This course aims to convey the makam system in a practical and theoretical way. It is rooted in the meşk tradition, which emphasizes learning by mimicking and repeating after an instructor.
This course is based on the following steps:
Play a simple piece, repeating after the instructor as per the meşk style. This means you don’t need to know how to read music.
Observe which musical phrases are relevant to the present makam. You will receive examples of this in written and recorded form.
Look at the “box system”* for makam explanation.
Analyze the similarities and differences between a makam and a scale.
Attempt an improvisation or composition in a makam.
At the end of the course you will have a small songbook of the makams we learned, containing all the examples of the musical phrases covered. Muhittin Kemal’s pedagogy attempts to avoid categorizing things as wrong, but rather focuses on discovering what a makam is saying. This course is for students who do not necessarily have any previous knowledge of makam, but have an instrument that can produce the microtones present in this system.
*The “box system” is a simple graphic that highlights the essential parts of a makam. It was developed by instructor Muhittin Kemal during his lectures as a docent at the University of Popular Music in Mannheim.