Munir Bashir was one of the most famous musicians in the Middle East during the 20th century and was considered to be the supreme master of the Arab maqamat scale system. He created different styles of the Arabian short scaled lute, the oud. He was one of the first Arabian instrumentalists known to Europe and America. Bashir’s music is distinguished by a novel style of improvisation that reflects his study of Indian and European tonal art in addition to oriental forms.
Despite not being an ethnic Arab, Munir played a big role in Arab culture throughout the 20th century. Born in Iraq, he had to deal with numerous disruptions of violent coup attempts and multiple wars that the country went through. He would eventually exile to Europe and become noticeble first in eastern nations such as Hungary and Bulgaria.