When I started my attempts at making music around new year's I had a question on my mind: what makes certain music sound like that kind of music? Or, to be more specific, what makes Middle-eastern music sound Middle-eastern? Is it the instruments? Is it something else?
I googled, and googled, and found that there was something called a maqam[a]. It's an Arabic extension to the older Persian dastgah[b] system, which, in turn, is best described as a set of musical scales and connections between them. (Similar to the Indian ragas[c].) Could I make music sound Arabic or Persian by restricting the melody to these scales? I tried a little, but then got sidetracked into making a little application where I could explore these scales.
The result of that exploration is Maqam Machine. A step sequencer where you are restricted to the scales of the various maqam.
For more information (and to find out all the ways I'm hopelessly wrong), see: