Harmonic Secrets of Arabic Music Scales: Fine Tuning the Maqams – With 2 CDs


Harmonic Secrets of Arabic Music Scales
Fine Tuning the Maqams
With 2 CDs

Play Modern Music with Ancient Tunings
Author: Cameron Powers


Harmonic Secrets of Arabic Music Scales
Fine Tuning the Maqams
With 2 CDs

Play Modern Music with Ancient Tunings
Author: Cameron Powers


If you are in love with a Middle Eastern sounding music scale and want to learn Arabic music and related Indian music scales, you need genuine Middle Eastern music theory which is Arabic music theory.

How to write Middle Eastern music? It involves using Eastern modes, Middle East instruments, and genuine Arabic music scales.

When I was only 5 years old I listened to the piano and I could tell there was something wrong: it should sound good but for some reason it didn’t. They all thought it was in tune but I could tell that it wasn’t… quite right…

When I was 14 I bought my first guitar. I could tell that it never sounded quite in tune. I tried to hear it as in tune but really… it wasn’t quite right…

When I was 35 I bought the ancient grandfather of the guitar, a fretless Egyptian oud. Eventually, with practice, I learned to make it sound really good! Really in tune! And I learned so many beautiful ancient Egyptian scales!

Eventually I noticed: every time I changed to a different key, not only did the first note in the scale change but all the other notes did too!
Then I realized why the piano and the guitar had never sounded right. They were tuned in equal temperament!

But with modern electronic keyboard tuning technologies and with slinky strings on my guitar all that has changed. Now I can play perfectly harmonious ecstatic music on lots of instruments. What a difference!

Secrets of Magical Music Explained in Detail!
What are the harmonic secrets of Egyptian Music?
Whatever your instrument…
Whatever your skills…
Whatever your singing style…
You can put this information to use and become the musician or performer you really want to be!
You will be able to rock the world with this knowledge!
In addition to full disclosure of the ancient secrets of perfect harmony, more than eighty ancient scales are taught.
This is enough material for lifetimes of musical creativity!
Secrets derived from Indian, Persian, Chinese and other ancient music traditions prove to be exactly the same!
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to leap beyond the limitations of current Western musical songwriting and composition!

Author Cameron Powers has been studying and performing Arabic music since 1980. The oud, his instrument, is a fretless lute which facilitates the production of microtonally intonated notes. With experience it becomes possible to utilize deep listening skills and perceive subtle variations in pitch and harmony. As skill in deep listening progresses and performance skills also improve, one reaches a point of profound appreciation for the vast variety of modes or scales called “maqamat” which have been preserved in the indigenous Middle East. Cameron’s numerous trips through Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon have enabled him to integrate his own identity with maqam music. It is this sense of having found the treasure of perfect harmony which drove Cameron to want to share. This, his second book about Arabic music, is the result. Cameron regularly performs in restaurants and other venues in the Arab world where the local citizens have encouraged him to return again and again. He has performed for 60,000 Egyptians in the Cairo stadium as part of a day-long fundraiser for a children’s cancer hospital. He was the only non-Arab performer to be invited and sang on the same stage with Amr Diab and many others. Cameron also sang Iraqi music on the streets of Baghdad in solidarity with Iraqi people in 2003. He believes that there is much ancient wisdom related to perfect harmony which can not only help Westerners achieve more balanced and spiritually harmonious lifestyles but also lay a foundation for a future world peace. The popular travel guide, Lonely Planet Guide to the Middle East devotes a page to descriptions of his musical peace work and 501c3 non-profit organization, Musical Missions of Peace.



The new book arrived with the 2 cds. This is perfect direct aural source material for a student like myself and is much easier to absorb than the examples you used in your first publication of arabic scales. I am able now to refer to the first book with a better understanding as regards listening to the musical examples given. Absolutely over the moon and feel I can now go forward in my studies. Many, many thanks Mr Cameron and these cds and book are now my number one reference source. — Much love and respect from Keith Bray.

“Hi Cameron,
Two long years of studying Arabic language while unable to play instruments, and I’m recovered at last; reunited with my instruments and delving into your books and CDs with great joy!!! And I’m sure I cannot adequately express my gratitude for all your careful work that I rely on every single day…
My oud teacher is based in Ottoman/Turkish/Greek styles, and it is your materials that have helped me the most with the intonations of the Arabic styles. I’ve developed a taste for: Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian.
Thanks again for your huge contributions to teaching this subject. I am always ready to mention your books to others who may be interested.”

Most of us have been brought up in the musical world with equal temperament in our musical scales. However,equal temperament is an approximation of convenience from the more pure sounding of just intonation. Cameron explains all of this very nicely. — Nohj Oknorp

Already your book has opened my mind to a totally different way of listening to intervals and harmonic relationships… Hats off to you Mr Powers for guiding me towards a better understanding of middle eastern music and music in general. I’ll need a few more lifetimes to get anywhere near it but its worth the trying.
It’s not that easy to retrain the ear having been constrained for so long to the western system of tuning. As a classically trained musician and piano being my first instrument that’s hardly surprising. Luckily I’d also been trained in the cello and even from a young age became aware of tuning problems… …When any instrument is truly in tune it resonates not only within itself but also the player. Something most music academies fail to teach.
— Best regards from Keith

This is what I’ve felt for so long – some music just really irritates me & I can’t listen to it – at least not for long – but other music is great! Now I know more concretely, why. Thank you for being who you are and sharing your work with us all!
— Tamariee

I wanted to thank you again for the books…it’s really mind boggling all of the knowledge you have gathered. thanks for sharing it with us.

I am also really enjoying the short melodies, and explanations of the rhythms etc, really helps!

its’ amazing to think that the just intonation can have an impact on the psyche!!
but it makes sense,………….in the past two years,
i have been going thru a challenging time,
and the only realy solace ive had is playing oud or saz.
perhaps it is the ancient melodies and intervals that is helping…….
really something.

thanks again for everything,
really grateful
— Lloyd

Hey Cameron, I just read Harmonic Secrets of Arabic Music Scales (cover to cover) and I must say thank you for a great read. Fun, informative, lots of great charts. A wonderful addition to my library. Well done!
— Wade

Thanks, man, These maqams are amazing. Played them all afternoon while I painted Haida designs on my boat cabin wall. There’s a certain quality to them that reminds me of classical Spanish guitar, and if you recall that the Moors conquered Spain, maybe they brought this quality with them. Maybe this classical Arabic music is the father of all madrigals. Very soothing to the soul. I just sat there on the port deck letting the paintbrush move back and forth with the melodies. Truly a princely gift.
— Buck

I would like to mention this book by Cameron Powers:
Harmonic Secrets of Arabic Music Scales
It is about Middle Eastern scales in particular, but it’s also very much about the sort of future that touchscreen instruments are going to bring with them; Just Intonation becoming normal practice once again, assisted by the digital age.
Usually, when Just Intonation is spoken of, 5-limit is what is meant. This means inclusion of perfect thirds, major and minor. It is a very fortunate coincidence that the 53 note per octave scale, happens to line up almost exactly. Almost every world-music system is using some variant of this scale. Flexible intonation instruments like Sitar, Violin, Voice, etc will invariably use this system or some subset of it.
Arabic Maqam is quoted as using a few different variations on what a “quartertone” is. It is typically notated as the dead center between a 12ET major third (or described as a 3/4 tone). But this is not what actually happens. Those intervals literally taken are awful for chording.
The just intoned variations that can be found by ear and practice are what are used.
I think touch screens will usher in some initial experimentation with these kinds of scales at first. But after a while, it will sink in that Phrygian scales and Harmonic Minor scales are bad imitations of the Arabic system (especially Phrygian sharp fourth), and people will start adopting actual Maqam scales for certain scenarios. Then people will realize that with 53ET you can do this, while also getting even better chords out of it than we are accustomed to getting.
— Robert Fielding

I want to take this opportunity to thank you so very very much for all the work you have done on this and the other series. (Arabic Musical Scales: Basic Maqam Teachings with 2 CDs) I can’t remember when I ordered the first book, I would say over ten years ago? …when it was more of a photocopied thing, on the maqams, and I have been trying to work with it ever since.
You were kind enough to answer some of the questions I had, either in the late 90’s or early 2000’s….
So I am really grateful for that, and all of the knowledge you’ve shared with me and so many others.
Back then I was trying to transfer the maqams to dobro, but since then, I have finally gotten an oud, which I have been working on for about three years now.
So, thanks so much for helping me along my path, and for doing what you do, it is inspiring, and I’m grateful.
— Thanks, Lloyd

I am a DJ and have been for several years. I am getting into production now and have read and learned of the different frequencies in the standard musical scale and how they resonate with us, or as you mentioned in one of your videos, how they are just a tad off.

I really enjoyed the video where you showed the waveform of that chord on the piano before and after adjusting the frequencies of the notes.
Also I think your music missions project is awesome, and I’m a true believer in music being the universal language of the world. In my time as a DJ I have met and made friends with so many people from so many different cultures, (especially moroccans it seems, as they love the music I play) that I would not have met otherwise.

I look forward to reading and listening to the material in your book/cd’s and look forward to any further help/guidance you may be able to offer in my music production endeavours! Have a fantastic weekend!
– Bryon Spence

This will be sublime! nice playing yesterday — finding notes that are calm and satisfying, that I knew not existed! In love with the “Thirds of Saba”
-James Hoskins — cello player

I love your book and working on training my vocal cords to have control of 10 and less cents… Thanks for the inspiration!
– Marija

Many thanks for your books on Maqamat, I have found them very inspiring and they help make the subject accessible for westerners who don’t speak Arabic.

Man am I enjoying your Harmonic Secrets of Arabic Music Scales book! I have been playing the maqams on my 53-keyboard and reading your descriptions of them. Your explanations of possible just ratios in the Arabic/Turkish systems is brilliant, and well aligned with what I know from just intonation in general.

So, Cameron, you’ve re-inspired me to explore just intonation… btw, I heard part of your appearance on KGNU a couple nights ago… so, I acquired this really nice stage keyboard
(Roland RD-700nx) earlier this year. It has built into it the ability to choose from a whole array of tuning methods. Perhaps you know about these?:

Each can be set to any keynote. I’ve only been experimenting a couple days, but I can tell such a difference — hearing the consonance between my voice and the keyboard like never before, like it’s not even possible with equal temperament! It may just change how I create music, quite profoundly!



This tuning, justly intonated on my piano, provides clarity and energetic support to the whole body and nervous system. The frequencies feel soothing, supportive, clarifying, and uplifting, both emotionally and energetically (physically). The singing with the piano tuned in Just is amazing! The voice fits in to the resonance of the piano when it is in Just as if the overtones are sound structures and there is room for the voice. I feel and see the overtones play with each other but not fight for space. As a recording engineer I would have had to lower the volume of the piano (a typical tuned piano in equal temperament) in order to make space for the voice. This is very common in mixing music.. You lower the volume to make space for instruments of similar frequencies. However when the piano is tuned in Just there seems to be no competition for space between the piano resonance and the voice even when they are in the same range… They do not compete. But the sonic structure of the Justly tuned piano has space for the voice. As a singer this is incredibly fun! And I no longer have to push the voice or make it a more pointed sound to get over the piano.. Now there is space and this allows me to use any vocal tone I want or need for the phrases or lyrics… Even softly sung vocals are easily heard within the piano resonance. I wish I could draw it… maybe an oscilloscope would show what is going on with the overtones.
I purchased your book and CD’s Harmonic Secrets of Arabic Music Scales a couple years ago or so, and I want to say how much I enjoyed the music and information. I did a serious study of just intonation over a three-year period. I had such a deep desire to learn this aspect of music that most people are not aware of. Anyway, I appreciate you bringing this information about Eastern scales to the West. It helped me fill in the gaps with my just intonation studies.

Thanks for coming out with such a nice book, and recordings of the Maqam! I can right now maybe start singing along with the Maqam tunes for practice even if I don’t have an instrument yet, as I really want to learn it. Neither a Oud, or a Tanbur, Saz or even a Ney is not available here in Mumbai or in India. Can’t wait for a single day to get started!
-R Kazn Young


Essential guide for study of maqam July 18, 2013
For anyone who wishes to learn the musical system of the Middle East and much of Central Asia, this book is a quintessential guide. The previous reviewer suggested that the book focuses on the oud; while this is the author’s primary instrument, I find that this book focuses mainly on the maqam system, and hardly at all on the instrument. Cameron Powers first introduces the indigenous music of the Middle East by placing its tonality within the just intonation framework. Indeed, this is the most intuitive and organic intonation and is the basis of all indigenous music, as it is based in pure harmonics and in simple ratios of string length. He graphically shows how equal temperament (ET) distorts tones by imposing a mentally constructed idea on tones rather than the natural harmonics. On the sensate, feeling level, the effect of ET is jarring and disharmonious.

Next, Mr. Powers elucidates the structure of Maqam, and shows how the various maqamat are built from smaller three- or four-note sequences called ajnas. Once the reader becomes acquainted with the ajnas, the full scales (maqamat) are now readily accessible. Each maqam is identified by the ajnas of which it is composed, and accompanying the description of each maqam is a chart of an octave of microtonal possibilities, with the choices for that particular maqam highlighted. He also lists alternative choices, since in the microtonal world slight differences in pitch offer a great variety of moods and inflections that the master musician makes good use of. Mr. Powers’ expertise in understanding and presenting maqam is unquestionably apparent. This book comes with CDs in which the author goes over each maqam and plays a short taqsim (improvization) in each; all in all, this book is just excellent.

UPDATE: I bought the first edition of this book that came with CDs. I’m not sure CDs are included in this later edition. One person commented that CDs did not come with his order. However, CDs made to accompany this book can be ordered separately from the author/publisher via his website printed in the book. I would highly recommend these CDs for any serious student of maqam.

– Wally Jasper


Fascinating book. May 12, 2013
This book is a very comprehensive study on “Just Intonation” and it’s role in the music of the Middle East in particular, although other types of world music are given scant mention. I personally had a bit of trouble understanding the concept of “musical ratios”, so to speak, and how the math & musical physics of that all works out on a fundamental level until reading the first few chapters of the book. It really helped clear up a lot of confusion on my part, and also supplies much more additional information that I haven’t yet encountered.

If you aren’t familiar with “Just Intonation” or the flaws of equal temperament, I suggest doing some research, especially if you are a musician. I have been playing music for over 10 years and am just now realizing that most musicians, myself included, have really been compromising the integrity of the harmony of the music we play by playing in what is called “Equal Temperament”. Virtually all of the notes we play on a piano or guitar or whatever are out of tune. There are other tuning systems based on the harmonic overtone series, and “pure” ratios based on whole numbers, and that’s about half of what is in this book. It’s a real eye opener.

The other half of the book is about the Maqamat, which are Middle Eastern musical scales. I have been fascinated by Middle Eastern sounding music since I began playing music, basically, so I find this kind of thing to be very valuable. If you are interested in Middle Eastern Music, or play the oud, saz, ney, rebab, sitar, sarod (yes, this stuff applies to Hindustani Music as well), or any fretless instrument, then this may be your cup of tea. It’s very well written.

-Anonymous Artist


Just Intonation September 6, 2011
Most of us have been brought up in the musical world with equal temperament in our musical scales. However,equal temperament is an approximation of convenience from the more pure sounding of just intonation. Cameron explains all of this very nicely. Tthe bulk of the book’s writing is focused on the mid eastern Oud which is played in just intonation. All Oud players would find the book interesting.

-Nohj Oknorp


Harmonic Secrets of Arabic Music and Arabic Musical Scales have become my bible.
End of story. Simply outstanding.


Acabo de comprar “Harmonics Secrets Arabic Scales”. Estoy muy contento por el libro y los Cd’s He recibido perfectamente. Estoy muy interesado en aprender las escalas orientales y estoy seguro que el libro me va a ser de mucha ayuda.


This book is a very comprehensive study on “Just Intonation” and it’s role in the music of the Middle East in particular, although other types of world music are given scant mention. I personally had a bit of trouble understanding the concept of “musical ratios”, so to speak, and how the math & musical physics of that all works out on a fundamental level until reading the first few chapters of the book. It really helped clear up a lot of confusion on my part, and also supplies much more additional information that I haven’t yet encountered.

You should be aware that this book does not come with the CD’s that are mentioned in the description. That is the only reason this book did not receive a 5 star rating. The CD’s can be ordered separately, but the description of the book is a bit misleading at the end where it says it comes with CD’s. It doesn’t. It’s a bummer because when you are dealing with learning music outside of the context of equal temperament, it is really almost necessary (unless extraordinarily gifted) to have audio examples of the scales being described since they all involve what Westerners would call “micro tones”.

If you aren’t familiar with “Just Intonation” or the flaws of equal temperament, I suggest doing some research, especially if you are a musician. I have been playing music for over 10 years and am just now realizing that most musicians, myself included, have really been compromising the integrity of the harmony of the music we play by playing in what is called “Equal Temperament”. Virtually all of the notes we play on a piano or guitar or whatever are out of tune. There are other tuning systems based on the harmonic overtone series, and “pure” ratios based on whole numbers, and that’s about half of what is in this book. It’s a real eye opener.
-Anonymous Amazon Reviewer


Even before my Latin American odyssey, I was starting to hang out with some friends who play Middle Eastern and Greek music. My old friend Cameron Powers (now best known for Musical Ambassadors of Peace) started the band Sherefe, a later incarnation of which I now play in, doing Greek, Turkish, Arabic, and Balkan dance music.

Cameron was a really astute guy. He went to South America and taught himself Quechua in the Andes and then went to Greece and married a Greek woman, built his own guitar and learned Greek music, then he started learning Arabic music. He’s a really brilliant man. His whole thing behind Musical Ambassadors of Peace is that politics is not going to save the world, music is going to save the world.

He and his wife started touring in the Arab world, sending eMails back to their friends in the States to show pictures of them singing Arabic music with people in cafes and taxi cabs and parks, just blowing peoples’ minds. Then they come back here, there are Persians, Iraqis, Bedouins, Syrians, more—it’s not a one size fits all, there are different cultures, different music, languages, and they’re all just people who want to sing a song and raise a family and go to the market. They’re just like us. Before the recent war, the Ambassadors sent Iraqi music masters to teach Iraqi refugees in Syria. Now they are helping traumatized people by doing women’s drum circles for Syrian refugees. It’s a beautiful thing they’re doing.

Partly thanks to lecturing by Cameron, I have come to realize that it’s the notes “in the cracks” that really get to me. Blues, African, Balkan, Turkish, Arabic was the progression, and I now see it was a search for the “real notes.”

AAJ: Search for the “real notes”?

DP: Are you familiar with “just intonation”?

AAJ: Apparently not—please explain?

DP: If you and I sang or played two notes in the same chord together—say a C and an E, a third—we will naturally tune them to each other until there are no beats between them and we make a beautiful, steady sound. That interval is dictated by physics, and it’s a simple ratio; I am not sure what a third is but I think it’s a four-to-five ratio—the lower note vibrates four times while the upper one vibrates five and it’s perfect like that. But if you tune a piano to those notes, you can only play it in certain keys. When the piano was first invented, they would tune a piano to the key you were going to play in, and Mozart and Bach and all the other old masters had specific lengthy notes about the tuning on every piece they played. Go to any music school, you’ll never see any of those notes on any of those symphonies.

Because in the middle of the 1800s, somebody figured out how to mass produce pianos and shipped them out all over the world with instructions for “equal temperament”— not the “well-tempered clavier” but “equal-tempered,” which means that it is equally out of tune everywhere, but every key is more or less playable. So now, that simple five-to-four ratio becomes five point one five seven six two three four to four point zero five nine two one three. Or whatever. It’s not a real ratio that occurs in the natural world.

I don’t know all the technical stuff—there’s Pythagorean and different intonations—but “just intonation” makes use of those pure intervals. And I believe that people like Fritz Kreisler or Charlie Parker who play music that gets you in your heart and your soul naturally play those intervals. So as Parker is modulating from one key to another in jazz, in each key that he’s in, he’s playing it true. But if you hear somebody play that Parker solo on piano, it doesn’t sound like much.

I was called to the blues, where you can identify a guitarist by the way he tunes the notes, and as I got on with my dear friend Don DeBacker, we would talk about “secret notes.” We didn’t know anything about the technicality of it, we just knew that there were notes that are thrilling. Then country music came around and I played a little bit of lap steel guitar. And I discovered that I could tune the guitar to a machine, but then when I went to play it, I would have to retune, to make it sound sweet.

So there’s the blues, there’s country, and then there was African music. Twentieth century African music is a funny phenomenon because people have cheesy electric keyboards and all that stuff, but the guy singing or the guy playing the horn is still piercing your heart with the notes that he sings or plays over the top of that. So, there’s this juxtaposition—the equal-tempered thing, but somebody has got that other shit in his heart and just cuts right through it.

You should hear the Epirota Greek mountain clarinet—there is some blues, brother! Clarinet is the electric guitar of Turkey—people even use a pickup these days! The Turkish Rom comes from gypsies playing clarinet with Arabic scales, killing it! The mix of music currently coming out of North Africa, Istanbul, and Eastern Europe currently is a really exciting blend of jazz and Rom, Turkish, and Arabic music.

And now, as I get into really intricate Greek and Balkan clarinet and sax melodies and ornamentation, I’m relying heavily on technology to slow things down so I can hear what some of those crazy people are doing. But after I “figure it out,” I go back to the feel. That’s really where I live. -Dexter Payne


Indigenous Middle Eastern Music 1

  • Perfect Ancient Harmony 1

Musical Magic: True Harmonic Perfection of Just Intonation 5

Illustrations Below: Waveform Images 7

  • Just Harmonic Intervals 7
  • Equal Tempered Harmonic Intervals 8

Waveform Illustrations of Various Intervals 9

  • Perfectly Harmonious “just” Divisions of an Octave 9

Interval Wave Patterns 10

  • Just 5th 10
  • Just 4th 11
  • Just Major 3rd 11
  • Just Minor 3rd 12
  • Just Major 2nd 12
  • Another Just Major 2nd 13
  • Just Half-flat 2nd 14
  • Another Just Half-flat 2nd 14
  • Just Major 6th 15

Schematic Waveform Diagrams 16

Frequently Heard Comments 18

What Happened to Perfect Harmony in Western Music? 19

Harmony in Arabic Music 19

Quartertones 21

Early Arabic Music History 22

Value of Indigenous Musical Traditions 23

Overtone Analysis and Just Intonation 23

Arabic Maqamat and Just Intonation 26

Note Naming Traditions 28

Classification of Maqamat 31

Practical Tools 33

The Essential Building Blocks of Maqamat: Ajnas 35

Notes on Terminology & Abbreviations Used in the following Tables 36

  • Jins Hijaz on D 38
  • Jins Kurd on D 39
  • Jins Bayat on D 40
  • Jins Saba on D 41
  • Jins Saba Zamazama on D 42
  • Jins Rast on C 43
  • Jins Nahawand on C 44
  • Jins Nawa Athar on C 45
  • Jins Athar Kurd on C 46
  • Jins Ajam on Bb 47
  • Jins Sikah on E half-flat 48

Indigenous Middle Eastern Modes 49

D-Based Maqams 49

Hijaz Family 49

Hijaz and Hijaz Gharib 49

Closely Related Maqamat: Hijaz Humayun, Ajami, al-Isba’ayn (Tunisia),

al-Zayyidan (Algeria), Hijaz al-kabir (Morocco), al-Mathnawi (Iraq).

Hijaz Awji 52

Closely Related Maqamat: Hijaz, Hijaz Masri, Araba (old name)

Shehnaz 54

Closely Related Maqamat: Sikah Baladi, Zirgule Hijaz, (Turkey)

Kurd Family 56

Kurd 56

Closely Related: Phrygian Mode

Bayyati Family 59

Bayyati 60

Closely Related Maqamat: Ushaq (Turkey), Bayati Sultani, Ardibar, Isfahan

Husayni 62

Closely Related Maqamat: Tahir, Hawzi, Nawa, Kutshuk, Sultani Iraq,

Gulizar, Kardan

Saba 64

Closely Related Maqamat: Isfanak, Dugah, Sipahr, Naziniyaz

C-Based Maqams 67

Nahawand Family 67

Nahawand 68

Closely Related Maqamat and Modes: Nihavent (Turkey),

Buselik (Turkey), Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Aeolian Mode,

Rahawi or Sahili (Algeria), Muhayar Sikah (Tunisia), Isfahan (Persia)

Rast Family 71

Rast 72

Closely Related Maqamat: Buzurg, Shawqidil

Suznak 74

Nawa Athar Family 76

Nawa Athar 76

Closely Related Maqamat: Hayan, Nevaser (Turkey)

Athar Kurd 78

Hijaz Kar Family 80

Hijaz Kar 80

Bb-Based Maqams 82

Ajam Family 82

Ajam Ushayran (Bb Major) 82

Closely Related: Huezawi, Ionian Mode

E half-flat-Based Maqams 85

Sikah Family 85

Huzam 86

Closely Related Maqamat: Sikah Arabi

Sikah 88

F-Based Maqams 91

Jaharkah Family 91

Jaharkah 91

Closely Related Maqamat: Shahwar

Transposed E half-flat–Based Maqamat 93

Rahat el Arwah (Huzam on B half-flat) 94

Derived Maqams 97

Derived D-Based Maqams 97

Kurd Family 97

Shehnaz Kurdi 97

Zawqi Tarab 98

Lami 98

Bayati Family 99

Mohayar 99

Closely Related Maqamat: Nahfat

Shuri 100

Closely Related Maqamat: Bayati Araban, Ajem Murassa, Karjigar (Turkish)

Bayatayn 100

Saba Zamzamah 101

Closely Related Maqamat: Saba Kurdi

Saba Najdi 101

Saba Busalik 102

Sabr Jadid 102

Derived C-Based Maqams 103

Nahawand Family 103

Nahawand Kabir 103

Closely Related: Dorian Mode

Nahawand Murassa 104

Closely Related Maqamat: Nahawand Rumi

Rast Family 105

Mahur 105

Closely Related Maqamat: Kirdan

Suzdilar 106

Closely Related Maqamat: Suzdil ‘Ara

Nerz Rast 106

Closely Related Maqamat: Nayruz

Rast Beshayer 107

Dalanshin 107

Nawa Athar Family 108

Nakriz 108

Basandidah 108

Derived Bb-Based Maqams 109

Ajam Family 109

Shawq Afza 109

Shawqi Awir 110

Closely Related Maqamat: Tarz Jadid

Derived E half-flat-Based Maqams 111

Sikah Family 111

Awshar 111

Closely Related Maqamat: Sha’ar, Mayah, Wajh ‘ardibar

Ramal 111

Derived F-Based Maqams 112

Jaharkah Family 112

Jaharkah Arabi 112

Closely Related Maqamat: Najdi

Jaharka Turki (Shehnaz on F) 112

Derived Transposed D–Based Maqamat 113

Transposed to C 113

Zanjaran (Hijaz on C with Ajam) 113

Closely Related Maqamat: Zingaran, Zankulah, Zankhala

Hijaz Kar Kurd (Kurd on C) 114

Tarz Nawin (Kurd on C with Hijaz) 114

Transposed to G 115

Shad Araban (Shehnaz on G) 115

Sikah Balady (Shehnaz on G with the “old intervals”) 116

Transposed to A 117

Suzidil (Shehnaz on A) 117

Shawki Tarab (Kurd on A with Saba) 118

Busalik Ushayran (Bayati on A) 118

Nuhuft (Huseyni on A) 119

Closely Related Maqamat: Huseyni Ushayran

Hijazi Ushayran (Shuri on A) 119

Bayati Ushayran (Bayatayn on A) 120

Transposed to E 121

Qatar (Saba Zamzamah on E) 121

Derived Transposed C–Based Maqamat 122

Transposed to G 122

Farahfaza (Nahawand 1 on G) 122

Sultani Yaka (Nahawand 2 on G) 123

Closely Related Maqamat: Rahat Faza

Dilkashidah (Nahawand on G with Bayati) 123

Yak-Gah (Rast on G) (Rast Nawa) 124

Yekah (Nayruz on G) 125

Transposed to E 126

Busalik (Nahawand on E) 126

Shiar (Nahawand on E with Bayati) 127

Transposed to D 128

Nahawand Kurdi (Nahawand on D) 128

Ushaq Masri (Nahawand on D with Bayati) 128

Nishaburk (Nayruz on D) 129

Hisar (Nawa Athar on D) 129

Transposed to Db 130

Midmi (C Hijaz Kar 2nd becomes Tonic on Db) 130

Derived Transposed F–Based Maqamat 131

Transposed to D 131

Zirgulah (Jaharka on D) 131

Derived Transposed Bb–Based Maqamat 132

Transposed to D 132

Nishabur (Ajam on D with Nahawand) 132

Transposed to C 133

Ajam on C 133

Closely Related: C major

Suznal (Shawq Afza on C) 135

Panjigah (Shawqi Awir on C) 135

Derived Transposed E half-flat–Based Maqamat 136

Transposed to B half-flat 136

Bastanikar (Huzam on B half-flat with Saba) 136

Closely Related Maqamat: Taz Nuin

Irak (Huzam on B half-flat with Bayati) 137

Farahnak (Sikah on B half-flat) 137

Unusual C-Based Ajnas and Maqams 138

Sazkar and Zawil Family 138

  • Jins Sazkar on C 138

Rast Kabir 139

Sazkar 139

  • Jins Zawil on C 140

Zawil 141

Rast Jadid 141

Closely Related Maqamat: Rahawi, Pesendide

Unusual E half-flat-Based Ajnas and Maqams 142

Mustaar and Mukhalaf 142

  • Jins Mustaar on E half-flat 142

Mustaar 143

Mukhalaf 143

Unusual B half-flat-Based Maqams 144

Awj Ara Family 144

  • Jins Awj Ara on B half-flat 144

Awj Ara 145

Closely Related Maqamat: Rawnaq Numa

Table A: Note Names of Basic Arabic scale 147

Table B: Names of Expanded 24-note Arabic Scale 148

Table C: Most Useful Fifty-Eight Just Notes in 1 Octave 149

Inverse Symmetry 151

Measuring Frequency 152

Tastes of Other Ancient World Music Traditions 153

  • Iraqi Maqam Names and Classification 153
  • Chinese Music 153
  • Persian Music 154
  • Music of India 156
  • Music of Turkey 157
  • Music of Greece 158

Musical Instruments 159

  • Fretless Stringed Instruments 159
  • “Quartertone” Fretted Stringed Instruments 161
  • Other Fretted Stringed Instruments 161
  • Zithers 162
  • Hammered Zithers: Santur 162
  • Wind Instruments 163
  • Other Wind Instruments 164
  • Keyboards 164

Glossary of Terms 165

Acknowledgements 168

Cameron Powers — Biography 169

Bibliography 170

Other Books by Cameron Powers 174



Additional information

Weight 0.5 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 10 × 0.5 in


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