An endless song of love

Classical court music from Uzbekistan

"Maqam" is an Arabic word meaning "place" - or "location". The
history and variety of meanings of this term in all its ramifications and variations would lead too far here. In any case, it is very old, and can be found already in texts from the 1st century.
In Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan, the word "maqäm" is used to designate both the mode mode or key, i.e. each maqäm is characterized by specific tones and melodic turns, as well as before and melodic turns, as well as to designate a cycle of instrumental and vocal movements. instrumental and vocal movements that are in a certain mode.
The Shash Maqäm is a collection of repertoire, which includes the most important of Tadzhik and Uzbek art music, i.e. various instrumental and vocal forms up to the volk vocal forms up to the popular song in a certain. obligatory order.
The shash maqam comprises six - because shash means six - large maqam cycles with a total of about 250 individual pieces, which would take about two hours to perform coherently, a whole day or a whole night. In the past - before the times of Russian hegemony in Central Asia - the music was performed both at gatherings of artisan guilds, at philosphical-literary evenings, the so-called madchlis of the educated upper class, and at the court of emirs.
The names of the maqäams have been known since the 13th century: Buzruk - the "Great". lRasr - the "True", Nava - the "Melodic", Dugah, Degah and lrak.
Each maqam consists of an instrumental and a vocal cycle. While the large vocal cycles used to be performed solo, probably even behind a curtain, as relatively quiet and restrained background music competing with the singing of the birds, today they are mainly performed by larger ensembles and choirs in concert halls and in prestigious television productions. The musicians sit in black suits in front of the camera, and even during the most passionate passages they do not make a face, in order to show themselves to be above any suspicion that this music could lead them away from the right path of Islam. On the contrary: the Shashmaqäm has a religious background, and should lead the faithful to the infinitely distant divine.
The vocal cycle of each maqäm begins with a slow significant part called Sarachbar, the "opening communication." After a brief instrumental prelude, the first two lines of poetry are sung in the low register. In these first two melodic phrases, called daramad, i.e. "introduction", the basic melodic and tonal character of the maqäm is introduced. This is followed by two more melodic phrases sung in the fourth and fifth registers, respectively, on the next two lines of the poem. This section is called mijan-chat i.e. "middle line".
This introductory section is repeated in the octave register. It is followed by modulations in the octave register, which allmfilich lead to the great culmination, the so-called Audsch, in the last quarter of the piece. From there, the composition returns relatively quickly to its starting point, that is, to the melodic phrases of the introduction performed in the lower registers. Each of the major vocal sections thus has a cyclical structure. They return to the tonal melodic characters presented in their introductions.
Other vocal pieces follow, labeled talquin, nasr, ufar, each with its own usul named rhyme, often several measures long, characteristic of each of these pieces.
Interspersed between these large vocal movements are folk song forms, the
so-called tarana. At the end there is the lively vocal part ufar in 6/8 time, which can also be danced to.
The arrangement of the large vocal parts as a whole also follows a cyclical structure. After
seemingly endless variations, the end of the last part a/cr reaches the basic character
the basic character of the introduction of the first vocal part. the tonal-melodic material of the
In total, such a cycle lasts about I hour, including the preceding instrumental cycle.
including the preceding instrumental cycle, it is I l/2 to 2 hours per cycle.
The sung texts of the Shashmaqam follow a similar infinite structure.
The poet, always spurned, looks up to an adored beauty whom he never or almost never reaches. These poems are not so much about the longings of interpersonal love, but much more about the relationship between the divine, its perfected beauty and the people whose desire for redemption in this world remains unfulfilled.
Listen now, interpreted by the Maqam Ensemble of the Uzbek Radio and Television under the direction of Abduchaschim Ismailov, to the parts sarachbar-i Buzruh talqin-i Uzzal, nasr-i lJzzal and llfar-i Uzzal from the vocal cycle of Maqam Buzruk, the "Great Maqäm", which used to be associated with the color red and whose rather powerful-fighting character was associated with the Turkic peoples.

Cast & Crew

Uli Aumüller
Susanna Fernandez Jenebra, Ulrich Ritter, Hussein Djirbedji, Hans Treichler
Original Score
Abduchaschim Ismailov
Editorial Jounalist
Helmut Rohm, Wilfried Hiller