi yaba bis-silekh rabit
lira w-majidi yaba bakhshish- lil-dhabit
tihfiz li khaz'al rabbi wiyya l-'arusa
til'at 'ala shatti dijla wi-l-gharbi nassam
wi-l-moj inadi ahla w-'aleha sallam
jamalha yzil il-'illa34 w-lil 'ashig balsam
til'at 'alena b-nurha shams ish-shammusa

It shines; how lovely is this light * (of) the sun, the lovely sun;
Let us fill up and drink * the health (lit. the wine) of the bride.
It shines; how lovely is its light, * while the river is choppy.
My beloved's boat, my dear, * is moored at al-Sulaykh.35
A lira and a majidi,36 my dear * are the sergeant's tip.
Lord, protect Khaz'al for me * with his bride.
It shines on the river Tigris, * and there is a westerly breeze;
The waves call out to each other * and send it (i.e. the sun) their greetings.
Its beauty dispels all ill * and is a comfort to the lover,
It shines on us with its (bright) light, * the sun, the lovely sun.

As can be seen from the above pasta the rhyme scheme maintained in the pentasyllabic hemistichs is of the b b b a, c c c a pattern, a being the rhyme scheme of the refrain couplet, and of every fourth pentasyllabic hemistich. This type of rhyme scheme is by far the most frequent in pastas.37 Other rhyme schemes are of the a b a b; a a b b; or a b b b, a c c c patterns. The other type of pasta, the murabba' is a poem of four-hemistich stanzas whose rhyme scheme is also made up of the more popular b b b a, c c c a pattern, arranged as follows:

------------b  ------------b
------------b  ------------a
------------c  ------------c
------------c  ------------a

The four hemistichs of a murabba' can be equisyllabic. More often, however, the first three hemistichs have an equal number of syllables while the fourth has the same number of syllables as the fourth hemistich of each subsequent stanza. The refrain of a murabba' can be made up of a rhyming couplet with the same number of syllables as the rest of the murabba'. Sometimes the refrain couplet can consist of longer hemistichs than those of the murabba' proper. In the following pasta, written by al-Gubbanchl, the hemistichs of the murabbaa' and the refrain are all hexasyllabic:38

yalli nisetuna * yamta tidhikruna
chinna b-jasad ruhen * ma niftirig yomen
sar il-bu'ud santen * rihtu wi-'iftuna
'iftuna ya ahbab * la da'i la asbab
ghlagtu b-wijihna 'l-bab * rihtu wi-'iftuna
jetu 'alayya mnin * shiftuni intu wen
sabatni ah39 il-'en * yom il nizartuna

Oh you who have forgotten us, * when will you remember us?
We were like two souls in one body * we did not stay apart for a day,40
We have been separated for two years * (since the day) you went away and abandoned us.
You abandoned us, you loved ones, * without any cause or reason,
You closed the door in our face, * you went away and abandoned us.
Where did you come from? * where did you set eyes on me?
I was smitten by the evil eye * the day you looked at us (with favour).

In the following pasta the refrain couplet is made up of rhyming octosyllabic hemistichs, while the first three hemistichs of the murabba' are pentasyllabic and the fourth is quadrisyllabic.

'ala shawati dijla murr * ya munyati wakt il-fajir
firish abrimla * 'a shatti dijla
w-il-mayya dahla * ya 'l-minhadir
shuf it-tabi'a * tizhi badi'a
gumra w rabi'a * yihla s-sahar

Walk along the banks of the Tigris * at dawn, oh object of my desire.
I shall spread a couch for him * on the (bank of the) Tigris
And the water will be abundant * and flowing
Look at the countryside * how ravishingly beautiful it is,
And the Spring moon * how lovely it is to spend an evening (under its light).

As a good pasta is wholly dependent on carefully measured syllables and a uniform rhyme scheme, writers do not set much store by the meaning conveyed in the words. In the first pasta given above, for example, the second line of the opening couplet occurs sometimes as yalla bna nimla w nihlib libani l-jamusa41, 'let us fill up and milk the female buffalo' which does not seem pertinent, especially as this ditty is usually sung at weddings. On wedding occasions nimla w nishrab khamrat il-arusa '(let us) fill up and drink the bride's wine' would be more apt. In the first verse of the same ditty the third line has no semantic connection with the preceding two. But presumably the writer thought of dhabit to rhyme with khabit and rabit, and so composed a whole line to end with the word dhabit.

If one were similarly to survey a number of other pastas, one would likewise find that the majority lack coherence in their semantic content. In this respect the pasta differs considerably from both the qasida and the mawwal where a great deal of importance is given to the content of the poem.

Perhaps it is because the pasta is not demanding, either verbally or intellectually, that its popularity has not dwindled, as has been the case with the two other types of maqam poetry. Most singers trained in the art of maqam singing seem to have come to terms with the fact that serious songs in modern times can only have a limited audience. That is why some of the leading maqam singers have come to write and sing pastas, something their predecessors would never have done. Maqam enthusiasts may well bemoan the fact that people have come to associate the pasta, rather than the qasida or the mawwal, with the maqam. This is, no doubt, a cause for regret. But, on the other hand, if maqam music is to survive against the strong current of other Arab and Western popular music, then one should come to accept the fact that it is the pasta nowadays which is keeping alive this typically Iraqi music.


-المضمون الشعري في المقام العراقي 

1. See al-Maqam al-'Iraqi by Hashim Muhammad al-Rajab, Maktabat al-Muthanna Publications, Baghdad, 1961, 40.
2. J.-CL. Ch. Chabrier, ("Makam", Encyclopaedia of Islam, vi, fascicules 99-100, 103), says that as recently as 1975 and 1978, during two music congresses held in Baghdad, it was impossible "to agree to a definition of the term makam in its musical sense."
3. Maqam singers are known as qurra' al-maqam 'maqam reciters', and not as mughanni 'l-maqam 'maqam singers' (see al-Rajab, op. cit., 66, n. 1), in spite of the fact that the maqam is sung, and occasionally chanted without musical accompaniment, but never recited. A maqam singer is also referred to as maqamchi in the colloquial.
4. See H.G. Farmer, "The music of Islam", The new Oxford history of music,i , Ancient and Oriental music, Oxford University Press, London, 1966, 445.
5. Ibid., 445.
6. A fifth instrument, the naqqara 'kettledrum' was also used up until the early decades of this century.
7. From the Turkish calgi takimi 'orchestra' or 'band'.
8. This paper will deal with the Baghdadi maqam.
9. Al-Rajab, op. cit., 39-40, n. 2.
10. R. D'Erlanger, (La musique arabe, v , Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, Paris, 1949, 103), translates tarkib as "melanges de genres".
11. Lack of evidence is not restricted to oral folk music only. It is also difficult to determine when some significant developments in the history of classical Arabian music took place. (Cf. H.G. Farmer, A history of Arabian music to the XIIIth century, Luzac & Co. Ltd., London, 1967, 204, and O. Wright, The modal system of Arab and Persian music A.D. 1250-1300, London Oriental Series, xxviii, Oxford University Press, London, 1978, 7).
12. J.-Cl. Ch. Chabrier, (op. cit., 102), says, for example, that a Bayat mode (3rd open string) "can be transposed on a Nawa (4th open string) or on an Ashiran (2nd open string)", and that the maqam "transposed in this way takes on a new name". See also D'Erlanger, op. cit., 109-1 10.
13. 'Abd al-Karim al-Allaf, Al-Tarab 'inda 'l-Arab, al-Maktaba al-Ahliyya Publications, 2nd ed., Baghdad, 1963, 195.
14. Maqam singing was not the prerogative of Muslim singers only. There were a number of outstanding Jewish singers, like Hisqayl bin Alyihu bin Shahin (1809-1894); Isra'il bin al-Mu'allim Sasson (1839-1889); Ruben b. Rajwan (1850-1926). Others, like Salman Moshe (b. 1879) and Yusuf Huresh (b. 1888), took the art of maqam singing to Israel when they left Iraq in 1951.
15. Al-Gubbanchi, now in his eigthies and retired, still gives talks and interviews, the most recent being a series of interviews which appeared in the Iraqi daily, al-Thawrah, in April, 1987.
16. The late Nazim al-Ghazali, one of the most popular maqam singers of recent times, said (in a personal communication on 18.3.1962) that singers and aficionados were afraid to introduce the 'uninitiated' to the maqam, in case they did not appreciate it and revere it as they should.
17. These maqams are usually known as maqamat al-fusul. The remaining maqams, outside this category, are frequently sung after the recital proper, as an encore.
18. Al-Rajab claims that classical verse is usually sung with this maqam (op. cit., 50), while al-Allaf states that the verse accompanying the Quriyyat mode is in the colloquial (op. cit., 178). On the few occasions when I have heard this maqam the poems have always been in colloquial, uninflected languagc.
19. Al-Allaf lists six maqams only for this stage, and omits the Urfa mode altogether.
20. Expressions of approval are also common among Spanish audiences during a flamenco or a jota concert, when ole! and eso es 'that's it!' or 'you've got it!' are directed at the singer.
21. In the cante jondo of Andalusia also the audience is more interested in the words than in the music. The opening bars on the guitar serve to whet the audience's appetite for the song to follow. (Discussion by several musicologists on the cante jondo, broadcast by Radio Madrid (SER) on 16.9.1986).
22. Another pronunciation is ziheri
23. His dates are unknown. See al-Rajab, op. cit., 49, n. 1.
24. P. Cachia, in his article "The Egyptian mawwal, its ancestry, its development and its present forms", JAL, viii, 1977, 96, says that this type of mawwal is known in Egypt as the nu'mani or the sab'awi (lit. seven-fold).
25. According to S. al-Hadithi, A study of the folk songs accompanying the choobi dance in the Upper Euphrates area in Iraq, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 1984, the Iraqi mawwal is invariably in the basit metre. Cachia, op. cit., 85 also says that versification in the Egyptian mawwal is "often loose, sometimes even utterly capricious, yet whenever a regular pattern is detected, the metre is always in the basit".
26. Cachia, op. cit., 102, says that as "popular literature does not concern itself with problems of copyright ... the structure of the mawwal is such that one may not only adopt another man's work-and the same paronomasias do turn up in different contexts-but also expand it".
27. Consonants are hardly ever dropped in mawwals. It is more usual to take liberties with vowels which "may be dropped, arbitrarily lengthened or shortened, and freely interchanged", (Cachia, op. cit., 89).
28. Tala is the rural pronunciation, while tali is the pronunciation which is typical of central Iraqi towns.
29. Although mawwals might not be as intellectually stimulating as qasidas, they are nevertheless demanding in that they require the audience's full attention in the unraveling of the paronomasias.
30. For a detailed description of tawshih type songs in modem Arabic music, see D'Erlanger, op. cit., vi, 173-178.
31. In the following well-known Spanish seguidilla of alternating heptasyllabic and pentasyllabic hemistichs, it is the latter hemistich, as in the Iraqi pasta, which maintains the rhyme:

La iglesia se ilumina
cuando tu entras
y se Ilena de flores
donde te sientas

'The church lights up when you come in, and is filled with flowers where you take your place'. (Translated by G. Brenan in his The literature of the Spanish people, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middx, 1963, 330).
32. The fa''ula form in Iraqi Arabic denotes endearment.
33. This is the term used in Iraq for choppy water. Its literal meaning is 'murky'.
34. The internal rhyme in the heptasyllabic hemistichs is probably unintentional. This is one version of a popular pasta. I have come across two other versions where some of the words are different and no internal rhyme occurs.
35. Al-Sulaykh is a district on the right bank of the Tigris in the northem part of Baghdad.
36. These are the names of some of the coins that were in use in Iraq under the Ottomans.
37. The greater part of the zajals of Ibn Quzman have this type of rhyme scheme. J. Ribera, (Disertaciones y opusculas., Madrid, 1928, 58), has pointed out somc Provencal stanza forms wich have this rhyme scheme also. Shakespeare used it in Act 1, scene 2 of A Midsummer Night's Dream where Bottom recites the following:

The ranging rocks
With shivering shocks
Shall break the locks
Of prison gates

And Phibbus' car
Shall shine from far
And make and mar
The foolish Fates.

38. Some Aragonese jotas consist of hexasyllabic-lined stanzas.
39. Ah 'oh' has bcen inserted into this hemistich to bring the number of syllables to six.
40. The Arabic says yomen 'two days' for the sake of the rhyme and the number of syllables.
41. See al-Rajab, op. cit., 164.


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