Traditional Iraqi Music

Classical and Traditional Music of Iraq. The maqam al-'iraqi is considered the most noble and perfect form of the maqam. As the name implies, it is native to Iraq with roots dating back to the Abbasid era and earlier; its current form has been known for about 400 years in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk.

The maqam al-'iraqi has been passed on orally through the Iraqi masters of the maqam, who cultivate the form especially in Baghdad. Widely recognized as Iraq’s predominant classical music tradition, the Maqam encompasses a vast repertory of songs, accompanied by traditional instruments. Moreover, this popular genre provides a wealth of information on the musical history of the region and the Arab influences that have held sway over the centuries. With a repertory rooted in classical and colloquial Arabic poetry, the Maqam is highly revered by musicians and scholars, but also by the Iraqi population at large.

While many Arab musical styles in the region have either disappeared or become westernized, the Iraqi Maqam has remained largely intact, in particular retaining its ornate vocal technique and improvisational character. Due to the current political situation, Maqam concerts are less frequently held in front of large audiences and more often limited to performances in private settings. However, the numerous live concerts and recordings of Iraqi Maqam abroad bear witness to its continuing success and popularity.

To see more info:

To hear a currently popular Iraqi maqam singer:
Purchase the cd: Maqams In Divine Enchantment
by Hussein Al A'Dhami

To learn about Arabic Music with English-language teaching materials go to:
Arabic Musical Scales