Skip Navigation Links

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


Usul in Classical Turkish Music is a concept that organises time as a basis for musical pieces. Usul consists of beats having different values and stress in terms of long and short.
It is possible to mention a specific rhythmic template in usuls. From this point of view, usul always has priority in terms of enlivening melodies. The old masters always used to start and by having their students strike the usul of a piece. After the usul of the piece was thoroughly grasped, the students would be ready to play the melody and makam.

The tradition of usul was the essence of meşk, based as it was on memory and the transmission of memory. In the old edvars, it has been observed that the usuls were treated as important and expressed by syllables like ten, nen, te, ne, in common usul templates peculiar to their time. Other kinds of usul were expressed with the syllables `düm' and `tek'.

Today, Usuls with up to 15 beats are called "küçük usul (small usuls)", and with more than 15 "Büyük usûller (large usuls)". When two large usuls are used together, this is called "Darbeyn".
Not all usuls that have survived, with various names like Nim Sofyan, Semai, Sofyan, Türk Aksağı, Yürük Semai, Devr-i Hindi, Düyek, Aksak, Aksak Semai, Curcuna Tek Vuruş, Firenkçin, Nim Evsat, Devr-i Revan, Raksan, Çifte Düyek, Türki Darb, Fahte, Durak Evferi, Hezeç, Çenber, Evsat, Frengî Fer, Muhammes, Darb-ı Hüner, Sakil, Nim Zencir, Havi, Darb-ı Fetih are considered to be of the same antiquity. Some have been newly developed and named.