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Middle Eastern Choir & Music Theory

Elias Bachoura
© Marc Gysens

This course is taught in French.

Are you a musician (amateur or professional) ? Do you like to sing and would you like to discover Middle-Eastern music or acquire a better knowledge ? Than this course is meant for you !

The goal of this course is to unveil the mysteries surrounding oriental music. You will learn to understand and master the music in an intuitive way. While studying the repertoires of eastern music (Syriac, Syrian, Turkish, Egyptian, ... ) you will also learn to read music , study singing and get to know about key signatures.

The educational programme extends over two year and covers six musical genres that are dealt with in detail.

1. Syriac music : There is a vast repertoire of songs based on the very ancient Syriac catholic and orthodox churches. This is actually the original music shared by all the countries that claim descent from Mesopotamia.

2. Syrian music : Thanks to socio-cultural interactions among the various civilizations that Syria has known (Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Arabo-Andalucians and Ottomans) there exists an enormous variety in sound-colours and melodies. A particular feature of Syrian music is the influence of the Aleppo school, originating in the capital of northern Syria and also the presence of Mesopotamian song. We shall examine different traditional singing styles, including Al-Mouachah (the “Arabo-Andalucian” form), Al-Daur (“variation form”), Le Moil (“free improvization ad libitum”).

3. Turkish music : Throughout the Ottoman era the sultans were interested in sung music, above all for their traditional and religious festivals, but also just for their own amusement. The musicians therefore devised musical forms for dancing and for relaxation. (“Al Samai” : the instrumental form that resembles the rondo rhythm of 10/8, “Longa” : the instrumental form that resembles the rondo rhythm of 2/4) ...

4. Iraqi music : Iraqi music is essentially based on a modal and lyrical tradition. “Maquam” singing developed during the Abassid caliphate. Maquam singing follows precise rules that the singer must observe, such as the introduction,the texts, the additional words, improvization, scales and cadenzas, …

5. Egyptian music : Egyptian musicians (late 19th and early 20th centuries) freed themselves from Ottoman influence that had dominated the country for four centuries. They reawakened local Egyptian music. We are going to get to know their masterpieces, analyze them carefully and sing some songs by the great composers of the first half of the 20th century.

6. Andalucian Moroccan music : (Al-Nawba) This is a style of singing and composition in the form of suites that observe very precise modal sequences. Every Nawba carries the name of the modal sequence in which the song is written. For example, the Nawba of Al-Maya is entirely composed in the Maya mode.The origin of this art-form can be traced back to the time of Al-Andalus.

The teacher

Elias Bachoura studied the oud at the Damascus Conservatoire in his native Syria, as a pupil of the legend of the Iraqi oud, Munir Bachir and of the Azeri teacher Askar Alikbirof. After his arrival in Belgium he studied Western composition and orchestration in Brussels with professor Daniel Capellitti, as well as studying education at the IMEP with Michel Déom. He appears with Olla Vogala and also works with the Pandora Ensemble, performing mediaeval music. His dual musical background in both Eastern and Western music has made him a particularly critical and attentive musician who couples intelligence with sensitivity.


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If required, the teacher can make changes to the calendar, with the agreement of the students.


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Payment and conditions


Groupe 1 (2016-2018) : Tuesday from 18.30h to 20.00h.

Groupe 2 (2017-2019) : Thursday from 18.30h to 20.00h.

Come along to a free trial lesson on Thursday 21 September 2017 to meet the tutors and check out whether this ensemble is definitely for you.


MABO, Maria-Boodschaplyceum, Moutstraat 22, 1000 Brussel

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