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Maqam Ensemble | Summer 2022

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Course Information

Louai Alhenawi pictured with his ney flute

Maqam Workshop – One day

Save the date! Our Maqam workshop is back on 20th June.

Learn to play this Middle Eastern music, based of the melodic concept of maqam

The FOUR-day course (please note there will be no session on the Thursday) will cover the principles of improvisation, Introduction to Middle Eastern music Maqams (modulations), Arabic music forms and selected pieces from the Arabic music repertoire.

When: Mon 20, Tue 21, Wed 22 and Fri 24 June, 18:30-21:00 BST

Where: Room 4429 (except Weds which is in L67) at SOAS

Delivery: in-person

Level: All instruments and levels welcome


The musical heritage spread from North Africa to Central Asia, generally referred to as “maqām”, unites the region, regardless of territorial, linguistic and religious differences. Iranian and Arab music traditions have long been two of the most important pillars of this vast shared culture, always keeping in time with the present while rooted in the past. 


Course Code

Maqam Summer 22

Course Leader

Louai Alhenawi
Course Description


The course will introduce

  • maqam theory and scales
  • typical rhythms
  • ensemble pieces arranged for the group


The course aims to familiarise participants with the basics of maqām through engaging them actively in music practice. Each session starts with a brief theoretical/historical introduction accompanied by audiovisual examples, and continues with music-making. The lessons involve both instrumental and vocal music. A broad range of instruments can be employed to join the course, namely all the instruments of the maqām-based traditions, the western instruments with flexible pitch as well as every percussion. Following a line of gradual development, participants will gain a general understanding of the world of maqām and be able to perform or accompany a couple of well-known pieces of the Iranian and Arab repertoires by the end of the course.


Meet your teacher

With Louai Alhenawi, a Syrian-born performer, teacher and composer. He specializes in the ney (Arabic flute), Arabic percussion (dabuka, daff and riqq) and Middle Eastern music. Louai studied at the eminent Damascus Conservatoire, where he also spent a year teaching, and held the position of ney soloist in the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and the National Arabic Orchestra. Since moving to the UK in 2002 Louai has been directing Middle Eastern music and percussion workshops for all age groups and in a variety of settings, promoting Arabic music and culture in an accessible and enjoyable way. 

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Maqam Workshop – One day