Ajam (maqam)

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Characteristic trichord of maqam ajam on B flat

‘Ajam (Turkish: Acem) is the name of a maqam (musical mode) in Arabic, Turkish, and related systems of music. Ajam (عجم) in this usage means "Persian."

The maqam Ajam is constructed of two Ajam trichords with "whole step-whole step" pitch intervals and spacing similar to the 1-2-3 (or 5-6-7) scale degrees found in an equal-tempered Western major scale (although the Ajam trichord's third scale degree may be tuned just slightly flat of an equal-tempered third). Because most uses of these Ajam trichords place the next (fourth) scale step a halfstep above the last (third) scale step of the Ajam trichord, the result is essentially the same as the "wholestep-wholestep-halfstep" tetrachord construction of the Western major scale, and thus the maqam Ajam sounds generally the same as the major scale in Western music.

On F (notated C in Turkish music), Ajam is known as Jaharkah (in Turkish: Çârgâh).

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