RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Imagine  >  Divine mugham: the music of Azerbaijan

Divine mugham: the music of Azerbaijan

Author: 05.12.2017 | art, Azerebaijan
There is music which brings us back to life. It happens even if the tears are falling when one listens to it. The musical genre mugham talks to the audience using the right language. Everyone has lived out unhappy love, loss of a close person or ruin of ideals. These topics became the source of inspiration for the musicians of Azerbaijan movement mugham. OUTLOOK will tell about this unique style of music.

…God and devil once argued whose followers might have become stronger. Angel Jabrail who was incredibly beautiful had not been aware of the evil intentions. He came to the mysterious kingdom where ordeal started. Actually, he had to go through the special challenge to belief. That’s why he took the Prophet Muhammed with him. Coming closer to the gates of the kingdom, Angel knocked and heard a question: ‘Who are you?’ He knew that on the opposite side the representatives of evil forces could live. So, he responded: ‘You are who you are while I am who I am’. His wings were overwhelmed with the ruthless fire, and Angel fell down. He did not understand why he dropped. Again, he pulled himself up, speeded up and turned to stay near the unfortunate gates. He was asked seven times who he was, and time and time he insisted on his own belonging to the angelic nature. The angel crashed down seven times. This is the plot of mugham, ancient Azerbaijan singing. The performer who has been singing this legend came to conclusion. When there is music of soul, the listener becomes the one being with musician. There is no division into ‘own’ and ‘strange’, ‘light’ and ‘dark’ anymore. The border between ‘you’ and ‘me’ is blurred. The world loses duality and gets an absolute ideal. Only the angel is able to come through ordeal who loses the limited personality in the boundless music.

Фото miceandtravel.com

It is said that mugham has divine nature. This fact is approved in numerous legends that left traces in the theory of music. Being traditionally vocal or instrumental, mugham is divided into the following styles. Simai Shams has the energy of god Sun, being bright and sizzling like the accompanying deity. Mugham of Marduk is austere like the weapon of god of thunder and lightning. Even the most sophisticated listener could withstand the temptation of its performing. As for the melodies of Bayat Gajar mugham, they refer to the noble Turkic generation. It seems that the nobility and gracefulness are inherent to this genre.

Even though historians convince that mugham harkens back to the Medieval Ages, several artefacts show even more ancient origination. For example, in one of the oldest preaching house (which transformed into the ruins) there are lines from the mugham. It is believed that Ziggurat (the building is called like that) appeared at the sunrise of civilization. It means that music penetrating its walls accompanied the prayers of ancient sages. Maybe, they articulated the recitative which afterwards was called as mugham: ‘The sea of fire is storming everywhere with the terrible crackle’. One way or another, the singers who perform mugham are well-known as hanende.

Azerbaijan symphonic mugam - LSO and Karabakh trio, conductor Yalchin Adigezalov from Liepaja Symphony Orchestra on Vimeo.

There were some schools of performers, and each of them differed with the extraordinary attitude towards the music. Baku, Samaxi, Naxcivan, and Susa heard the first shy performances of mugham. In these surroundings the singers hanende studied philosophical background which serves as the basis for Azerbaijan vocal tradition. They dealt with different genres included in the movement of mugham, set up connection with planets mulling over the Universal influence made on the human destiny. Each style was dedicated to the exact trait embodied in the planetary guise. For example, the gentle genre nava related to Moon, buselik tended to male energy of Mercury, passionate rast was dedicated to the fervent Venus, breath-taking arag applied to the Sun. The truculent ushshag praised Mars while harmonic zirefkend has traditionally been performed in the glory of Jupiter. The controversial rahavi talked about Saturn.

Фото portal.azertag.az

Having defined the context, musicians chose instruments. Several loved trio consisting of tar, kyamancha and def. Other people opted for the trumpet-tongue orchestra. Also, there were someone who found it appropriate to use string (particularly, ud, tar, saz, and jam) with the rare inclusions of wind-instrument zil.

Mughams quite often were dedicated to the supernatural forces of nature or disasters. For instance, on some mugham the volcanic eruption is described: ‘The top of the mountain throws away lava with ashes. The reason of the disaster is in the absis. Ete El is languishing because of the breakage which Marduk considers as essential’. This lines contain the implication on the divine anger. Marduk is dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, that’s why people have to pay off for their deeds surviving in the disaster. The mythological view on life is typical for the ancient poetry while Azerbaijan culture has not become an exception.

Фото img.day.az

Mugham has traditionally been transferred from the teacher to the tutor. The lyrics have not been decoded. Everyone had an opportunity to add something from his imagination. Hanende created masterful images drawing surrealistic pictures: ‘suffocating dense dust, ground and stones in the shape of fire balls make up the flamy lava’, ‘the clouds of dust, then blistering stones and ground appear from nowhere. The burning river starts its flow’. So as to reach the necessary effect, the performer took the highest notes which he could. Due to the beautiful performance of the lyrics, the disaster touched in mughams seemed not so dreadful.

UNESCO added unique musical style of Azerbaijan in the list of non-material heritage masterpieces. They made emphasis on the fact that mugham is incredibly valuable for the human culture.

Заглавное фото dlmn.info

It will be interesting:
Azulejo: Story of tiles
You often got convinced that skilful hands of a master who puts life into his creation, can transform humble tree stump into a charming violin, piece of plaster becomes an ancient sculpture, and even clay tile looks like a work of fine art.
Filthy creativity
Dirty cars are like a host for an artist. One may treat such art differently. Someone will wrinkle his nose and disdainfully wrestle his clothes. Others necessarily want to put a finger in such a picture in order to check the fragility of the "canvas" and smear its outlines. However, others will definitely make a selfie. However, nobody can pass by.
Handicraft: persian carpets
In those days when the Persian soldiers were second to none, and both the Roman Empire and the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by their power, skilful fingers of winner nation craftswomen created their first masterpiece. The carpet called The Springtime passed into history as the most precious of all time. It symbolized powerful rule of the Persians, and its beauty told about the divine origin of the king Khosrow I.
Michelangelo Antonioni: a Poet of the Desert of Human Soul
Complicated spiritual world of the people of the 20th century has become a fruitful topic for many cinematographers but a special place in its exploration belongs to Antonioni. The director has gained global fame with the movies that display inner world of his contemporaries, their loneliness and lack of social connections(the concept that has become crucial in the art of the master).
Where to go? Top five of the most interesting museums of modern art in Europe
Françoise Barbe-Gall teaches how to talk to children about art. She gives practical advices in her books, teaches to see things invisible to many people, to notice details and forget about labels. But we have to admit there are very few people who can boast with expertise in this area. If you want to change this order of things, today we offer you to go with us to the museums.
Mandala Therapy
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue...
METRO beauty
Residents of big cities almost daily use the subway as a transport means. Alas, in the rapid pace of modern life a few people can afford to enjoy the design of these transit hubs. OUTLOOK is not able to stop time, but allow us to highlight fifteen of the most mesmerizing underground subway station from all around the world.
The magnificent world of land-art: Patrick Dougherti
Land-art is not simply the landscape design but also the whole direction in art which in thee 21-st century considered one of the most important when only lazy people do not speak about the ‘green technologies’ and environment. The names of stars of such an activity have sturdily come into the speech of the tutors, critics, and connoisseurs, especially they outline Patrick Dougherti.
Houses that they build…Unusual houses
Treehouses, dug-outs and secret shelters – all the things we used to build when children. Unfortunately, as we grow older, fantasy fades and most of us now live in uncomfortable grey “boxes”. However, there are people who have created dwellings of their dreams by themselves.
The Ambassador Elena Leticia Teresa Mikusinski held a diplomatic reception, the world-famous Argentine singer Gerónimo Rauch became an honored guest
The Column Hall of the Kyiv City State Administration on June 11 welcomed guests of the Embassy of the Argentine Republic to Ukraine on the occasion of a national day. The Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, representatives of the government and its agencies, partners of the embassy, the business community and the media lined up to congratulate the head of a foreign diplomatic institution and express their greetingss to friendly Argentina.
Let's have a seat!
Walking along the Kyiv Landscape Alley, you always notice amazing benches created by Ukrainian masters. My favorite one is with a blanket and a pillow, because it seems comfortable even in inclement weather. Sitting on it, I remembered a picture from my childhood: the grandmothers take a long board out of the house, put it at one end on the stump, the other - on the railing of the entrance, and it turns out to be a bench. Wasn't it a design miracle?
Art of topiary
When I, as a little girl, for the first time passed my hand over trimmed bush, my palm got scratched with sharp edges of twigs and lasting arborvitae fragrance hit my nose. Mesmerized, I was not able to take my eyes away from the cones, balls and squares that surrounded me in the park of a small resort town. I felt like being inside a fairy tale, where behind the leaves I could notice a smile of the Cheshire Cat.
Step over threshold: The magical art of the huichol
Dazzling flashes of ancient knowledge manifested in colourful shimmering beads and in elaborated yarn mosaics by Huichol Indians, captivate the imagination calling for an endless journey through branches of the world tree. Spiritual images take on flesh in intricate ornaments that accompany a Mexican peasant throughout his life.
White gold of Tianxia. Chinese porcelain
The civilization of ancient China was one of the first to discover porcelain. It is established that back in II millennium BC the firing temperature of pottery found in the Yellow River was close to 1200 ° C. According to some researchers, the invention of porcelain was dictated by the desire to find a replacement for greenstone and jade.
Belgian lace: Waltz of a thousand threads
At the sight of Flemish lacework it is hard to shake the feeling that miraculous flowers, artfully braided into a wreath of a pattern, were born from loose sparks that had escaped a magic wand. On the inside of the beauty there are efforts and days of jetsam girls, stolen from life by labyrinth of openwork loops.
Rice fields: Grains of unbelievable beauty
- Do you want to try some rice? - such a question is greeted by guests in China. And if the owners are also farmers, they can invite you on an unusual excursion and show you the masterpiece of natural art. The grass which we often eat without thinking about its aesthetics, at the time of growing resembles a blanket woven from multi-colored rags ...
Shadows in Paradise: The way modern art surprises the Lovers of the unconventional
A borderline between the shadow and the light is just as contrasting as the one between the dream and the reality. Therefore artists use both things in pursuit of balance on a painting. Landscapes, portraits and still-life… nothing ever goes without the clash of the opposites. However there are particularly crafty artisans who do not need light at all. Shadow alone is enough.
Kamasan: Village of masterpieces in Bali
Bali is one of the most popular places to spend winter. Ocean, volcanoes, amazing nature and exotic fruits... But there is also one more reason that not many people know of, yet it definitely deserves attention: Kamasan, a unique art village where namesake Balinese picture art was conceived – as ancient as the island itself. We are going to tell about it today on the pages of the OUTLOOK.
Art of Patrick Cabral: paper as a symbol of fragility of our world
Independent artist originally from the Philippines, Patrick Cabral conquers the world with his unusual artwork. His creations are an innovation that combines the age-old traditions of calligraphy and cutting-edge 3D technologies. His art is a way to change the world for the better, both through aesthetics and through the fulfillment of a social mission.
Pablo Picasso: Poet for his era
About Picasso as a distinctive artist, graphic artist and sculptor, we know to some extent everything. Meanwhile, his other incarnations are pushed into the background. Ilya Ehrenburgh once very concisely described Pablo Picasso’s relations with his era: “20th century found in him its own dynamite expert, its own philosopher and its own poet”.
Close
Outlook facebook page