Music Terms  
Foreign Words and Term
Azerbaijan Music Terms


Foreword of publication author

But, unfortunately, we have to state there was written and published none of a rather competent work, scientific investigation fundamentally generalizing the history and theory of our music, after the most invaluable book by U. Hajibeyov.

In other words, U. Hajibeyov's searches were not followed on the proper level. Considering the fact that Azerbaijani folk music consists of two interrelated branches (creativity of ashigs and khanende), we, possibly, see this connection, primarily in unity of mugham's construction.

One can suppose that U. Hajibeyov, pointing in his book that the most part of Azerbaijani national songs, dance melodies and "other musical forms" (cursive is mine - A.B.) are composed in mughams Shur and Segah, chiefly implied ashig creativity.

We hear this in such musical forms as gerayli, tajnis, dodagdeymez, performed today by talented ashigs Asad Rzayev, Mirza Bayramov, Islam Yusifov, which, in their turn, continued creative traditions of the word and saz masters: Ashig Gurbani, Abbas Tufarganli, Ashig Alesker, Valeh, Huseyn Bozalganli, Ali Miskinli.

The terms on mugham's genres and forms, along with the terms on the ashig creativity, occupy the central place in the Dictionary.

Mughamat is the most beautiful creative product of the national musical thinking. Mughamat with its inherent deep meaning, clear and calm style, is based on the logic principles of development, definite musical system, possessing the richness of subject-matter and various forms of manifestation.

Many peoples took participation in composition and development of mugham. Mutually profitable economical and cultural ties between countries of the Mideast spread of music in the towns, domineering on the big caravan roads, and other factors enabling organic interpenetration of musical genres in cultural life of the neighbouring peoples, close to each others by territories.

Regarding this point, the Soviet musicologist Kh.Kushnaryov's summary is of great interest. He writes: "Mughamat is mainly an art of the Muslim world peoples". The consideration about partial participation of non-Muslims, particularly, Armenians, in development of mughamat, especially, if the question is of comparatively later forms of mughamat creation, is also for a reason.

According to this fact, Kh. Kushnaryov uniquely indicates that in the East, beginning from the Ġ century, such scientists as al-Farabi and Abu Ali ibn-Sina, showed serious interest in theoretical problems of music. There is not a single area of common interest between the researches method, used by them and their associates, and the method of ancient Armenian musical theorists.

However, stating these actually true theses, Professor Kh. Kushnaryov, some while makes unilateral, ill-founded conclusions, because he loses sight of some important aspects, as well as presumes simple factual lapses, related to the mughamat art.

After following up his valuable scientific observations on history and specificity of the mugham art, in certain cases at bottom, he puts forward, in consequence of superficial and token approach, bare philosophies, as a matter of fact. E.g., analyzing ashig Hayat's song "Matin matani animan" ("How nice is a ring on my beloved's finger"), he shows that:

1) The song is written in the scale of the mugham Mukhalif;
2) And the mugham Mukhalif in its class position refers to Transcaucasia (read after South Caucasus) aristocratic class (!?)
3) Here for grounding of his concept the author cites to scientific thesis, put forward on page 9 of the known book by U.Hajibeyov.

With that, specified by Kh.Kushnaryov theses are remote from the truth, for:
1). At considerate listening of the song that Kh.Kushnaryov attempts to analyze, especially, with regard to his stay on the note si-flat of the 9-th bar, we can define this song sounding not in the mugham Mukhalif. Most probably, it is written in the mode Humayun, with no magam Khumayun, applied in Azerbaijan, but its antitype - Iranian Khumayun.

2). Many original samples of Azerbaijani folk music - songs, tesnifs, and rengs are executed in the mode Mukhalif. Mukhalif occupies one of the central sections of the dastgakx Chargakx, comprising so many Azerbaijani dastgahs, and applies in folk music of Transcaucasia. Its demonstration is more so indicative in the period of privileged life of gentle folks (ĠIĠ c.), etc. However it doesn't prove belonging of this mugham solely to aristocrats.

By our opinion, such an artificial classification of mughams by external features, assertions of mugham's "class position" cannot be considered as scientific attitude. This principle, finally, can be crowned by false sociological conclusions.

3) Is not there in the book by U. Hajibeyov a single word about wide spread occurrence of mugham Mukhalif among the masses of Azerbaijan?

Then Professor Kh.Kushnaryov calls the concept of mughamat, as accepted, "wide improvisational vocal-instrumental or instrumental composition". As a matter of fact, along with the right definition of the mentioned forms, he missed the existence of pure vocal form of mugham.

In the meantime, going into the question of performing mughamat as an instrumental-vocal composition, one should remember of poetic text, rhymes (primarily, poetic form Gezel). It's hard to envisage, how mugham can sound in vocal execution of non-Islamic public in the metric of aruz rhyme, and what impression that can make.

So, supposedly, when Kh.Kushnaryov told about participation of non-Muslim peoples, he, most likely, implied at that Armenian masters - mugham performers, mainly limiting by only instrumental form of statement. These peoples are known to cultivate in their ambience many talented instrumentalists-sazende (tar, kamancha, flute, naghara players, etc.), but they could not educated true mugham singers - khanende.

Professor Kh.Kushnaryov quite justly denoted that so many problems, concerning the art of mughamat along with its historical evolution, compositional principles, national particularities, were not still worked out on the proper level. Therefore, contradictions of ideas and opinions, regarding the point of view on the origin of mughamat and its class position, are in evidence.

"All these arguments arose, principally, because of historical aspect snubbing: mughamat is once for all comprehended as art, belonging to any certain class".

In general, problems, related to performing of mughamat, through many years were item of heated disputes between masters of khanende and sazende. Particularly, in matter of mughams-dasgahs, videlicet: a) of which sectors dastgahs consist; b) melodic features of the each separate sector; c) consequences of sectors; d) the rules of transition of one sector to another; e) performance peculiarities of dastgah; f) melismas and trills; g) metric signature (measure, rhythm), etc.

Debates, regarding mughamat issues, as was mentioned above, often appeared unprovable, unfounded, both carrying abstract meaning, and in the most cases, empty judgment of no fundamental importance. Therefore, in specific cases, some of performers - khanende and sazende, laying emphasis of these, at bottom, all over inappropriate and senseless arguments, as if bearing principal character, abused the current situation. In this respect, the careless behavior of some small-minded sazende, who attempted to prevent the initiation of opera art in Azerbaijan, was demonstrational.

The group of tar players, participating as part of the orchestra of the first in Azerbaijan opera staging "Leyli and Majnun", observed with own eyes, which difficult circumstances and challenges they had to manage for preparation and completion of this stage direction. They were living eyewitnesses of this activity. Yet, for all that, on the day of premiere (all the tickets were known to be sold in advance), in the afternoon, during the last repetition, they withdrew their participation in the evening performance, pretending some unpleasantness happened between them. U.Hajibeyov wrote:

I remember the high-pitched argument started between tar players, concerning the performance of some melody, assumed an aspect of such a serious conflict that none of the tar players, but Gurban Primov, came to the opera premiere. I had to preclude this disadvantage urgently within two hours before drawing the curtain: I added musical passages, intended for performing by tar players, to the violin players' part".

To find out the reasons of ceaseless contradictions on the subject of structuring mughamat, one need, first of all, refer to the chapter "Historical information" from the scientific work by U.Hajibeyov "Fundamentals of Azerbaijani national music". On making interesting comparisons, U.Hajibeyov vividly and obviously explains with artificial expressiveness, inherent for his talent of journalist-writer, why and how mughamat suffers changes during centuries.

He writes:

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Copyright © Musigi Dunyasi, 2007