مشاهدة جميع الاصدارات : Sheikh Ali Mahmoud - Azan Rast - Bayat

03-08-2008, 12:39
I am referring you here to the recording that our friend 3amr uploaded:


It is hard not to stop and marvel at this wonderful recording of Sheikh Ali Mahmoud. I discovered this recording only recently in our forum, and I feel guilty for not discovering it earlier.

In October 2007, In the school of Oriental and African studies at the University of London, I did a short presentation about the religious singing background of Sheikh Imam. I had to use clips by Sheikh Ali to emphasize the great art of religious singing that flourished in the days of when Sheikh Imam was young. I called Sheikh Ali the teacher of teachers having Zakaria Ahmad and Taha el Fashny as members of his betanah.

With all respect to the explanations provided in the recorded material, I have to focus here on why this recording is so unique. It has many characteristics that would make it one very special recording.

The lengthy “hayya 3ala Salat” and “hayya 3alal Falah” are just amazing. Enough to rank it really high amongst the recordings of the Arabic repertoire. However this is not the whole story.

The Sheikh’s mastership of the Ottoman and Arabic repertoire is what’s worth stopping at here.

In my opinion it is so unfair to just call this Azan a Bayati Azan. It gives the wrong impression that what’s unique is that indeed the maqam is Bayati rather than the usual Rast-Garkah.

But what is the miracle of all miracles is that HOW Sheikh starts on Rast-Gharkah and then extracts the Bayat.

So what you may tell me? Bayat is contained in Rast anyway. Yes, but this is not the Bayat that the sheikh produces here.

He starts with a normal Rast-Gharkah “Allahu Akbar” however when he goes back to Garkah (Fa), he transforms that same note onto a Nawa note (sol) and then travels down the Bayat route. I haven’t seen this ( Rast fused with Bayat) done ever in Arabic music before. It is done in Byzantine music for sure (by the use of a spoiler-fthora) but not that frequently for this type of two maqams.

And then the sweet thing is how he uses an Acem note (Si bemol) to prepare the full Bayat section at the start of “Ashhadu”.

This recording is definitely top of the charts for me. I can’t stop listening to it.

I hope that you will give it more attention.

09-09-2008, 21:06
This was definitely buried between the threads I have not discovered it before your pointing to it Najib.

This is a great azan indeed! In fact I almost lost hope in creativity in azans after listnening to many conventional azans .. all in the same manner (rast), that I thought no one dared to change!!

Hearing the first "Allahu akbar" I heard the beginning rast but surprised that he ended the phrase in bayyati.
Checking with maqamworld as usual .. this makes it a Husseini.. and another maqam to memorize!!

I feel I am already better in maqam analysis but still it is a very long road to travel. I only recognize nahawant, rast, bayyati, higaz and saba and still not perfect, about 60%. Oh my God, this will take years.

He starts with a normal Rast-Gharkah “Allahu Akbar” however when he goes back to Garkah (Fa), he transforms that same note onto a Nawa note (sol) and then travels down the Bayat route.

So this is not the usual traditional bayati lower - rast upper (a la Husseini)?
So you are assuming he went down a bayyati "pentachord" of the bayyati kabeer maqam (aka bayyati-nahawand) and transposing that to work with the jins rast!!?

And does the rest of the azan continue Husseini?

(hmm I had this software that was able to slow down recordings with preserving the pitch, I may need that in listening to this at a slower pace .. but now I have a linux box and I still have no audio editing software for it)

I love Aly Mahmoud. I once heard a 5-min recitation of him in the car and he just passed along all maqams I know. He is very daring.

09-09-2008, 22:21
Dear Bassio,

Sheikh Ali Mahmood is not just daring, he's the greatest master of arabic vocal music in recorded history (as the culmination of the mashaykhi style). You still have alot of Ali Mahmoud to discover. Shall I recommend "ya nasimal saba", which is a free improvisation with shawwa, and "fa ya jiratal shi3b il yamani" which is qasida alal wahda bastanikar.

As for this azan, I have no doubt it's the greatest I've ever heard, not just maqamically, but as pure vocal performance, because there is no singer I know who can control the jawab so masterfully as his second hayya alal falah and then control a bayyati qafla right down in the qarar in such an astounding manner, and after half a minute of breath consuming manoevers preceding it. I am talking here from a perspective of pure vocal control and ability.

Maqamically, please note that 1+1=2, but bayati+rast is not necessarily hussayni. You have to be careful with maqamworld because sometimes things are over simplified.
Hussayni, as far as I know, is not bayati+rast, but is rather bayati pentachord+quasi-bayyati tetrachord. What I'm trying to say is that the ghammaz, or dominant, or melodic centre (choose your preferred term) should be the fifth, and not the fourth, think of hussayni as ushaq masri but with a lowered second (as in something where the melody is similar to nahawand). I am saying without having adequately analyzed this azan melodically, but this azan is definitely bayyati in terms of qafla and not hussayni.

Finally, I think you can tell how far you've come, when you first joined this forum, you didn't know what a maqam really was, let alone could tell them apart. It takes years, yes, but the more you listen and read (especially here), the more your understanding expands. One last suggestion: reading some turkish music theory should be very helpful when it comes to understand melodic paths and what makes hussayni different from bayyati and so on, I don't have any suggestions now, but keep it in mind.

10-09-2008, 14:23

I second 3amr's compliment. You have definitely advanced miles and miles in this forum and became one of its important members.

With regard to the rast-bayat. this is not a maqam this is a switch from Rast to Bayat. So it isn't trichord1 + tetrachord2 = makam3 as we normally have sometimes. This is a switch form one full makam to another full makam and the switch on that fusion of Garka-Nawa note is so unique in Arabic music.

Only in Byzantine music you will find switches like these. Therefore this recording is a proof that Mahmoud is, musically, the son of that Ottoman era where all these arts were influencing one another. Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Jewish, Parsi all mixed in the big bowl of Ottoman globalisation.

10-09-2008, 18:54
Very interesting exchange. I believe more such informative and educational discussions should take place in this forum!

Thanks Najib , 3amr and Bassio for adding to my basic musical knowledge. Keep it up.

Abou Karam

11-09-2008, 03:28
this is not a maqam this is a switch from Rast to Bayat.

This explains a lot, thanks.

And a very unorthodox modulation I assume.

I have faith in 3amr's opinions so I trust him when he says Ali Mahmoud is the greatest.

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, his recording activities was severely prohibited because of his ties with El-Azhar .. which would have worsened if he resumed recording much more "Secular" recordings.

Anyone here has any information about his Quran recordings? Are they rare or did he record a lot?

@3amr: So what you are saying that the dominant in Arabic music must be the fifth like in western music?

@Abou Karam, I would love to start discussions in this forum, but as a beginner, I find the long duration and a capella nature of the recordings here and the subtle and hidden modulations and colorizations make the recordings far more difficult to discuss or analyze .. I even dare not to ask for an analysis of any of such pieces because I know the time required for any such explanation and most of the "few" active members I am sure are extremely busy to provide discussions pertaining to long recitations or anashid.
But el baraka in the rest of the gang in adding more to the educational aspect ;)

Abu-alaa was right when he said we need more of these types of contributions; which are much rarer than the excess 'material' contributions, which, to discuss some of them, will perhaps take years in this forum.

So the thanks go to Najib and 3amr.

11-09-2008, 08:50
@3amr: So what you are saying that the dominant in Arabic music must be the fifth like in western music?

Somewhat, and I was talking about Hussayni specifically. Dominent here has no harmonic meaning, but a simple melodic meaning. The "dominant" of siga and saba is the third for example, of bayyati, hijaz, kurd and others the fourth, of rast, nawa athar, nahawand and others the fifth.