The maqam Rast in muwashshahaat

by Anna Plakhova [Novosibirsk]


SUMMARY: This paper analyses muwashshahs in maqam Rast from the collection “Al-Muwashshahat” (Beyrouth:, 1965), considering semantic, intervallic and functional characteristics of the maqam Rast, its interpretation in the muwashshahs, main regularities of modal-melodic movement in Rast-muwashshahs, including melodic-tonal patterns and modulations.


Three aspects of importance of muwashshah as a genre: 1) the Arab-Spanish culture; 2) the system of the Arabian musical-poetic tradition: 3) the perspective from a world cultural interaction.


The method of analysis is based on the following two points: the general concept of a mode as developed in Russian and international musicology and a modern general and modal theory of monody. Two fundamental features associated with the modal theory of monody are diffuseness – as originally introduced by S. Galitskaya – and “compoundness”.


Additional points examined are essential features of the Arabian traditional system of modes in the context of the modal theory of monody and the diversity of the classification of Arabian modes, principal openness of the traditional systems of modes. The maqam-phenomenon in the modal structure of muwashshahaat is also treated.


Furthermore, a number of additional points are examined:


Maqam Rast in the art traditional music of the Moslem world: historical, semantic, intervallic and functional characteristics. Chromaticisms and modulations of the maqam Rast in Eastern theoretical sources. Modulation in monody. Importance and variety of modulation (talwin) processes in Rast-muwashshahs. Quantitative and qualitative aspects of modulation processes in analysis of Rast-muwashshahs.


Twelve Rast-muwashshahs from “Al-Muwashshahat”: semantic and textural peculiarities of poetic structure. Rhythmic patterns (iqaat) of Rast-muwashshahs. Essential results of modal analysis of Rast-muwashshahs:


1) On the whole, main regularities of melodic movement and modal structure of Rast-muwashshahs correspond with the essential positions of the Arabian traditional modal theory;


2) The twelve Rast-muwashshahs revealed more than 20 talwin-modes (modes of modulation) as opposed to just two hitherto generally thought to have existed;


3) Representation of talwin-modes in the formation of melody usually by their first (lower) tone group (jins), not by the complete (total) scale;


4) Prevalence of talwin-modes, which have more common tones with the maqam Rast; which can be subdivided into three groups;


5) Presence of all Arabian scale intervals (minor, neutral, major, augmented seconds) in all modes of Rast-muwashshahs: main (Rast) and modulation.


Melodic-tonal patterns (models, formulae) of the Rast-maqam. Different conceptions concerning the problem of the melodic-tonal patterns in maqam-genres. Analytic study of the cadence melodic sections of Rast-muwashshahs, a possible dual interpretation of the results.