It is impossible to imagine any culture without music. Ever since the life has begun in these lands, music was an essential part of the lifestyle. An ancient finding “Gawal dash” is the best proof of that. Thus, nowadays music plays a crucial role in Azerbaijani culture. Being the place where east meets west makes Azerbaijani music unique, as it contains genres such as folklore, classical, jazz, pop and so on.
Although the majority of genres have changed nowadays and became modern, folklore music is still demonstrating the traditional motives. One of the most famous genres is Mugham called pearl of Azerbaijani music. Mugham is a type of folklore music performed by mainly 3 instruments – kamancha, tar, and gaval. The person who holds gaval is also a singer.
Mugham has seven modes that give different expression to listeners as: “Shur”- funny, lyrical; “Rast” – cheerfulness and courage; “Chargah” – excitement and passion; “Shushter” – a deep sadness; “Bayati-Shiraz” – sadness; “Humayun” – a feeling of deep sorrow, "Seigah" - a feeling of love.
Being a precious piece of Azerbaijani culture, UNESCO considered mugham as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Many Azerbaijani composers have marvelous works connected to mugham. One of those was Uzeyir Hajibeyov who is known as the father of Azerbaijani music. He combined uniqueness of traditional mugham with the classical music in his works. Moreover, Fikrat Amirov was another great compositor who created symphonic mugham for the first time in the history.
Besides the compositor, folk singers have given life to traditional folk music by their spectacular performance. The most eminent mugham master is Alim Gasimov, who introduced Azerbaijani mugham to the world. Unifying mugham with the modern music genres in his performances is the aspect makes his style different.
International Mugham Center is the main place hosts mugham concerts and festivals. It is a 3-storey building with an astonishing architecture. Likewise, the most worth seeing aspect of the building is its design that shapes a tar (a traditional instrument used in playing mugham). Additionally, the center has a restaurant, club, record studios, as well as study halls for youngsters. Apart from that, the center contains a museum, where national music instruments are demonstrated. Besides the concerts and festivals, special mugham evenings are organized in the center as well.