Classical Music of the East

Course Title

Classical Music of the East

Course Code


Type of Course

 Compulsory, 4 hours/week (2 theory + 2 workshop)

Course level




ECTS Credits

 6 (3 + 3) 

Professor (-s)

Learning Outcomes

Basic knowledge of the history and evolution of the Great Eastern classical music traditions

Comprehension of their basic characteristics.

Application: the students will be able recognize music examples from these traditions.

Analysis of resemblances and differences of these traditions compared to Byzantine chanting and Greek popular music.

Evaluation of the important place Eastern classical traditions hold in contemporary ethnomusicology as well as their affinity to secular and sacred music idioms Greece and the Balkans.

Teaching Approach

Interactive presentation/lecture  supported by exercises of joint vocal interpretation and study examples, and the simultaneous use of teaching and acoustic aids as well as specific software for the hearing and analysis of acoustic examples.

Prerequisite Courses

Recommended Courses in the Curriculum

 Didactics of the Instrument - Performance VII
Introduction to Ethnomusicology
Theory of Traditional Music I - Performane I
Theory of Traditional Music II - Performance II
Western Art Music
Makam and Morphology I - Performance V
Makam and Morphology II - Performance VI
Music Cultures around the World
Elements of Byzantine Music - Chanting
Modality and Harmonization I - Performance III
Modality and Harmonization II - Performance IV

Course Content

Presentation of the main diversifying characteristics of Ottoman-Turkish, Arabic (Maghreb and Mashrek), Persian and Indian classical music traditions. History, modal systems, rhythmic systems, compositional and improvisational forms, instrumentarium. Focus on the Ottoman-Turkish classical and Sufi traditions for a detailed presentation.

Practice on the oral recognition ability of structural and morphological characteristics of acoustic examples of the above traditions. 

Recommended Bibliography

Skoulios, Μ. 2009, “Η θέση και η σημασία της έννοιας της κλίμακας στα ανατολικά τροπικά συστήματα στο Μουσική (και) Θεωρία”, Τετράδιο Νο 5, Εκδ. Τµήµατος Λαϊκής & Παραδοσιακής Μουσικής

Feldman, W.Z. 1996, Music of the Ottoman Court.: Makam, Composition and the Early Ottoman Instrumental Repertoire, Berlin: Verlag fur Wissenschaft und Bildung

Farhat, H. 1990, The Dastgah Concept in Persian Music, Cambridge Univ. Press

Bor, J. (ed.) 1999, The Raga Guide, Nimbus Records

Kaufmann, W. 1968, The Ragas of North India, Bloomington, Indiana Univ. Press

Marcus, S.L. 1989, Arab Music Theory in the Modern Period, Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles

Signell, K. 1986, Makam: Modal Practice in Turkish Art, Music New York: Da Capo

Touma, H.H. 1977, The Music of the Arabs, Portland: Amadeus Press

Zonis, E. 1973, Classical Persian Music. An introduction, Massaschusetts: Harvard Univ.Press

Skoulios, M. & Kokkonis, G. (2005) “Théories et pratiques modales de l’Orient: un itinéraire” στο De la Théorie à l’Art de l’Improvisation. (Ayari, M. éd.) Paris: Delatour

Skoulios, M. (2005) “The Musical Language, Greece: A comparative approach” στο Music in the Mediterranea, Modal classical traditionsVol.2 Theory and Practice (Feldman,W. & Guettat, M. & Kerbage, T. eds.). Thessaloniki: En Hordais

Learning Exercises

Teaching Methods

The course is based on tripartite teaching with the participation of students, discussion and practice.

Criteria and methods of evaluation

Written exams at the end of the semester (separately for theory and workshop).The comprehension of the theory’s  basic elements is evaluated, as well as the ability to analyze acoustic examples

Teaching Language