Two Azerbaijan musical theorists take a leading place
in history of the Middle East music. These worldwide scientists mostly
affected development of theory and practice of the eastern music. They
are: Safiaddin-Abdulmoumin ibn-Yusif-al Urmavi (from Urmiya) - XIII
century; and Abdulgadir Maraghi (from Maragha) - XIV century.
Azerbaijan scientist-musicologist Navvab Mir Mohsin was
the son of Haji Seid Ahmad Garabaghi from Shusha (XIX century). He spoke
about the Middle Eastern music in his booklet "Vizuhul-Argam"
(Interpretation of musical terms). In his book he proceeded from the
works of the above two scholars. All these works (a part of them were
translated into European languages) reveal that Middle Eastern musical
culture reached its peak in XIV century. It proudly dominated as a twelve-columned,
six-towered "building". From this building one could view
all four directions of the world: from Andalusia to China and from Africa
to the Caucasus. The following scholars, philosophers, and "architects"
erected this "palace of musical culture":
Abu Nasr Farabi - a man of encyclopedic knowledge and
expert in ancient Greek musical theory;
Abu-Ali ibn-Sina, a great philosopher and scientist known
in Europe as Avicenna;
` Al-Kindi, and others.
It seemed the "construction" to be strongly balanced. 12 columns
supporting "the palace of music" were represented by 12 essential
Six towers were represented by 6 avazats.
They were the following:
Socio-economic and political changes at the end of the
XIV century affected this luxurious palace of music". The fatal
cracks appeared in the walls finally doomed it to death, columns and
towers of this "palace" tumbled down, and the "palace
Peoples of the Middle East used the valuable "debris"
of this collapsed "palace of music". They erected their own
"temple of music", in a style peculiar to that people only,
using own "mode construction" material. Naturally, the names
of 12 classic mugams, as well as the mugams themselves, were subjected
to great perturbations. Those once considered as independent mugams,
turned into the sections of those mugams. And on the contrary, those
that once were sections, turned into independent mugams. In this way,
the names of one and the same mugams and their sections started to denote
quite different notions at various peoples. The only mugam that could
stand against the crushing influences of time and events was "Rast".
Foundations of this mugam are so firm and logical that they fully deserve
and justify the name and the meaning of "Rast". The word "rast"
means "straight", "right", "true". Ancient
musicologists called "Rast" mother of all mugams. The mugam
"Rast" has retained up to now not only its name and the structure
of its scale, but the pitch of its tonic, as well.
Amongst all the Middle Eastern peoples the mugam "Rast"
has one structure, and one pitch of tonic. This tonic is sol of minor
octave. The following comparison shows that the tone we call sol of
minor octave, referred to the pitch of the "Rast" mode even
in antiquity. So, Arabian - Iranian and European musicologists assert
that according to the ancient Greeks, 7 tones invented by Pythagoras
correspond to 7 celestial bodies.
Here is a list of the seven tones:
In Arabic and Iranian
1. mi - Moon
2. fa - Mercury
3. sol - Venus
4. la - Sun
5. si - Mars
6. do - Jupiter
7. re - Saturn
Azerbaijani folk music passed a long way of evolution up to the moment.
Due to the most favourable conditions it reached the peak of its flourishing.
Scientific and theoretical analysis of Azerbaijan folk music, tasnifs,
diringas, rhapsodies, dance tunes, and others show that Azerbaijani
musical art is based on a strict and harmonious system. And all the
scientific and theoretical provisions of Azerbaijani folk music proceed
from this system.