What is Maqam?
Maqam is the musical system at the root of traditional Arabic music, played by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim seculars and mystics alike, across the Middle East. A Maqam is more or less a set of notes that comprise a scale; the arabic scales rely on quarter tones - notes unfamiliar to a western ear raised on western music. Each maqam is also a map - a guide to the musician and his audience, as to where musical ecstasy, taraab, may lie.
Below is a key to the map of this site. Each image leads to another website; these sites have functioned as sources for the creation of this project, and can function as further paths of investigation for those whose interest has been sparked. We are grateful for each of these sources.
Upper Left Corner - Chanting of the weekly Torah portion, in the Syrian tradition.
Lower Left Corner - Syrian Jewish catalogue of the maqam.
Center - Episode # __ + Rabbi James Stone Goodman's text.
Upper Right Corner - English translation of the weekly Torah portion.
Middle Right Corner - Basic Music Theory for each Maqam.
Lower Right Corner - Literary sources for the poetry.
This is the beginning and the end
As if the linear does not apply
It’s a circle a cycle a spiral
We ascend with the ending
We begin Genesis
The end implies the beginning
By the beginning we are not naïve to the end.
Ouroboros, the self-devouring serpent
first living being
Turn it and turn it
For everything is contained within
By Yochanan Ben Bag Bag
Who knew the chambers of the Torah.
Tosefta Ketuvim 5:1
Sefat Emet on Genesis