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[Auditory arts] [Auditory arts] [Classical Turkish Art Music]


The Fasıl

It is formed by successively performing pieces composed in the same makam, in a certain order or in accordance with settled rules. In the fasıl that began with a"peşrev" or sometimes even before this with a"baş taksim", the first section with words was the "Birinci Beste". Later, a"kar" (if there is one) was sung, instead of the "Birinci Beste". However, it was recorded that, in earlier times, the "kars"were sung at the end. Afterwards, the order was ikinci beste or nakş; then ağır-semâî and songs. Songs were arranged according to tempo, from the slow to the fast. One or two taksims could be performed between the parts, and also a gazel might be sung. The last of the pieces with lyrics was the yürük-semâî. Finally, an oyun havası or a saz-semâîsi was played.

The Peşrev

The term peşrev, which means "going in front" in Persian, specifies the instrumental piece played at the beginning of the fasıl. Peşrevs, composed of sections called hane, and mülazimes performed after the hanes, were usually composed with large usuls like darb¬ı fetih, hafif, muhammes, devr-i kebir, or with small usuls like düyek.

Early peşrevs mostly had three hanes. In many peşrevs, the first hane was played as the mülazime. Starting from the seventeenth century, a section called "zeyl" was added between the second and third hanes, and later this section was counted as the third hane, and what had been the third hane was counted as the fourth hane.

Every peşrev is characterised by a makam's name. The first hane and the mülazime of the piece were composed in accordance with the characteristics of the course of the makam. In other hanes, intermezzos were placed between the `near' and the `far' makams.

The Kâr

Kar, meaning in Persian "work or work of art", is a large-scale form of musical piece with words. Kars, in fact, are pieces with a fairly unrestricted character. Lyrics are generally long. Most of the kars start with a terennüm. Being distinct from the lines of the poem, terennüms are the melodies modulated to meaningless words like ten te nen, te ne nen as well as to meaningful words like cânım, ömrüm, mîrim. In some pieces, other little verses were used for the text of the terennüms.

The terennüms are repeated after each line of the poem or after every couplet. Kars are generally divided into parts composed in different usuls. A terennüm or a nakarat is sung after each part. Among large pieces with lyrics, the kar represents the smallest category of compositions.

Didactic pieces, whose lines or couplets are composed in the makam where the name is mentioned within the line or couplets, are called kâr-ı nâtık" (the talking kâr). The Kâr-ı nâtık was not performed in a fasıl, but was composed to teach students the makams within a certain system.

The structure of kars acquired profundity and shape according to the understanding and imagination of the composer. One of the characteristics of Kar was for a kind of musical freedom to be achieved by using a variety of terennums to alleviate the restrictions that the lyrics imposed on the music.ln this way, the composer, while structuring his music, gained great freedom from the lyrics.

The Murabba

This Arabic name, whose meanings in the dictionary are "quartet", "four-edged" or "having four parts", came to be used in the phrase the "murabba beste" and finally changed to the term "beste" in the twentieth century. Murabbas, which were composed using two couplets of a gazel, might be with or without terennüms. In a murabba, the first, second and fourth lines of a poem were performed with the same musical phrase. In the third line, which was called "the meyan", modulations to other makams were made. Terennüms after the meyan in some murabbas were composed in a different way.

In a classical fasıl, two murabbas or a murabba and a nakış were performed. The first murabba of the two ("the birinci beste"), was mostly composed using a composite usul the zencir; and as for the second murabba, it was composed using usuls like hafif, muhammes or devr-i kebir.

The Nakış (Nakş)

The nakş, which was one of the old forms and composed mostly using the usul ‘lenk fahte’, has survived to today with the same name, and sometimes even with the same structure but otherwise with minor changes. Whereas the pieces composed using the usul of the semai are called the "Nakş Semai", the ones composed using the other usuls are called simply "Nakş". This form is later called the "nakış beste".

After the first and second lines are successively sung with different musical phrases, a long and quite ornamented terennüm follows. After the third line, which is the meyan, the fourth line is sung with the same musical phrase as that of the second line. Then, the terennüm is performed. The most significant feature that distinguishes the murabbas from the nakışs is that the terennüms come after two lines are performed in the nakışs.

The Ağır-semâi

The ağır semais were sung after the second beste or after the nakış, and were composed using either the usul `aksak semai' and the usul 'sengin semai'. Some ağır-semâıs were performed by the usuls'ağır aksak-semâî' or `ağır sengin-semâı'. Lyrics have two couplets. The first, second and fourth lines of a poem are performed playing the same musical phrase. The third line is called the meyan, for which specific makam modulations were madden terennüm comes after each line of the poem. The terennüm coming after the meyan may be composed differently.

Some ağır-semâıs are called nakış ağır-semâıs, in which the first and second lines are sung successively with different musical phrases and without having any terennüms. The meyan, again, is the third line for this type of musical piece. The musical phrases of the fourth line is usually the same as for the second line. Finally, the terennüm is repeated.

The Yürük-semâi

Singing yürük-semâi was a tradition only within fasıls in which large-scale pieces with lyrics were played, after the ağır-semâi; and within large fasıls in which songs were played as well, before the last saz semaii. It is always composed with the usul of the yürük-semâî. The usul (rhythm) rarely changes. It has is no difference from murabba and ağır-semâi, in terms of style. The feature distinguishing the yürük-semâî from the ağır-semâi is the usul.

Some yürük-semâîs are called nakış yürük¬semâıs, in which the first and second lines are sung successively with different musical phrases and without any terennüms. The meyan, again, is the third line for this type of musical piece. The musical phrases for the fourth line is usually the same as for the second line. Finally, the terennüm is repeated.

The Taksim

Being seen as a criterion of the mastery of various kinds of performance, the taksim, or more generally improvisation, had its periods of splendour in the past. Taksims are solo improvisations performed by instrumentalists.

The Taksim is a beautiful and delightful melody, not bound to the usul and beginning before everything else.

There are various types of taksims. The opening taksim, or the taksim of the prelude, is a taksim that opens the fasıl or that gives the dominant sound of the makam to the hanendes. The interlude taksim is performed by one or more instruments in the middle of the fasıl. Thus, the instrumentlist performs a solo and the members of the ensemble rest during this period. The geçiş taksimi is a taksim that is performed by one or more instruments in the middle of the concert to prepare the performers and audience for pieces in different makams. A geçiş taksimi does not end with the makam that it starts with, whereas the ara taksim does, even though it has various modulations in different makams. The son taksim (final taksim) today keeps a place only in Mevlevi music and is performed in ayins after the son (last) yürük semai. The Karşılıklı taksim or the taksim-i muhtelit is a taksim that more than one instruments play, in turn, making improvisations (this can also be an ara taksim or the geçiş taksim). The Fihrist taksim, is a long taksim played by only one instrument to show the characteristic course of a makam, starting from a makam and passing to the others in a certain order. The latter is not a component of the fasıl, but can be counted as an independent concert in itself. Tanburî Cemil Bey renewed and improved the forms of taksim. With him, the taksim form gained a structure that had at least four sections, named zemin, zaman, meyan and karar.

The Gazel

It is a vocal improvisation performed by a hanende. The gazel form, which was of great importance until the mid twentieth century, has almost disappeared today. Great masters of the gazel form developed, such as Hafız Sami, Hafız Osman, Hafız Kemal. The gazel itself was based on appending terennüms like of, aman, yâr ey to its beginning and end, together with improvised melodies composed using lyrics of at least two couplets.

The Şarkı (the Song)

The Şarkı (song), meaning belonging to the şark (the east), has been of importance since the eighth century and has become a beloved form, widespred up to this day. The şarkıs, always composed in accordance with the taste of their era, were mostly woven with the attractive melodies for an audience having little musical culture. Some great composers have also composed high quality and artistic songs as well as kars and murabbas. The şarkı genre, gained a great importance after Hacı Arif Bey (1831 -1885), who composed almost only şarkıs, and Classical Turkish music became largely a music of şarkıs. The Song is a literary form which became central to our literature through the effect of public art.Despite the fact that classical Ottoman poetry was based on the beyit (couplet), the form of the şarkı emerged through the compositions of poems written in quatrains.

Composed in various forms, Şarkıs could have single or multiple quatrains. Songs that had a single quatrains were named according to the number of lines (muhammes, having five lines; müseddes, having six lines). Classical şarkıs in general were composed of quatrains, though they might also have more or less lines. The lines of the poem are given special names. In a şarkı having four lines, the first line is composed with the characteristic introduction melody of the makam. Repeating every line in şarkıs is traditional. The first line is called "zemin". The second line is interwoven with the melody of both the makam and the song. This part is called the 'nakarat' of the şarkı. The third line, in which the modulation and extension of the makam are made, is called "Meyan", "Miyan" or "Miyanhane". The fourth line, is composed with the same melody as of the second line, and this part is the 'nakarat' of the şarkı. The lyric of this section is usually the same as in the second line.

The connection between the lines of the song is made by the instruments. In addition, the melodic parts which take place either at the beginning or at the end of the piece are called the "Şarkının Ara Nağmesi". Small usuls are usually used in şarkıs. It has been observed that in the past some large usuls were used in şarkıs.

The Saz-semâisi

The saz semaisi, which is played at the end of the fasıl, like the peşrev, is formed of the hanes and the mülazime. The first, second and third hanes of the saz semaisi, which mostly has four hanes, are composed using the usul of the aksak semai. The fourth hane utilised one of the usuls: the semai, the yürük semai or the sengin semai. There are saz semais in which two usuls are used together. Usuls like; the devr-i hindi, the devr-i turan, the curcuna, the aksak and the türk aksağı have been used in the fourth hane of some saz semais of the twentieth century.

In the early period, the saz semais, then called "the sazende semaisi", had three hanes, as the early peşrevs did; and all the hanes -which were later called "the yürük semai"- were composed using the usul of the semai with six beats.

The Oyun havası (the music for folk dances)

It is an instrumental piece that were composed for a show of dance and to accompany the dancers with agile melodies. The new styles like the sirto and longa, that came from the Balkans, were added to the oyun havasıs in the nineteenth century. These styles were called the "raksiye" or the "raks" in the past. The sirtos and longas, which generally had four hanes as the other instrumental pieces did, were composed using the usuls of the sofyan and the düyek.

"Tavşanca" and "köçekçe" were a kind of `oyun havasıs', the name being given to a dance display where the "tavşanca" was an accompaniment to female dancers ('tavşan' literally rabbit or hare) and the köçekçe was an accompaniment to male dancers ('köçek'¬-literally camel foal).