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I have read about "Arabic Maqams" used in music (which is quite well discussed) but there are other Maqam systems as well.

What are the other Maqam systems used in other cultures/ traditions? And how many different maqams they include?

Thank

Update: I have found the following over the internet, but need further details like what are the scales used by so many differdnt traditions, and how does they sound like.

map

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  • Maqam is closely (and in my limited experience, uniquely) associated with Arabic culture. It would help to know the context in which you encountered the reference to "other Maqam systems" to know whether the term was being used literally or as an analogy to systems like, for example, Indian Raga.
    – Aaron
    Oct 22, 2022 at 18:43
  • Aaron wait I am attaching a map
    – user89029
    Oct 22, 2022 at 18:46
  • That clarifies the question perfectly. Thanks.
    – Aaron
    Oct 22, 2022 at 18:50
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    @Oud an excellent oud player, my teacher (I took sociology classes from him) once said that it's almost impossible to count.
    – user88063
    Oct 22, 2022 at 19:12
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    @orhantorun not least because if two people play a scale with different tuning it's not necessarily clear whether that's because they're using a different scale or because they are playing out of tune.
    – phoog
    Oct 22, 2022 at 19:31

1 Answer 1

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In general, a maqam is a scale or mode that is used as the basis for a musical composition or improvisation. For this reason, I would exclude Korean Sanjo and Javan Gamelan which are mentioned in the image which you have shared. While these are cited in the image as “forms of improvisation”, they seem to be rhythm- or percussion-based, so they are not “maqam systems”.


Indian, Arab, Turkish and Persian (traditional) music is based on modal systems and is also microtonal. However, it can also be argued that Indian raga should not be considered under the category of a “maqam system” but rather as its own category. This is because it developed independently, while the other systems share more similarities among each other.

On that note, even linguistically, I have never heard anyone refer to raga as a maqam. As for the others, they all have names that sound similar to “maqam”, except for Persian dastgah. However, the dastgah system is regarded as a rearrangement of an older system called maqam.


So, based on my definition, here is a list of the most well-known maqam systems:

  1. Arabic maqam
  2. Iraqi maqam
  3. Turkish maqam
  4. Shashmaqam (Uzbek and Tajik)
  5. Muqam (Uyghur)
  6. Mugham (Azeri)
  7. Weekly Maqam (Sephardic)
  8. Dastgah (Persian)
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  • @PiedPiper I edited my answer slightly to avoid claiming that in the answer.
    – hb20007
    Dec 22, 2022 at 8:15

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