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Posts: 1,451
Reply with quote  #1 
I'm curious as to whether or not anyone else has heard a similar story about the origins of Rag Yaman ...

I was listening to an interview on BBC this morning, where the author Amir Chaudhuri was being interviewed about his latest book "The Immortals", where music and musicians figure prominently (he's also an amateur musician). At some point he mentioned Rag Yaman, saying that it was invented by ... of course ... Amir Kushrow (1253–1325), apparently calling it "Yaman" because he first learned and memorized the basic melody when he was traveling in ... Yemen!

It's a charming "just so" story, but of course very likely false as other sources I've read say that it's not at all an ancient raga but a relatively "recent" one going back to the 16th century, apparently mentioned as a favorite melody of the Arabs (but nothing is mentioned of Yemen). (interesting that 16th century qualifies as "recent"!)

About Amir Chaudhuri ...


About Amit Kushrow ...

(I said ... "of course" ... above because so much is (mis)attributed to him, including the invention of the Sitar and the tabla!)


My opinion given without any warranties, expressed or implied, that it's even relevant. It would be folly to rely on my opinion without seeking more professional tabla advice. If you are suffering from a tabla condition, seek immediate attention.

Senior Member
Posts: 464
Reply with quote  #2 
I once saw a video with Ustad Vilayat Khan telling Yaman comes from the word Aman which in turn comes from ‘Amen’ after a prayer. If I could only locate that video again.
David Russell Watson

Senior Member
Posts: 362
Reply with quote  #3 
Both the Yemen and Amen etymologies are examples of what's called "look-alike linguistics".

That's when an etymological connection is assumed on no other basis than a superficial similarity between two words, and what seems to the inventor like a plausible semantic connection. Such etymologies are a dime a dozen, and everybody's uncle seems to have one, lol.

Yaman is a variation of the Arabic name Iman, by which name the rag is also sometimes known.

jaan e kharabat

Posts: 1,401
Reply with quote  #4 
Also, the name of the country Yemen is pronounced yaman in the Asia.
If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?
yaniv oud

Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #5 
i woudln't know about this topic too much, all i came to say is that there is nothing similar to raag yaman in yemeni or arabic maqam music.

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Posts: 425
Reply with quote  #6 
As soon as the name Amir Kushrow comes into the equation I become VERY suspicious....
That guy has been credited for every invention in ICM: from the invention of the sitar, tabla... to the espressomachine....

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