I began my research by looking at the question
How can elements of jazz and maqamat be deeply merged to create new hybrid musical outcomes?
I have answered this question through various examples in artistic music research, new compositions and music projects with various of musicians from different music backgrounds.
My other questions were:
- How does including Arabic maqam within a jazz context affect my composition process and the musical outcomes?
- How can musicians from different traditions learn from each-other and in which ways can this affect their musicianship?
- What are the distinctive differences between maqam and jazz improvisation and what are the effects of combining them?
- How can you teach maqamat to jazz musicians and jazz harmony to maqamat musicians?
- How did this journey affect me?
- How can I apply these lessons learned within the context of my teaching?
During my research I was able to answer most of these questions and I want to recap on the main discoveries; the need to listen attentively, to be open minded and be creative to find ways for different instruments to play together styles of music not originally created for their instrument. This is the key to develop a new music style: to know the cultures of the music, the roots, the meanings, the traditions and the structure. You need to become so familiar with the “new” music so you can merge it with your own music style. There are still questions that need to be answered in more depth, this requires further research.
During my three years in the master global music program, I was exposed to an array of new types of music, cultures, places and people. These experiences enabled me to develop new music termed by Schippers (2006) as a new identity; importing and transforming rich sounds, motifs and melodies. Perhaps more important, I discovered more about my own sound and identity. I came to study global music, and I found myself and my personal sound. Through my story and my identity, I discovered the music that runs in my veins. As Jim Dous Hjernoe, the vocal painting choir developer in Aarhus said- “you are the music” it doesn’t matter what instrument you play, if you sing, play or move, you are the music. As musicians we have the music inside of us. And it's amazing that by learning, singing and playing music completely different to my identity or religion, it actually strengthened my own music. “the deeper you go into an art the more you learn about yourself and about living” (Marsalis, 204, xix)
It’s interesting to see the influences from different countries and the development of each style of music. Arabic and jazz music have both developed over the years and been influenced during this time by a variety of music. I found an interesting geographic meeting point between styles is Spain: Latin and afro Cuban rhythms have some roots in Spain, and the Andalusia music was developed in Spain during the Islamic era.
After completing my research, I feel that today with more and more collaboration between orchestras and ensembles from different cultures and more stress being put on globalized music education, there is hope to improve understanding between cultures. More people advance along the spectrum from being monocultural to accepting other types of music from other cultures becoming multicultural, intercultural and eventually transcultural. There is also an added advantage when you learn about other cultures you also learn about yourself.
Today jazz is seen as one genre and Arabic music is another. Many traditionalists want to keep each genre separate, For example, there are jazz schools which only deal with traditional American jazz and not the influences and diversity within jazz today. But almost no music is pure. It is a process and changes according to the instruments played and the influences from the surrounding cultures. With jazz and maqam, the discerning listener can identify when the jazz song is influenced by Arabic music and when Arabic music is influenced by jazz. But maybe in the near future, there will be one style, a hybrid. that combines maqam and jazz. A growing number of musicians and bands are experimenting and combining these two genres, but today you can discern a blend where one style doesn't over power the other. The ability to be bi-musical is reflected in the music of this new blend.
Through my studies and research I realized the need for additional pedagogical methods for developing the hybrid style in the future. I therefore, in the future, plan to form an academic course that combines the jazz approaches and the maqamat so the musicians can develop these styles and merge them together in their music through a deeper understanding of the musical cultures and the adaptation of their instrument to the different style and genre of music.