مشاهدة جميع الاصدارات : Comparisons between Persian dastgah and arabic/turkish maqam

25-04-2010, 10:47
Hello, I am new in these forums. I saw some old threads asking about connections between dastgah and maqam, and I might be able to contribute. I play oud and I have a good knowledge of arabic and turkish maqam, and now I am studying the persian radif.

It is a very big subject, it would be easier to answer questions if any of you have any, but I will start by explaining a little about dastgah, my apologies if all this is know already. Dastgah does not equal maqam. Dastgah is a fairly modern concept (dastgah = system, in persian). It is in fact a system or sequence of gushe-ha (gushe = corner). A gushe is a melodic skeleton of a maqam, much like what the turks call seyir. A gushe is learnt orally from one's teacher, and the student must imitate the gushe perfectly, with all its various ornaments, rhythmic patterns and trills, whic are not aesthetical embellishments but all have a musical function: to instill in the student the musical flow or movement (most gushe-ha do not have a set meter) and plant the maqam deep in his heart.

Each dastgah has a few micro-systems or chapters that build it, each micro-system containing one or more gushe-ha. The dastgah is named after the first micro-system that opens the performance and that is constantly referred back to at the end of each chapter (this return to the home maqam is called forud).

The radif (= series) is the organisation of the gushe-ha into the seperate dastgah-ha.

25-04-2010, 11:21
So first dastgah Mahur. Mahur is a very big dastgah, containing more than 30 gushe-ha. It can be broken down into a few main micro-systems. It is very hard to compare each micro system to a maqam because it may contain more than one maqam, many of which don't exactly correspond to a turkish makam (which have somewhat specific seyir, but which usually does not match a certain gushe) or arabic maqam (which does not have as strict definitions of the maqam as the turkish or persian traditions).

1. Mahur. As I said the dastgah is named after the first micro-system. The scale of mahur is the same as do major, but it contains a few different modes or maqamat all contained within the same scale, as various developments and progressions. Maqam ajam-ushayran shares the same intervallic structure as mahur (ajam being an arabic name for people speak non-fluent arabic - meaning here persians), but as a maqam it is too narrow to compare to mahur.

2. Delkash. Scale wise the is a modulation to arabic bayat (or neyriz on do) on sol or turkish ussak, because it goes up but also a fifth below the tonic: DO RE MIk(I will use k to signify koron - half flat) FA SOL LAk SIb DO. The finalis in delkah is sol but stops are frequently made on FA (fa is the "ist").

3. Abol. Scale wise abol is FA major.

4. Shekaste. In shekaste the MI is lowered to MIk, it does not really match another maqam. It is similar to persian avaz-Afshari.

5. Araq. Araq (and Nahib which closely follows it) is in the high part of the scale. It is characterised by climbing up to Do from Sol but then when falling back to Sol the Si becomes Sib. The Mi above the octave becomes Mib. This has no equivallent in arabo/turkic music.

6. Rak. Here the scale of mahur is unchanged except the La becomes Lak. Within this micro system can be seen something close to the maqams suznal (like suznak but with Mi bekar), something like hicaz on sol, nikriz on fa, maybe nahawand on do..

This is a very general comparison. As I am writing I see that it is harder than I thought to make a dastgah fit into other maqam definitions because it is such a vast body of music. I hope this very partial explanation is helpful and that some discussion will arise that will make things a little more clear and defined.

أبو علاء
25-04-2010, 15:47
This is indeed a good initiative. I don't know much about Persian music system but it occured to me that, rather than comparing the dastgah to the maqam, it would be more appropriate to compare it with those sequences composed of a series of pieces from various patterns organised around the same maqam (with minor variations inside the sequence) following a rigorous order that is determined by several criteria (with rythm/tempo being an important criteria, but not the only one) such as the wasla in Egypt, the nuba in Northern Africa and the fasil in Ottoman music.

26-04-2010, 16:06
I don't know that such a comparison is valid. I am not sure wether the term dastgah can be used to describe a performance of a suite or larger form (such as fasil, nuba, wasla etc.), it may be so but firstly dastgah is the name given to a group of modes (as I said, dastgah = system) grouped together, and named after their primary mode. To me this makes it a system of classifying the maqamat, which is not the same as what wasla and nuba mean.

You can play a taqsim or compose a piece in a certain dastgah or one or more of its gushe-ha. There is no absolute rule of how the dastgah should be performed. There is however a standard format for a full classical performance of a dastgah, most of which will be improvising on the gushe-ha, with a few composed pieces in between. This again is very different than the wasla, nuba and fasil, where the forms and rhythms of composed pieces are the order to be followed (pesrev at the beginning, saz semai at the end etc.).

So as I said, I think that in the arabo/turkic traditions the grand form is comprised of a set order of compositional forms all sharing a parent maqam, and in the persian tradition the grand form is mainly the improvised performance of gushe-ha from the selected dastgah, while the choice of how many gushe-ha and compositions to perform, or how long to make the performance, is left to the decision of the performers.

26-04-2010, 21:31
thank you very much Khosrovani for this intitiative ,it's very interesting ...
one does have a lot of questions ...but i have to hold off as it will only show my ignorance :) as seriously one has to do a lot of listening and reading first ...,but some basic impressions always pop up to mind ...like if a certain maqam has the same name in persian as in turkish or arabic ,does this mean they're related (similar in intervals for example ,or names mean nothing not at all ..? also is the iraqi vocal tradition (iraqi maqam , different than the arabic(Egypt-Syrian) closer to its neighbor and for example qete' are like gushe-ha ?
(some examples of iraqi maqam in this link , the iraqi section has a lot
http://zamanalwasl.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2388 ...
in Iraq there's a desht (dasht) maqam which is known tbe originally persian (you can find a few examples if you search the iraqi section for " dasht" and which i particularly like ..it would be nice to compare an iraqi desht to a persian one ..etc

28-04-2010, 16:48
Thank you, I hope we can teach each other. Iraqi maqam used to be a big interest of mine but I had very little people to answer my questions, so I am still in the dark about much of it.
I never understood - in iraqi maqam a maqam has to be performed with the same poem and rhythm each time, making it more like a composition? There are many sub-maqams in the bayat family for example. Can one play a taqsim or compose in each of them, or would it be considered a new maqam to the bayat family? Your point about qita` as parallel to gushe is interesting, unfortunately I don't understand well enough what qita` is, maybe you could explain some more?

In persian music, a group of gushe-ha can be said to belong to a certain naghme (maqam), and together they show how you can develop the melody in that maqam. The student learns and memorizes the gushe-ha of the radif in order to later forget them when he is playing, their purpose is to instill the maqam into the heart, much like a kata in martial-arts is a way of instilling in the student the right movements until they are second nature.

About similarity of names, there is some similarty to iraqi maqam sometimes, but not to arab/turkish maqam. I will give a few examples:

-Baste-negar in arab/turk music a maqam combining saba with segah. In persian music it is a tekke - a "vagrant" gushe, it has no maqam, it is a rhythmic pattern which can be performed in any dastgah. I uploaded two baste-negars from the radif, one in avaz-e abu-ata (much like bayat), and one in segah.

-Hejaz is a gushe that is in the scale of abu-ata (bayat), it focuses on the fifth degree (la, when playing from re. It is not hussayni though). Saba is a gushe in avaz-e dashti. Both saba and hejaz use different scales in persian music than their arab/turkish cousins.

There many examples, in most of them I do not see a connection between the names, maybe in some there is a connection I am not seeing yet. The only exception I can think of is homayoun, but it is such a big dastgah that it cannot be said to fit into the arab or turkish maqamat of the same name.

There are a few connections with iraqi maqam however. Iraqi awshar I believe comes from avaz-e afshari, but may be wrong. Dashti is the same as far as I can tell. It contains something similar to arab/turkish hussayni, but also there is the frequent lowering of the fifth note (la to la koron=half-flat), amongst other traits. I attached a pish-daramad (dulab) in persian dashti for you to hear.

I think for now that's what I can say, if you can provide more information about the structure of iraqi maqam I think there will be a lot we can teach each other.

03-05-2010, 00:56
Thanks dear..
there's a lot of examples of iraqi maqam in the iraqi section and it will show you sometime the space of improvisation (which is maybe limited but exists) (if you read understand arabic there's even more resources there ) ...regarding qitaa they're similar to gushes as you describe them ..i found this also which might be interesting to you :

03-05-2010, 01:10
Dear Khosrovani,
if you speak arabic, there are a number of links and sources I can direct you to as well.

30-05-2010, 07:53
3amr my arabic is ok, not great, but if you have anything interesting that isn't too high of level please show me I'll try my best.

30-05-2010, 09:31
This is a series of detailed explanations by a late Djoze player with sung and explained examples (one of the most useful resources on this forum, thanks to our friend Zouhair):

This is a recent interview by Hamid al Saadi:

There is also a wonderful book called:
المقام و بحور الأنغام
لحامد السعدي

Which is difficult to get your hands on, but you can try.