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


Makam in Classical Turkish Music is a concept that is regarded as the basis for the production of melodies and their relationship to pitch. Makam performs a similar function for pitch as usul does for rhythm and tempo. Makams in the tradition of Edgar are considered and explained in categories such as cins (kind), şube (branch), avaze (voice), and terkib (synthesis).

In the tradition of Evdvar, which was known as "Sistemci Okul" (the school loyal to the system), 12 makams, 6 avazes (later 7), 4 şubes and 24 terkibs (later 48) were taken as the basis. Then afterwards some having said "there is no end to the terkibs", flexibility was developed for the new pitch organisations that would be obtained by unifiying different layers and types of makams.

The numbers expressed within the musical culture of the Ottoman age were said to be related to the components of the universe. For instance, the 12 makams correspond to the 12 signs of the zodiac, the 4 şubes correspond to the 4 components; fire, water, air and earth; the 6 avazes (later increased to 7) correspond to the 6 stars (later 7); and the 24 terkibs (later 48, and eventually counted as endless) correspond to the 24 hours in a day.

The subject of makams and usuls was investigating in detail, starting from Farabi (Xth century), and in the Edvars written by some authors like İbn-i Sina (Xıth century), Safiyüddin Urmevi (Xlllth century), Maragalı Abdülkadir (XIVth century), Kutbettin Şirazi (XIVth century), Ladikli Mehmet Çelebi (XVth century), Kırşehirli Yusuf (XVth century), Hızır bin Abdullah (XVth century), Bedr-i Dilşad (XVth century), Seydi (XVth century), Ahmedoğlu Şükrullah (XVth century), Abdülkadir's son Abdülaziz (XVlth century), Ali Ufki (XVlth century), Abdülhamid el-Ladiki (XVllth century), Nayi Osman Dede (XVllth century), Kantemiroğlu (XVllth century), Abdülbaki Nasır Dede (XVlllth century), Hızır Ağa (XVlllth century), Muallim İsmail Hakkı Bey (XIXth century), Haşim Bey (XIXth century), Emin Ağa the notist (XIXth century).

Approaching the twentieth century, in order to establish a scientific basis and to provide implementations in harmony, Rauf Yekta put forward a new conception on the theory on Turkish music. The observations of Rauf Yekta were reconsidered by Hüseyin Sadettin Arel and Dr. Subhi Z. Ezgi with criticisms and amendments, and through the contributions of Salih Murad Uzdilek the physicist. Attempts were made to broaden these conceptions in the shape the theory of Arel-Ezgi-Uzdilek. Despite the objections of the musicians loyal to the tradition, disputes over this theory and the attempt to make it an official interpretation with the support of various organisations, have continued up to this day.