Azerbaijani mugham

Mugham for the Azerbaijani people is music, philosophy and a unique meditation that caresses the spirit of a person.

Azerbaijani mughamHeydar Aliyev Center

Mugham, or mughamat, is a musical genre that expresses complex ideas, emotional meaning, deep and comprehensive thinking, artistic excitement and the development of various musical characters. Since ancient times, mugham has grown, taken shape and been perfected as a result of gradual development and evolution over centuries. In Azerbaijan, mugham is usually performed by khananda (a mugham singer), accompanied by a mugham trio. This vocal-instrumental performance by such a trio is called a whole mugham dastgah.

Musical instruments - tar, gaval and kamancha.

Tar - Tar is a long-necked lute performed especially in Azerbaijani mugam music. A similar version is used in Persian classical music. The word tar is a Persian word, which means string.

Gaval - Ghaval also spelled as gaval is an Azerbaijani frame drum and is usually performed by the mugam vocalist (khananda) during the performance of Azerbaijani mugam music. Recently some musicians perform ghaval solo during Azerbaijani music concerts. Azerbaijani ghaval is also known as daf.

Kamancha - The four-string musical instruments performed with kaman have been played since ancient times in Azerbaijan.

Mugham is music of the soulHeydar Aliyev Center

The movements included in a mugham composition consist of improvised recitative-style vocal melodies that define the musical-poetic content of the work. These are replaced by song and dance episodes with a precise rhythm. Song episodes are called tasnif and those of dance are called rang. Mugham is music of the soul and therefore deeply affects people and ‘transports’ them far away.
The monumental, sequential form of mugham, including the slightest polishing of minor details, differs in terms of its counterpoints by reflecting the melody's expressive capabilities. The mugham performance requires perfect technique with the instruments and an understanding of the uniformity of the structure of the whole composition, the logic of the transitions from one movement to the next.

Mugham for the Azerbaijani peopleHeydar Aliyev Center

Mugham for the Azerbaijani people is music, philosophy and a unique meditation that caresses the spirit of a person. This musical genre has spread throughout the country. The main centres of mugham creativity are Baku, Shamakhi, Ganja, Nakhchivan and Shusha. Among them is the Garabagh Mugham School, formed in Shusha – “a conservatory of the East” – which is of particular interest. Recognizing the value of beautiful voices and talents in the Shusha environment.

The great mastersHeydar Aliyev Center

The great masters such as Khan Shushinski, Zulfi Adigozalov, Seyid Shushinski, Abulfat Aliyev, Mutallim Mutallimov, Islam Rzayev and Arif Babayev are shining figures of the Shusha Mugham School.

The calling card of Garabagh mugham performers is the “Garabagh Shikestesi” mugham which is a modal musical system in zarbi mugham music.

Khan Shushinski (1901-1979)Heydar Aliyev Center

Khan Shushinski (1901, Shusha – 1979, Baku), was an Azerbaijani khanende folk singer.

Zulfi Adigozalov (1898-1963)Heydar Aliyev Center

Zulfu Adygozalov (1898, near Shusha – 1963, Baku) was a Soviet Azerbaijani khanende (mugham singer).

Seyid Shushinski (1889-1965)Heydar Aliyev Center

Seyid Shushinski (1889, Horadiz –1965, Baku), was an Azerbaijani khananda folk singer.

Abulfat Aliyev (1926-1990)Heydar Aliyev Center

Abulfat Aliyev (1926, Shusha - 1990, Baku) was a singer from Azerbaijan.

Mutallim Mutallimov (1909-1981)Heydar Aliyev Center

Mutallim Mutallimov (1909, Aghjabadi – 1981, Baku) was an Azerbaijani khanende (mugham singer).

Islam Rzayev (1934-2008)Heydar Aliyev Center

İslam Rzayev (1934, Fuzuli - 2008, Baku) a famous Azerbaijani khanende (mugham singer).

Arif Babayev (1938)Heydar Aliyev Center

Arif Babaev is a famous Azerbaijani khanende (mugham singer).

The gazal of the great Azerbaijani poet (XIV century)Heydar Aliyev Center

The gazal of the great Azerbaijani poet and philosopher Imadaddin Nasimi listing in detail the movements and modes of the mugham performed in the XIV century has survived to this day. In recent decades, great scientific literature on mugham has been created. Mugham contains a complex idea - emotional meaning, expressing deep thought, artistic excitement and the development of various musical characters. Mugham, as the creative product of professional music performers, is passed down from generation to generation in master-pupil relationships with oral traditions.

The history of mughamHeydar Aliyev Center

The history of mugham is a very ancient one. Scientists attribute the creation of mugham, this magnificent artistic monument of Eastern music, to the past millennium, the pre-Islamic era. They associate its roots with Zoroastrianism. But mugham has been enriched through the centuries, and was widely used by the Sufi in the Middle Ages. The idea is also expressed that mugham clears and purifies the human soul by the power of God. It is no coincidence that scholars of antiquity used mugham as a treatment.

The International Mugham Center of Azerbaijan (2005)Heydar Aliyev Center

The International Mugham Center of Azerbaijan is a center of Azerbaijani arts and music aiming to promote, preserve and popularize the specific genre of Azerbaijani music, mugham. It is located in Baku Boulevard, in downtown Baku.

The Mugham Center was built on initiative of the First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva.

The official opening of the International Mugham Center took place on December 27, 2008. UNESCO’s ninth Director-General Koichiro Matsuura also participated in that opening ceremony.

UNESCO - “Azerbaijani mugham” (2008)Heydar Aliyev Center

The creative heritage of mugham performers in Azerbaijan is now preserved and promoted around the world. The International Mugham Centre has been established, the “Mugham World” International Mugham Festival presents, the magazine “World of Mugham” is published, and archived records are being restored and transferred to electronic media.
On November 7, 2003, “Azerbaijani mugham” was proclaimed by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the intangible heritage of humanity. In 2008, Azerbaijani mughams were included in UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Credits: Story

Mahabbat Mehdiyeva
The Director of Museum Department, Heydar Aliyev Center

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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