BŪSALĪK,   mentioned in medieval treatises on music, notably in the Ketāb al-adwār of Ṣafī-al-Dīn Ormavī (d. 693/1294), as one of the maqāms of the Perso-Arabian musical system of the time. Its scale, within the range of an octave, was as shown in Chart 6 (Wright, 1978, p. 65).

It has remained a maqām in Arabian, Turkish, and Persian musical traditions to this day. As is often the case, however, the contemporary form of the maqām (mode) of Būsalīk differs from that which is given by the classical scholars. In Turkish music Būsalīk, or Puselik, defines a mode comparable to the aeolian of ecclesiastic modes, shown in Chart 7 (Reinhard, p. 74). :

The term is also used to define the note B (Signell, pp. 28-29). This form of the Būsalīk mode is corroborated by the findings of the Cairo Congress on Arab Music, 1932 (Wright, 1980, p. 523), which testifies to the close links between the theories and practices of Turkish and Arabian classical traditions to this day.

In contemporary Persian music, on the other hand, Būsalīk is a gūša in the dastgāh Navā. Its mode differs from the Arabo-Turkish Būsalīk in that the tone above the finalis is microtonally lowered. The scale of Būsalīk as known in the current tradition of Persian music is shown in Chart 8.

It is to be noted that the 5th above the finalis (F) acts as the starting (S) tone; the 4th above is the reciting (R) tone and also the note on which melodic pauses (P) occur. Būsalīk shows closer affinity to the dastgāh Šūr, yet it belongs to the structure of the dastgāh Nava and is not usually included in the dastgāh Šūr. The contempo­rary dastgāh system of Persian music abounds in such anomalies.


ʿAbd-al-Qāder b. Ḡaybī Ḥāfeẓ Marāḡī, Maqāṣed al-alḥān, ed. T. Bīneš, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965, index, s.v.

Idem, Jāmeʿ al-alḥān, ed. T. Bīneš, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987, index, s.v.

M. Maʿrūfī, Radīf-e haft dastgāh-e mūsīqī-e īrānī, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973, Navā 27.

K. and U. Reinhard, Turquie, Berlin, 1969.

K. L. Signell, Makam. Modal Practice in Turkish Art Music, Seattle, 1977.

O. Wright, The Modal System of Arab and Persian Music A.D. 1250-1300, Oxford, 1978.

Idem, “Arabian Music,” in The New Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, London, 1980.

Search terms:

 بوسلیک busalik bosalik bousalik

(Hormoz Farhat)

Originally Published: December 15, 1990

Last Updated: December 15, 1990

This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 6, p. 568

Cite this entry:

Hormoz Farhat, “BŪSALĪK,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, IV/6, p. 568, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/busalik (accessed on 30 December 2012).