is one of the genres of singing in Iraq. Because of
the fact that it has its own
rules it can be considered as a traditional and
classical music. Maqams are performed mainly and
widely in the Iraqi cities of
It is however, practiced in limited venues in the
cities of Kerbala,Hilla and Diyala as well.It is in
Baghdad that the Iraqi maqam is widely performed.
Baghdad witnesses also its origins and its
development across generations. Artistically
interpreted, maqam is a distinguished mode along the
course of Iraqi music and singing. It is based on
two main factors; that of sound(melody)and the time(rhythm).
Usually, the maqam singer is called Qaari ( lit.
reader). this is because Originally maqam is
categorized within the Sofistic and religious music.
The maqam singer is expected to apply the standard
rules of maqam. Surely , he or she is also expected
to integrate his own improvisation in the maqams
system of standard style to reflect his or her own
particular style and character as a singer.
Therefore ,individual differences in Performance are
1-Tahriir (or the Beginning Of maqam)
2-Qita / Awsaal (parts and pieces within)
3- Al-Djalsa "lit. Sitting" is a sound movement
or a musical note where a maqam singer descends
to a note at the maqam base in order to ascend
to the higher notes in singing; what is known,
in the terminology of maqam, as "mayanat"
4-"Mayanat" refers to the part of maqam singing
when a maqam singer uses high voice layers
above the octave note of the original maqam base
5-Tasliim ( the end or conclusion).
The maqam singer is usually accompanied by a small
group of musicians. The group is called(Al-Chaalghi
The word chaalghi is of aTurkish origin.Because
Baghdad is where the main origin of the Iraqi maqam
is traced, this group is named after it. The group
consists of Performers using traditional musical
Those instruments are:
The djooza(aspiked four string fiddle), the santur
(a cither brought to sound through sticks), the
tabla(vase drum with two open sides of which one
side is covered by the drum skin). the riqq (a
tambourine) and occasionally, the naqqara (metal
shells beaten by metal sticks).
The players of the group are expected to be fully
acquainted with the minute technicalities of each
instrument they play and how it suits the required
performance of maqamat and pestehs. In addition,they
are supposed to have skilled voices and eloquent
performance. this is because their role is not
confined to the playing of the instruments only but
is extended to the singing of the pesteh (the
wich i s sung at the end of each maqam, this pesteh
gives the maqam singer some time to rest and be
prepared for the following one. the texts recited in
each maqam differ from one maqam to another. There
are maqamat that are performed in classical Arabic
poetry, while others in the Iraqi vernacular known
as Zuheeri Mosabba,(seven
In addition, there are some maqams that are
performed while accompanied with some Iraqi rhythms
from the beginning to the end, while others are
without these. It is worthwhile saying that there
are more than 50 Iraqi maqams. till recently, Maqam
has been performed inthe following venues and
The Mawlid, The feast celebrating the birth of the
prophet Mohammed, in coffeehouses and In Zurkhane
which is a Sofi-related sport school.