Ibrahim Maalouf plays a four-valve trumpet — most just have three. The extra valve, attached to the button a trumpeter pushes down, allows the Lebanese musician to play quarter-tones — the notes between notes that characterize Arabic “makams.”
"The makams are scales and modes with quarter-tones and three quarter-tones intervals," Maalouf says. "This is something that you cannot find in Occidental music."
Maalouf credits his father, the renowned Lebanese classical trumpeter Nassim Maalouf, with the innovation.
"This trumpet that he invented is really pure genius. He invented the only Arabic instrument in which you blow, that allows you to play all modes, all scales, in all the tonalities," Maalouf says. "This does not exist in Arabic music. It’s not only a trumpet that makes you play quarter-tones. He invented a way to blow in the instrument. He invented a new way to play the trumpet."…