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Modern Hungarian Maqam Update 2016

Dear My Friends,

The update of the became actual because the second album of our serial called Modern Hungarian Oriental Music is finished and released. The title of the CD is "Curse Ousting Music". The album is the continuation of the album called Modern Hungarian Maqam released in 2010. Both albums are attempts to recall and recreate ancient music in meditation via our intuitive channel. I was deeply inspired by the experiences I got on my spot researches in Far- and Middle-East. In the last few years I took part in several trips in Far-East and Central-Asia where I not only collected musical materials but also heard many concerts and all these confirmed my former suppositions that the music exists as an "ancient see of notes" behind the memory. We can have access to that by a slow initiation. The musical concept of the new album is not only blending different oriental music motives, which we can so often hear in the world music, much rather meditation and contemplation in our collectiv unconsciousness where the ancient music can be found, recalled and brought up. In this way using my intuitiv channel it is possible to find, recall and recreate the ancient music and playing them in a contemporary way. When foming the music I tried to use modern compositional ways to extend the Oriental modality to the Western cromaticism to build a bridge between the two cultures. Balázs Major's never heard rhythms were creates a fusion between East and West giving a new dimension to the pieces. The musical instruments I played on this album are the 24-string double neck lute, the 8-string fretless baritone guitar, the tanpura suggesting the actual tonal base and a less known indian bowed instrument the esraj. Balázs Major used the combination of two differently tuned udus and at some spots special cimbals creating a very original and exotic sounding setup which suitable to play Oriental and Western rhythms.

The recordings of the album started in 2013 first in solo then in duo with Balázs Major. The final character and the sound of the pieces has been formed to their present state by June of 2016.

The CD is available only by contacting my web sites.

I offer special thanks to Esztergom Város Önkormányzata, Etelka Romanek, Ferenc Birkés, András Deák, Dr. Attila Túróczi, Tamás Nagy, Mary Faith and everyone at John Pearse Strings, Katalin Németh, László Hutton, Tihamér Romanek, everyone at Quantec, and Bricasti Design. Special thanks to Lajos Máthé to share the invaluable research material of yugur and uighur music, Hannes Pikkat, Husniddin Atoev and Istvan Apli to support my Central-Asian trips, Isato Nakagawa for organizing my Japanese trip, Sockgoo Choi and Moyeon Kim for my Korean trip, and Zumrud Dadashzade and Lala Huseynova for my Azery trip. Zemfira Safarova, Saida Daukeyeva, Zumrud Dadashzade, and Lala Husejnova for the supremely rich Central-Asian musical source materials. Last but not least, to my old musician fellow Balázs Major, who was always my helpful partner in reexploring the empire of Oriental Musics.

At last but not least I would like to offer a special thank to my friend László Hutton photo artist's great work who created all my domestic CD's cover design. And a special thanks to my friend Tihamer Romanek who build me the 24 string double neck lute. This instrument became the sounding icon and trademark of the serial of Modern Hungarian Oriental Music serial.

Sándor Szabó

Vác, 2016. 14 July


Modern Hungarian Maqam Update 2014

In 2014, the Modern Hungarian Maqam website celebrated its fifth year, and in this period many interesting things happened in this topic, so the update was very necessary. First of all, I would like to thank all the website's visitors, and I hope that in the future we can provide you with even more exciting pieces of information.

Our website sees many visitors from all over the world, which is a great thing because most of them are initiated experts of the topic. Thanks to the internet, the most necessary information finds its destination. As a reminder, I mention that five years ago there was a very important question in my mind which inspired the Modern Hungarian Maqam web site: What music could our ancestors play 1000 - 1200 years ago? This question was raised after all there are almost no traces of the music from that age. By now, dozens of questions have been raised, and in order to answer them we have to find hidden sources. We can use such available sources like the culture of the relatives who speak similar language. Another available source is the culture of our ancestor's neighbours who lived near the ancient homeland. In this way, in the beginning some nations were revealed like the Uyghurs and later the Tsuvas, the Ugric people at the river Don in Russia, or the Central Asian Turk people. However, the most important hidden source is the mental/spiritual source sleeping deep inside our being and we can access it by intuition. The condition to reach this source is the constant activity in the topic, the contemplation, empathizing, and converting the discovered results into living experiences. This strange and special yet unofficial research was accelerated by the release of the CD album called Modern Hungarian Maqam in 2011. This album arrived in some Far-Eastern and Asian countries where the maqam is still a living and well-maintained tradition.

One of the main reasons for the popularity of this website is that the title of the Modern Hungarian Maqam album caught the attention of international musicologists and music experts who deal with Oriental music. Sometimes caught the attention because they did not understand and in other cases caught the attention because they did understand the initial intention of the project. Now I have the opportunity to clarify the exact meaning of Modern Hungarian Maqam. Each word is important because the content of this combination of words can be translated only in this "constellation". Modern, because the research and recall of a theorized ancient music culture occurs in the present time, Hungarian because it aims at an ancient musicality where Hungarians and their ancestors are involved, and Maqam, because this is one of the living Oriental music traditions which can be studied and can lead us back to the musicality of ancient times. It is important to achieve the right translation because the Islamic influence is not what we want to point out, but the origin which overtook that and shows a significantly broader universality. That is why all the Oriental music systems and forms rooted in the ancient musicality are equally important for the research; such as Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Persian, Arabic, and any other musical cultures impacted by any religions. In this sense, all my composed and produced music pieces in the Modern Hungarian Maqam project intend to provide a possible contemporary manifestation of an ancient Oriental musicality.

The Modern Hungarian Maqam website and the CD made a stir in another aspect as well. In the Eastern world, all events of music are transpierced and affected by the globalizing western culture. While young, well-trained people in the Oriental classical music want to play western music, they want to go west en masse to study western music and live in western countries, leaving behind their ancient still working culture. Some frustrated western people subconsciously turn to the East to find their way back to an ancient culture, to a timeless principle of life where humans lived in a perfect balance with nature and with their Godheads, and where the music was not only an art but it was a very important main element of life. And this inner intention somehow forces western people to East. The cause of this frustration of the eastern people is that the continuity of their ancient tradition has been broken and something else appeared in their world which does not fit to their mentality. This caused a big trauma in their individual and in their social life which affects their individual and collective consciousness. That is why they escape in panic to something else, to something new which they know almost nothing of that, they can see only its shiny and gorgeous surface.

As a result of the presence on the internet and live concerts, I was invitated to the IX. Shark Taronalari Music Festival, and to an international symposium for Oriental music, which was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan in August 2013. I was honored to introduce the results of my research for musicologists and other music experts in a lecture which included live performances of my modern Oriental music compositions.

During the festival and conference in Samarkand, several Asian TV stations and newspapers conducted interviews with me on the topic of ancient Hungarian music. A review can be read on the following website, which was written by Tariel Mammadov, editor-in-chief of the "Musiqi dunyasi" ("World of Music") magazine:

The experiences I had in Central Asia transported me to distant times. After that, the question which was raised five years ago can be stated as: What music did our ancestors play 3000 - 4000 years ago? From this, the Sumerian and Mesopotamian cultures come into focus.

Due to new results of this research, some deeper roots of the maqam culture as traditional court music came to light. Any ancient music traditions appearing in a given era has its antecedents; a direct and deeper source. The object of my continued research became the more ancient musicality which goes back to the beginnings of time. The phenomenon of music in its history shows several universal properties which are common throughout all the authentic music in the civilization of Earth. In the "prehistory" of music, it can be theorized that the human being was thinking in a different music and general paradigm, which significantly differed from the present models of thinking. My research is extended to the ancient music paradigm. The traces of the ancient paradigm can be found in our present world in the still-living Oriental music cultures.

The Oriental music paradigm is not solvable and cannot be understood without the cosmological aspects of music, so this additional research extends to this field, too.

In discussions with the Asian music experts, it was surprising for them that I started my research for the ancient Hungarian music by studying the maqams, but very soon it was obvious for them because this is the only currently extant culture which dates back to ancient times, and contains very universal properties. That is why the maqam proved to be an adequate starting point. They said something grabbed their attention in the Modern Hungarian Maqam project. That was the fact that while international music conferences are held for preserving and maintaining the Oriental music tradition, and in the meantime someone in Hungary is working hard on composing new Oriental music pieces in new Oriental principles and released them into the flow of the music of the World; thus reinforcing the presence of Oriental music. During my research, I arrived at a distant point in time when a more ancient pure universal musicality can be observed, compared to the national music cultures of later times. Therefore, it is practical to use the Modern Hungarian Oriental Music instead of Modern Hungarian Maqam. Consequently, we changed the title of the homepage to reflect this.

In this context, the definition of the word modern is extended. Every culture, similarly as a living being is born, grows up, and dies. However, its life is continuing in another form. It is possible to preserve a dying tradition and study it as a phenomenal by its cultural products. Probably Béla Bartók created the clearest example of a method for transmitting a dead tradition into a new culture. He recognized the agonizing state of the folk music tradition, and in its final hours he collected the music materials which were still available. Bartók collected everything and started to construe them. He disassembled and then reassembled and finally synthesized them into his new music. In this way, the old tradition was reborn in a new tradition. The same method can be used with the Oriental music traditions by analyzing its elements and building a new culture by keeping the universal properties of the Oriental tradition and introducing them into the modern contemporary music world. In this way, it is possible to indicate a new direction by using a new title as Modern Oriental Music or New Oriental Music. In this combination of words, Oriental can take on a very broad meaning, because it includes all the properties which originate from different Eastern music cultures, and contains all the principles which makes the Oriental music so typical. This idea can project a new Oriental music phenomena; at first as a new music style, then later a new and rich Oriental music tradition. This process has already begun, due to the phenomena of the now so popular world music.

Based on the discoveries of the past five years, the content of this website has been augmented and refined. The title Conception of the Hungarian Maqam is changed to Conception of the Hungarian Oriental Music. This was necessary to avoid misunderstandings.

The number of listenable music samples has increased. These pieces were composed over the past two to three years.

I would like to thank my Estonian friend Hannes Pikkat for introducing me to the following musicologist colleagues who helped my work with priceless source materials:

Zumrud Dadashzade , professor of the Music Academy of Baku/Azerbajan
Husniddin Atoev, uzbek musician, ethnomusicologist
Saida Daukeyeva, kazakh ethnomusicologist

- Sándor Szabó
Vác, Hungary
11. January 2014.