David Muallem’s Maqam Book is the first systematic presentation of the system of scales and modes (maqamat) used in Arab music, and is intended for musicians of all backgrounds, as well as for the layman who seeks to understand and appreciate Arab music. The book includes a historical background, an explanation of the scalar systems used in European music and Arab music (with references to Turkish music and Persian music), and an analysis of 48 different maqamat, their transpositions and modulations. The attached CD demonstrates 39 maqamat played on the qanun. The book is recommended as a textbook for courses on Arab music, Middle-Eastern and Asian music, and world music, and may be used for self-study as well.
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About the author
David Muallem was born in Baghdad in 1931. He grew up in a musical family that was close to circles of composers and poets from whom he absorbed the richness of the Iraqi and pan-Arab music. As a child, he learned European music playing the violin and eventually participated in the founding of the first Baghdad Philharmonic Orchestra, which is still active to this day. Muallem is still in contact with members of the orchestra in Iraq.
In 1950, David Muallem immigrated to Israel where he studied and researched Arab and Turkish music, alongside a career as an advocate and judge in the Israeli legal system.
Close to his retirement as a judge, Muallem joined the School of Eastern Music at Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, where he taught and researched Arab music for many years, performing Arab music on the violin. A result of his work at Bar Ilan University and his interaction with faculty and students was the recognition of the great need for a textbook in Hebrew on Arab scales and maqamat. His love of music in general and of Arab music in particular motivated him to dedicate more than eight years to writing such a book that would serve teachers and students alike in the field of Arab music. The English edition of the book will be issued in 2010.
David Muallem currently lectures on Arab music at various institutions, writes articles, and gives educational presentations accompanied by live musical demonstrations.
In this book David Muallem develops the wealth of knowledge he amassed in his childhood growing up in a musical family in Baghdad, and brought up to date through the wide-ranging theoretical literature, particularly Arab literature, available to him. The result is an important contribution to understanding the world of the maqamat, both for students of Arab music and for their teachers. He provides a thorough presentation of the theory of the maqam system and an annotated guide to 48 maqamat from eight families, illustrating the components of the scales with concise explanations. This list, which represents the vast majority of maqamat in use, also serves as a sort of useful dictionary for finding your way through the maze of maqam scales.
Prof. Dalia Cohen – Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance
This book, an important and most essential source of information, explains throughly the principles of Arab music theory, and is worthy of a place of honor on the bookshelves of all those with an interest in the art of European or Arab music.
Prof. Taiseer Elias - Dept. of Music, Bar-Ilan University, Head of Department of Oriental Music, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance