Music of the East meets the West: Üsküdar neighborhood, Istanbul

The Istanbul music scene is unparalleled. A wide range of genres, devices and vocal kinds come alive within the mixing pot of East and West. Every neighborhood has its personal fashion — a definite structure, vogue, spiritual expression, artwork and avenue life. Music performs a task in enlivening neighborhood tradition.

Üsküdar, a sprawling neighborhood on the Asian facet of Istanbul, has a definite taste for custom and preservation and highlights the extra conservative features of Turkish spiritual expression. On any given weekend, one can simply be overwhelmed by all of the scrumptious music to take heed to. It’s performed with the intention of evoking a way of divinity and unity, or generally, a deep reflection of the souls of the musicians.

On Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending two gatherings. Together with a music instructor in Üsküdar, by the identify of Hasan Kirish, well-known as a tambour participant, however nicely versed on any Turkish instrument put earlier than him. The tambur is a long-necked stringed instrument from Turkey, well-known for its origins within the Ottoman Empire, used to play courtroom music. The musician will need to have a really delicate ear to tell apart and play fastidiously across the microtones on the instrument. Not solely is the instrument advanced in look, however the sound additionally provides the sensation of the instrument flying. For creativeness’s sake, it’s nearer to the Indian sitar, besides that as a substitute of a better pitch than the sitar, the tanbar constantly resonates a base tone with its seven harmonic strings.

Hüseyin Kiriş in his studio in Üsküdar (Photograph: by Hüseyin Kiriş)

Hasan Kirish is consistently engaged on composition, and in Turkish music, composition could be very detailed and should all the time be written in particular varieties. For instance, Kiriş is working to create one the ceremony I piece that may final anyplace from half an hour to an hour is performed in the course of the conventional sema, a whirling dervish ceremony. The complication of related Not solely should Kirish observe a type that’s acceptable for the opening of a whirling dervish live performance, however in his case, he’s experimenting with a transition from one makkam (or musical mode) to a different that has by no means been accomplished earlier than. was Think about the concept of ​​two jazz scales which might be very completely different and dissonant, however that over the course of an hour, the musician will intricately and delicately change the trail of the music to result in its endpoint. That is the extent of element that exists in Turkish music. The information required to play, compose and improvise (known as enchancment), takes years of listening and apply.

One strategy to apply Turkish musicians is to affix meshk, one thing between a rehearsal and a live performance. In a meshk, a particular sequence of items is chosen for instance the makkam (musical mode), displaying its full vary of variations and moods. Generally a number of makkams are positioned side-by-side in a mesh, slowly and thoroughly transitioning from one musical mode to a different, as a composer may have to do in a protracted composition.

Aries not solely represents a time of musical examine, it additionally serves the aim of clarifying particular person and communal spirituality. Every music is spiritual in nature, and the lyrics are refined and profound. As such, A Meshka is a meditation on the subtleties of musical emotion for musicians (and listeners) and in addition a meditation on a sequence of poems that talk of divine love and human future.

Sheikh Isa Nesim Baba who hosts the weekly Friday Mesk on the Dargah of Sheikh Isa Nesim in Uskudar (Catherine Harib)

A really well-known composer within the Turkish Sema and Meshk custom is Yunus Emre, who composed 1000’s of Turkish Sufi songs. As a farmer and poet, his songs communicate of affection and the earth in a approach that all the time conveys the essence of transcendence and human-to-human love. In fact, we are able to solely know what’s in entrance of us, in order most poets do, they communicate of the mundane features of life to point out the feelings behind our atypical feelings. On this instance, Yunus Emre composed what might initially be learn as a love letter, solely to disclose a starvation for the depth of residing information: “My identify is Yunus, each passing day to my followers and my flame. wakes up, what I need in each worlds. It is the identical: you are what I would like, you are what I need.” Yunus Emre’s compositions may be present in nearly each Meshk, and with this instance, it’s clear that Meshk additionally intends to ignite the flame of his viewers.

Mesh kinds range significantly, normally reflecting the tradition of the group enjoying the music. A meshk is normally not hosted by a layperson, however at the least by an individual who’s both initiated right into a Sufi order or by his grasp. As such, the fashion of the mesh straight displays the kind of connection that the Sufi order seeks to instill in each its college students and its guests. For instance, if a grasp needs his college students to know the musical complexity of every musical mode, he’ll organize items of music to focus on modifications in every bit that may evoke refined inside feelings. One other grasp who appreciates the excessive vitality and communal facet of an Aries could select easy songs that many individuals can sing with out musical information, corresponding to easy people songs or lullabies. In every case, the one who arranges a mesh intentionally does so to evoke particular feelings within the musicians and members.

Every combine or composition is meant to deliver out or evoke an emotion within the music, the musicians and the viewers. As we all know, in a efficiency, the performer and the viewers mirror one another. If the musician is bored, the viewers shall be bored too. If musicians create an area of collaboration, friendship, and creativity, listeners may even be given the important thing to entry these emotions inside themselves.

About the author


Leave a Comment