Syriac Music on the trumpet.
How to play the quarter tone on the normal trumpet without any extra valves.
Six new musical modes (Maqams), in addition to the major and minor.
More than 72 new musical scales.
A short summary:
The trumpet has been with us for a very long time.
The military culture of early civilization utilized instruments for the purpose of conducting war. Specimens of ancient trumpet-type devices are documented in nearly every culture including those of the Ancient, Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, Teutonic Tribes, Celts, as well as Asian cultures. These instruments were used for religious ceremonial functions as military signaling device.
Throughout the Bible the trumpet served an important function as an instrument of communication and great fanfare.
In the new world, the trumpet has crossed into every corner of music, from classical to jazz to Latin to Balkan.
What is Syriac music?
The roots of Syriac music (the music of the Syriac Orthodox Church) go back to the rich and ancient musical traditionof the ancient Assyrian-Babylonian civilization in Mesopotamia. This music became through the centuries a basis for the main Middle-Eastern music scales used in the Middle East.
My message is addressed to three different kinds of people:
- People who are interested in music in general.
- European Trumpet players.
- Musicians from The Middle-East, to give them some ideas about how they can use the trumpet in their music.
Why could someone who lives in Europe be interested in Syriac music?
– For people who are interested in music in general, I can say:
Western society, especially the music researchers, have been always interested in Middle-Eastern music. Unfortunately, the majority has no idea about the music which existed before the Arabic period, nor about its dances, instruments, rhythms and playing techniques. Although they existed in two different periods of time, there are lots of similarities and cultural relations between the both. As Baroque and medieval musicians went back through books and studies to the technique of playing these tunes, this research will also be beneficial for the history of two societies.
– For the European Trumpet players.
Through my experience of Syriac music, and, more specifically, my efforts to master the quarter tone, I realized that my work to hear and play the quarter tones improved my intonation. A musician develops more acute listening skills when studying and playing the music that splits the octave into twenty-four increments instead of twelve, then it becomes much easier to play European music well.
Learning how to play different styles of music is a big challenge for every trumpet player. For example, most of the trumpet players who were trained to play classical music want to play jazz music or Latin music. There are a lot of methods to do that. To my knowledge, however, there are no accessible trumpet methods to teach players how to play the quarter tones. For this reason and for the reasons I list below, I believe a study of this music is a must.
- To introduce European trumpeters to Syriac music styles and structure.
- To show Assyrian and Middle-Eastern musicians especially the trumpet players how the normal trumpet can be used in their own music.
- To help European trumpeters develop acute listening skills through the study of quarter tones, so improving their intonation.
- To provide some ideas for trumpet players to improve their ability to play and perform contemporary music containing quarter tones.