DELKAŠ, an important modal unit (šāh gūša) linked to the dastgāh (q.v.) Māhūr, constituting one of its four main modulations, perhaps the most important in expressive function, which contrasts strongly with that of Māhūr itself. Delkaš differs from the initial mode of Māhūr by a displacement on the fifth, with a modulation in Šūr on G and a pause on F: (C, D, E,) F, G, Ap Bb, C, (D). Playing centers around G; the melody begins in the higher notes and then, after the sounding of an A, descends toward C in Māhūr. These developments can be fairly long and may consist of three or four distinct phases, including the melody (gūša) Ḥājī Ḥasanī (Maʿrūfī, p. 15). Although compositions entirely in Delkaš are very rare, the majority of compositions in Māhūr include passages in this mode. Delkaš is a well-codified gūša, and all its classical variants are quite homogeneous, though they lend themselves to improvisation nonetheless.

In Azeri classical music (During, pp. 115-17) the maqām (moqām) Delkaš occupies the same position in Māhūr and also in Rāst. Its modal structure is identical to that of its Persian counterpart, but the intervals and the melodic line are slightly different. Furthermore, it is often played as an independent moqām, free of any reference to Māhūr and associated with Šahnāz (on the same scale), with developments in Bayāt-e Kord on the fifth in the descending scale (transposed to C, with F as dominant): C, Bb, Ab, G, F, Eb, D, C, (Bb). The diagnostic motif is the initial jump C-F-C.

There is also a composite maqām known as Delkašīda, invented in the 19th century by Ottoman musicians but unrelated to those under the Persian and Azeri homonyms. Nevertheless, an Arabic form of this mode sometimes exhibits some affinities (d’Erlanger, pp. 124-25).

For a music sample, see Delkaš (1).

For a music sample, see Delkaš (2).


J. During, La musique tradi-tionnelle de l’Azerbayjan et la science des muqams, Baden-Baden, 1988.

Idem, La répertoire-modèle de la musique iranienne, Tehran, 1991.

R. d’Erlanger, La musique arabe V, Paris, 1949.

M. Maʿrūfī, Les systèmes de la musique traditionnelle iranienne (radif), Tehran, 1352 Š./1973.

M. T. Massoudieh (Masʿūdīya), Radif vocal de la musique iranienne, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978.

(Jean During)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 3, p. 251