Learn About Makam

Age: High school / Adults. All instrumentalists, vocalists, and avid music listeners welcome.

Cost: Fall or Spring Semester: $277 ($257 tuition + $20 registration fee)

Are you curious about makam and music from Turkey, the Balkans, Greece, the Arab world, or modern-day Iran?

Makam-based music is every bit as diverse and engaging as Western classical music and its various related folk and popular styles. This class will help you become an engaged and knowledgeable listener and performer of makam music and bring some of this perspective to your other musical endeavors.

You’ll learn the mechanics of makam (how it works and how it is different from Western music), development of taksim (improvisation), analysis of repertoire, makam aesthetics (how to listen to makam music), and performance practice.

Turkish makam is quite accessible for Western learners because of how codified and well documented the tradition is, so this will be our starting point. Whenever possible, I will provide context within the other makam traditions I know of so you can apply what you have learned in your listening and playing of other makam-based music.

After each class there will be a short “jam session” for those who can stay later to play through previous material and experiment with new material. Between classes, I will upload to our shared folder online a list of recordings to listen to and sheet music for those who wish to play and learn the pieces on their own. There will be regular performance opportunities throughout the year for those who are interested.

Note: All instrumentalists, vocalists, and avid music listeners are welcome. If you play an instrument that is incapable of performing pitches in between standard Western pitches (such as piano or guitar), you can sing or I can offer suggestions of some alternative instruments at low cost to you that will be able to perform these pitches.


From faculty member Tev Stevig:

Over the past 20 years, I have had many fantastic experiences with various makam traditions. During the pandemic I was able to study with some of the masters of this music to broaden my knowledge. I have been an active member of the Boston music scene since 1998. My journey with modal and makam influenced music started in 2002 when I began playing music from the Balkans for the local folk dance community. I have since studied Turkish makam music with Ross Daly, Murat Aydemir, and Haris Lambrakis; Persian music with Yasamin Shahhosseini; Anatolian folk music with Cihan Turkoğlu and Efrén Lopez; Greek music with Vasilis Kostas, Christos Zotos, and Giorgos Xylouris; Hindustani music with George Ruckert; and Afghan music with Efrén Lopez. I now have quite a bit of experience both learning about makam-based music from these teachers, performing this music, and teaching workshops on my own and through Powers Music School in Belmont. I also was recently invited to be a member of the Labyrinth Ensemble, a modal music orchestra in Toronto dedicated to performing makam-based music, including but not limited to the Turkish, Arabic, and Persian traditions.

Still have questions?

Schedule: Mondays 8:00 - 9:00 PM

Location: 160 Lexington - Room 203


Dates: Jan 30 - May 22