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Author: Subject: The Turkish Oud Hiatus?
jdowning
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[*] posted on 11-11-2011 at 01:10 PM


Miniature paintings from the Ottoman period 16th to 18th C might also be of some assistance in determining those instruments that were employed in the courts - providing that the date and identification/ venue of the event depicted can be verified.

Here are a couple of examples found after a brief Internet search - but there must be many more.

The first image is dated 1720 and shows four female musicians playing long necked lute and tambourine as well as two other instruments - a double reed pipe (shawm in Western terminology) and end blown flutes ( or 'pan' pipes). The shawm is a pretty loud instrument used a lot in outdoor bands so this seems to be a bit of an odd collection of instruments.

The second image - date and provenance unknown - depicts part of an out-door event complete with a 'circus' of trained animals - so presumably not high art entertainment for the court?
Instruments in evidence are tambourines, Ney flutes, long neck lutes, bowed instruments, 'pan' flutes, and drums as well as a 'bamboo shaped' percussion instrument.

Does anyone have more information about these paintings or access to other images that may be of relevance?

Both images seem to be part of the book of miniatures Surmame-i Vehbi dated 1720 by artist miniature painter Levni and poet Vehbi. Manuscript MS 3593 in the Topkapi Palace Museum Library, Istanbul.
Miniature books Surname-i Hümayun or Imperial Festival Book were commissioned by the Ottoman Imperial family as a record of special festivities. Books of miniature paintings went out of fashion after Sultan Ahmed III - the so called 'Tulip' era.

ph-turkish-music.jpg - 49kB Surname_17b.jpg - 64kB
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[*] posted on 11-12-2011 at 12:21 PM


Apart from the high quality miniature paintings commissioned for the court by the Sultan, paintings for consumption of the general populace were produced by unknown artists operating in the market places - the so called 'Bazaar' paintings.

Here is a nice example - secular subject matter - showing a player of a long necked lute serenading a young lady (who does not seem to be very impressed!). Artist, location and date unknown (late 16th C?).

The search continues for representations of an oud.



000.jpg Bazaar Painter 17th C cropped (447 x 600).jpg - 59kB
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[*] posted on 11-13-2011 at 06:41 AM


Further evidence from a Western perspective about the apparent preference for the long necked lute in the Ottoman Turkish culture is the prejudicial comment made by Tinctoris when observing a group of 'Turkish' prisoners in Naples around the year 1480 singing accompanied by a long necked lute - songs that he found "so ugly and so dull that the only thing they succeeded in doing was showing how barbarous were those who sang them"! (It should be remembered of course that Tinctoris like Praetorius after him was not only making a political statement - the Ottomans and Europeans being at war with each other - but showing his distaste, like many of his contemporaries, for any music that was 'non European'.
Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that a version of the long necked lute (the Colascione) did subsequently enjoy a period of popularity in Italy during the 17th C and later - said to have been brought to Italy in its original form by Turkish prisoners!

I suppose if fretted instruments are preferred, the the long necked lute has the advantage over a short necked instrument in that it allows more frets to be tied on the neck (with practical spacing) so increasing the possible range of microtones available (not a problem, of course, for an unfretted oud). This would also have been an advantage of the Colascione for performance of Western music in attempting to achieve 'perfect' intonation of the European 'tempered' musical scales.

There was some discussion on this topic some time ago on the forum. See "The 17th C Turkish Saz?"


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[*] posted on 7-31-2015 at 07:54 AM


Hello
i take out this thread, reading a recent post about the issue of mapple bridge in turkish ouds.
I noticed also while trying different ours that the Turkish one have usually a lighter weight and more important I think a more flexible soundboard.
this seems coherent with picture of turkish oud bracing showing a very thin brace in the area between the bridge and the main rosette (the 2nd one I think to remember).
Don't you think this issues of wood type of the bridge and flexibility of the soundboard would explain more the difference of sound we can await of a turkish oud ?

Btw, thanks for all those historical points you bring, it was nice to read those again




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[*] posted on 7-31-2015 at 09:04 AM


Hello
i take out this thread, reading a recent post about the issue of mapple bridge in turkish ouds.
I noticed also while trying different ours that the Turkish one have usually a lighter weight and more important I think a more flexible soundboard.
this seems coherent with picture of turkish oud bracing showing a very thin brace in the area between the bridge and the main rosette (the 2nd one I think to remember).
Don't you think this issues of wood type of the bridge and flexibility of the soundboard would explain more the difference of sound we can await of a turkish oud ?

Btw, thanks for all those historical points you bring, it was nice to read those again




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[*] posted on 8-3-2015 at 04:16 AM


The wood type of the bridge and sound board flexibility would certainly be a factor in the acoustic response of a modern Turkish oud (compared to Arabic?). The history of the modern Turkish oud apparently only dates back to its relatively recent 'invention' by Manol at the beginning of the 20th C and we do not know if Manol based his design on old 'Turkish' oud traditions as none of the old instruments survive for comparison. Many modern oud makers likely do not follow any of the old traditions - if they knew what they were - so pretty well anything goes (which may be justified as today's concept of what sounds good may be quite different from earlier perceptions). The availablity of new string materials during the 20th C had a significant influence on the possibilities for changes in acoustic performance allowing something that would not previously work very well in the days of plaingut/silk strings. One example might be to allow use of heavy woods for bridges.

Ibn al-Tahhan writing in the 14th C says that oud bridges should not be made from or loaded with heavy materials - " As for the bridge, it should not be weighted by anything, and should not be made of ivory, ebony, gold or any precious thing because it makes the sound of the oud dull'. This makes sense as a heavy bridge requires more power from string vibration to set it, and hence the sound board, in motion to produce sound (i.e. what can be heard). All about the physical laws relating to change of momentum of a body.
This practice is found in the surviving, lightly built European lutes now centuries old, from the gut/silk string era, where bridge material is commonly found to be pear wood (specific gravity in the range 0.52 to 0.69) stained black and bridges are made as slender as possible to minimise overall weight (mass).

If modern Turkish oud makers are using Maple for bridges (what kind - there are about 125 species worldwide?) then this is likely a reasonable substitute for pearwood and may fall within the same range of specific gravity. Denser woods like tropical rosewoods or ebony may still work today through use of modern plastic and metal wound strings working at higher tensions than were possible with plain gut or silk.

Way off topic but interesting to consider nevertheless.
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[*] posted on 8-3-2015 at 10:42 AM


Always interesting to read moreover linked to historical sources
thanks for your input about




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[*] posted on 8-3-2015 at 11:02 AM


Always interesting to read moreover linked to historical sources
thanks for your input about




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[*] posted on 8-4-2015 at 12:46 AM


mehmet polat tells me that on the academy in Istanbul the baglama, that he used to play along with the oud, was frowned upon for being a folk instrument, maybe for being too anatolian. We 're talking about a very different time ofcourse, but maybe the oud wasn't liked at the Ottoman court for some time for social reasons? high versus low culture, or, as mentioned earlier, maybe too arabic?
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[*] posted on 8-4-2015 at 11:50 AM


It would seem that the preferred long necked 'lute' for performance of Turkish art music was and still is the tanbur or tanbur kebir türki (great Turkish tanbur) - with metal strings typically 104 cm in length. Long necked tanburs have been around since at least the 10th C but the style of tanbur used in modern times is said to have been established towards the end of the 17th C specifically for performance of art music according to the treatise Edvar-i musiki (Textbook of Music) written by Dimitrie Cantemir (1673 -1723). The attached image shows the original fretting arrangement set down by Cantemir.

I am not sure about the relative loudness of the large tanbur compared to the oud, baglama saz etc. but that may have had some influence where the sound of stringed instruments had to fill a large space and be heard in the palaces? I imagine the gut strung oud of that time was a relatively quiet instrument by comparison.
The particularly long neck of the tanbur was also suited for accommodation of the large number of microtone frets required for performance of the Turkish modal systems?

[file]36174[/file]
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[*] posted on 8-4-2015 at 04:21 PM


I am not an expert and I am not an oud player, but I am interested overall in Turkish music. So I will try to add my view to this discussion, if it is ok.

So I picked up some quotes and will comment on that. But before I do that, why do you have the conclusion of that the oud was banned from the court? I don't get it why you think that.



Quote: Originally posted by jdowning  
Could it be that Suleiman had no great interest in music as an art form particularly given that the overriding law of the empire was the Shari'ah law where the oud itself may have been banned and therefore excluded from the Ottoman court as well as in the Muslim society? If so did the oud only survive for the next two centuries among the non - Muslim societies that were tolerated and protected within the Ottoman empire as "people of the book"?

This is totally wrong, it is documented that Suleiman had his musicians in his court. See the attachments from I.H. Uzunçarşılı's essay (who was a famous historian).
When you see the word "avvâd" in brackets, that means that person was an oud player. (avvad is supposed to be the plural of oud player)

[file]36180[/file]

[file]36182[/file]

[file]36184[/file]


Quote: Originally posted by jdowning  
The exclusion of the oud in the Ottoman court may have been initiated by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent who, in strict accordance with Muslim law, banned wine drinking and dismissed the palace dancers and musicians, replaced silver plates with earthenware and ordered musical instruments set with gold and precious stones to be burned. Wine drinkers were discouraged from enjoying their habit by having molten lead poured down their throats! So Praetorius may have been more or less correct in his observations about the Ottoman court in Suleyman's reign. The fate of practicing musicians at this time is not known. Hopefully king Francis I musicians, on loan, were returned to France in one piece!

However, Sultan Selim II (1566 - 1574) on succeeding his father, repealed the alcohol drinking ban - draining his glass of wine he is said to have remarked that "I live for today, and think not of tomorrow".
It is not known at present if Selim II or his successors (who were also wine drinkers) had particular interests in music or, more specifically, the oud.


This is completely the wrong direction you go. Don't mix religion in this discussion because from what I know there is not a single Sultan who was against music or art. All Sultans were artists and until the republic all Sultans had their court musicians, and also their concubines. Most of these concubines were excellent musicians because they were taught to be one. Where do you get the information that he banned the palace musicians? Sources? It would also be nice to check for Turkish sources.

And also through history after Turks becamse muslims, there was not a single time when they thought music should be forbidden. This kind of thought only exists in some extreme muslim groups like the Wahabis.

The thing about Süleyman the Magnificent is, that he spent 10 years of his life on a horse. He was involved in more than 10 wars, the empire got bigger in his time. So compared to other Sultans he had not that much time to celebrate and enjoy the beauty of the life. He was a poet and a well educated man. Forbidding music is not something he would have done with that intellect.

Quote: Originally posted by jdowning  


Was it a matter of religious versus secular preference (or dogma)? Was the oud, for some reason, outlawed in the strict Muslim society of the Ottoman court of that time yet the Tanbur was not. If so, why? Did the oud have too strong a secular association?

Only questions at this point!

No, neither oud was outlawed nor it was a matter of religious versus secular thing.


Quote: Originally posted by ALAMI  
A nationalistic reason would be more logical, the oud being " less Turkish" and was widely used in Arab courts and probably Safavid court also. But the Kanun is also not exclusively Turkish.

May the absence of the oud from court ensembles was due to a practical reason: volume and loudness. Tanbur,yayli tanbur, ney and kanun are way louder than oud.
When I think of those huge rooms in Topkapi, filled with people, you need some volume.
I don't know, just a thought.

I am not sure if the Ottomans saw the Ud for being "less Turkish" because the Ottoman court also adapted very quickly violins in the 18th century. And also according to Turks, the oud is an Turkish instrument derived from the Kopuz.

Yaylı Tanbur was invented 1 century ago... It was never in the Turkish ensembles.

And tanbur is not louder than oud or it doesn't have more volume.


Quote: Originally posted by jdowning  
Thanks ALAMI

I understand that both the Ney and Tanbur did have sacred significance among some religious sects


Correct.


Quote: Originally posted by hans  
mehmet polat tells me that on the academy in Istanbul the baglama, that he used to play along with the oud, was frowned upon for being a folk instrument, maybe for being too anatolian. We 're talking about a very different time ofcourse, but maybe the oud wasn't liked at the Ottoman court for some time for social reasons? high versus low culture, or, as mentioned earlier, maybe too arabic?

It is true that the folk and the ottoman court had some differences. But the folk didn't know (mostly) makams, so they kept that kind of music style, which means with their known musical instruments. Whereas the Ottoman court music (Classical Turkish Music) is based on makams and for that you need instruments which have those microtonal capacities. It is also just a matter of culture. In every country there is a different music culture between the higher class and the lower class.
But oud was never considered as a "lower class" instrument from what I read. But it is true that it was not as popular as it was in the 16th century.

See:
https://www.academia.edu/3416456/Musical_Performance_at_the_Ottoman_...

"Regarding the number of its players which constitutes the largest group of court musicians (Uzunçarşılı, 1977:84-86), it is quite reasonable to argue that ud – the widespread short-necked lute – was the most popular instrument of classical music at the court in the sixteenth century. Its status did not differ much in the preceding centuries, and the records denote its existence throughout court history, except in the eighteenth
century (Soydaş 2007)."

In the 18th century the oud really was at its lowest peak and I checked Soydaş 2007 thesis, and there he says that he found 1 record only.


If you look from a wider perspective , you will see that there were like 20-40 different kind of instruments used in the Ottoman court. Many of them don't exist anymore today. Many of them were for a time very popular and then never used again like the Kopuz or the Çeng.

Trying to find reasons for that is not very healthy. Can you tell me why Jazz is not popular as it was in the 30s? What happened? Why is Classical Western Music not popular? It is how it is. Different eras bring different vibes and people tend to go after that popular thing.



Quote: Originally posted by jdowning  
It would seem that the preferred long necked 'lute' for performance of Turkish art music was and still is the tanbur or tanbur kebir türki (great Turkish tanbur) - with metal strings typically 104 cm in length. Long necked tanburs have been around since at least the 10th C but the style of tanbur used in modern times is said to have been established towards the end of the 17th C specifically for performance of art music according to the treatise Edvar-i musiki (Textbook of Music) written by Dimitrie Cantemir (1673 -1723). The attached image shows the original fretting arrangement set down by Cantemir.

I am not sure about the relative loudness of the large tanbur compared to the oud, baglama saz etc. but that may have had some influence where the sound of stringed instruments had to fill a large space and be heard in the palaces? I imagine the gut strung oud of that time was a relatively quiet instrument by comparison.
The particularly long neck of the tanbur was also suited for accommodation of the large number of microtone frets required for performance of the Turkish modal systems?



Yes, the tanbur is always the number 1 instrument in Turkish Makam Music (Classical Turkish music). Even the famous oud player Cinuçen Tanrıkorur says that "in a place where there is a tanbur, there is no need for the oud".

There is this myth, it is said that all oud luthiers tried to copy the mystical sound of the tanbur but they never succeeded.

The tanbur and the ney are the most important duo of Turkish religious music. So they were always the one of most favored ones.

It is also said that the tanbur is the "piano of Turkish music" because it has frets (so you can actually see the Turkish Music) and it has a range of 3 1/2 octave.

About the loudness.
Back at then all Turkish instruments such as the tanbur, ud, kanun etc. were quiter because of the used strings and the forms of the instruments (and modern quality). So at best, the oud and the tanbur had very similar loudness and volume.
Today it is very different. The tanbur is one of the most quiet instruments compared to the other instruments. You could have 10 tanburs and only 1 kanun, and the kanun would easily still dominate. And also the oud is much louder than the tanbur these days. See for example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iii7H1jdFoY

So the theory of that the oud was not that loud and that is why it wasn't that popular is very likely not true.


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[*] posted on 8-5-2015 at 12:03 PM


Thank you for your welcome input to this thread Divan Makam.

You should note that the topic is well over three years old until member suz_i_dil brought it back to light a few days ago. I likely have kept some of my original material somewhere on file but the references quoted from others are not readily at hand. Rest assured that I did not make them up! I do not read Turkish so all the quotes are from English speaking authors that I have taken at face value. Some, like the historical writings of Praetorius in the early 17th are predudiced against the Turks for both religious and political reasons so can be read with a 'pinch of salt' although there may be a grain of truth in them. No doubt Turkish historians will paint the picture from a more positive perspective but after 4 centuries it may often be difficult to separate fact from popular myth. In this thread I am just looking for informed information about the oud in the high art culture of the Ottoman Empire.

Apparently Suleiman the Great did play the oud (and other instruments?) but following the death of his wife and consort Roxelana (who was also a musician) in 1558 had all of his instruments destroyed and henceforth abstained from all pleasurable things in life until his death in 1566. True or false? - I have no way of knowing - but this may account for the claim that he banned music, song and dance from court? Praetorius tells us that Suleiman ordered destroyed the gift of a pipe organ from Francis 1 of France and sent the organists back home - as evidence that he had no taste for 'real' music!

Wasn't hans saying that it was the baglama (rather than the oud) that was frowned upon as a folk instrument?

What difference was there in the string materials between the 17th C Tanbur and the instrument of today. They were/are both strung with wire?

BTW why do you think that Jazz today is not as popular as it was in the 30's or that Western Classical music is not popular? Is that just a personal opinion?
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[*] posted on 8-5-2015 at 02:22 PM


Hello,

I didn't realize that this topic is that old. Sorry, my bad.

Excuse me if I offended you, I haven't implied that you made them up. Just your source is in any kind of form not reliable.
It is not that Praetorius is prejudiced, he is lying.

Things like this:


Quote:

He tells us that the religion of Islam forbade not only the liberal arts but anything that could make people happy including the music of strings.

...

The gift together with the accompanying French musicians were so well received according to Praetorius that people flocked to hear the delightful music - so that Suleiman - fearful that his people would become 'civilized' had the instrument destroyed and the musicians sent back to France!


This is ridiculous.
Clearly he tries to demonstrate how Islam is bad compared to the Christianity. Islam forbids anything that could make people happy? Oh, really?

If this "destoying" existed, surely french and turkish documents would prove it. As you know any kind of "meeting with the Sultan" is documented from both sides. And I really would like to see this source.

But what do you expect from someone that does this:

Quote:

He provides three pages in Volume II of his book illustrating 'barbaric' folk instruments including one showing Turkish drums but no other Turkish instruments - not a stringed instrument in sight.


Really, this has nothing to do with Turkish pride or nationalistic feelings from my side. You can't take Praetorius seriously.

I don't think there is a "grain of truth" as I never heard ever that music was somehow forbidden in the Ottoman time.

And Turkish historians won't paint the picture more positive. They will show the historical facts. Do you even know who Uzunçarşılı is? I didn't mention just a random historian, he was one of THE historians of modern Turkey. It is really an insult if you think that they paint the picture more positive, just because they don't share your views.

As I said, there are facts. Facts such as payroll documents. They are all documented. I gave you the list of the musicians during the time of Süleyman quoted from Uzunçarşılı. So you can see which musician was in the palaces and got how much money. If you are really looking for an informed information about the oud, and I think you do, then you must use Turkish sources. I give you the source of the sources, better and more reliable source than Uzunçarşılı doesn't exist.
https://www.academia.edu/6714530/Osmanl%C4%B1lar_Zaman%C4%B1nda_Sara...

His essay is titled "Music in the palaces during the Ottoman period".
It is in Turkish of course. He explains how the music life was, not particularly talking about the oud but in overall.

The other source, one of them is a dissertation thesis (M. Emin Soydaş ) sums all up for every instrument used in the palaces.

Yes, Hans was saying that the bağlama was frowned upon and I tried to explain the this is not necessarily true. I mean, it is for sure partly true but it is not like they tried to differ from the folk or something. As most of the oud or tanbur players start with the bağlama. So later on, when these musicians become classical ones, now suddenly they look down the bağlama? That doesn't sound right. And also the high class didn't live a kind of life where they tried to seperate them from the folk, like with intention.
It is just a different culture and atmosphere.
I mean, let's say you are in a rock band and you don't have a clarinet in your ensemble. Does this mean you frown upon it? Or do you think it has no place in your culture (in this example the rock culture)? It is like that.
Different music culture brings different sounds. And the sound of the folk is different than the classical sound.


How was the tanbur in the 17th century? I really don't know. I am not an expert, but I do know that all manufacturing information are well documented for all instruments according to Murat Bardakçı. But this kind of source materials are creme de la creme, I mean you really must be a high-grade scholar to have access to those documents. As it is their job to know how and where to find them. I assume they are definitely in the libraries but first you must live in Turkey, secondly you must know where to find them and thirdly you must be able to read Ottoman Turkish (in Arabic/Farsi script).

But I do know that in the 70s the manufacturing of tanbur changed. Such as the wood, the soundboard, the neck. For example the neck got thicker, or the form of the body changed a bit, or the veins of the wood of the soundboard. Or the neck is built only from 1 piece of wood, instead of 7 bond together. Or the used strings for the 3. and 4. Or in the old times they used gut strings for all, and also for the frets. And the old ones only have 7 strings for example, today it is 8.
But of course it depends on from which luthier you get your tanbur, as todays modern ones are I believe very traditional, so very close to the old tanburs. But 30-40 years ago the tanburs were more different. They changed even the mızrap's form (tanbur's plectrum). But I am not a luthier or an expert, I am not that interested to know it very detailed. I got my information from reading only.


Why do I think that Jazz or Classical Western is not as popular as it was? Only a personal opinion?

Personal opinion? I really don't think so, I think it is a clear fact.
Let's pick a country, anyone you want. Then let's look to the charts. Do you think in the top 100, you will find any Jazz songs there? Or classical ones? And if so, how many?

Who is the Nat King Cole of today? Can you give me a name?
What is the last Jazz song composed in the 2000s you remember?
Where is the Beethoven or Schubert of our time? Any names?

Nobody listens to the music of old era. Only people who lived in that time or people like us, who don't get fooled by repetitive music.

Why are they not popular?

Because people get glared, because people don't really understand music. They just live with that what is served to them.

Look at the women in the 80s. Look at their hairstyles, makeups, clothes. If I asked back at then, if they find themselves beautiful and if they think that "this is it", they would agree and would explain me the beauty of their look. But nobody looks like that today? Why? If it was that beautiful, why doesn't they look like that anymore? Because they never truely understood what beauty is, they just did that what "anybody" does. What is "in" and what the fashion industry dictates.

So the collective minds are ruled and controlled by the "bigs" that can influence mass of people. Like televisions, internet, industries, etc.
So they choose what is "good, beautiful" and what not and the collective minds, the mass of people, the mainstream, follows them. And Jazz and Classical Music is outdated. Not because they are not beautiful, but because in their minds they are not beautiful. Simply not relevant.

If people would understand music, they would see the brilliance and uniqueness and high art in such music. But they don't. Simply said they are not interested to know. I am not saying they can't understand or know, they just don't care and they follow the mainstream. Following the mainstream makes you feel better, as you find connections to other people, so you don't feel alone.

If some music businessmen wouldn't have introduced Justin Bieber as the next best thing, who would have know him?
Why did this businessmen choose him and not a Jazz musician?
Because they do what they think is the best for them. What is the best? The best thing is someone who generates a lot of money. The best thing is "cool". Something from "now", not yesterday. Skills and brilliance is not something they need necessarily. If so, any opera singer has a better voice then all pop musicians. But... who cares? They are not cool.

I could go on but I think you get the point.
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[*] posted on 8-5-2015 at 03:22 PM


Whatever!
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[*] posted on 8-6-2015 at 01:20 AM


Wow!
to be more precise, which seems very important in this thread: I did not mean that the baglama was frowned upon in past ages (which it may have been, but that was not my point). When playing the oud at the music academy in Istanbul my teacher used techniques from the baglama; this was not liked by his teachers because the baglama is a folk instrument and they found only high Ottoman art acceptable. So I gave this as an example of how an instrument may be rejected in elite circles, and therefore the oud may have been rejected for a while at the Ottoman court (which I don't know, but in case it was….).

Elitism and precise statements are important in this thread :-}. Divanmakam, if you think no one listens to classical music anymore, you should spend some time in northern Europe. Every better educated mature person here listens to classical music, and it is a huge industry as well; it frowns upon the show culture of pop music and therefore may not be as present and in your face as those who undress to get attention.
Many classical musicians here are immensely arrogant; for many of them to reject an instrument because it is not part of their elite culture is not a question for me, it is a matter of fact.

There may not be a mozart around nowadays, i.e. classical composers loved by the crowds, but there are many brilliant and succesful classical composers. The reason why the crowds don't know them is that classical music has driven so far away from entertainment music since the beginning of the 20th century that few people can appreciate it. Listen to galina ustvolskaya, who is a bit of a demi god here. On the other hand, I wonder if most classical composers who are now famous were working in very small circles in their own time.

Bilen Isiktas told me how frustrated he was when he studied musicology in Istanbul and most of the books he read were western. The Turks would read all the western books, and the Turkish, but the western books were the best; problem was that they mostly ignored the rest of the world, as if not much happened outside the west.

I agree with DivanMakam that if you want to study Turkish music history you will have to study Turkish books; it is time that they get translated into English!

Any westerner who wants to understand middle eastern frustration about western attitudes, I can highly recommend Destiny Disrupted, a world history through the eyes of the muslim world. It is a huge eye opener for westerners (Funny enough, I work in a rather conservative environment, and Holland right now is not known for it's tolerance toward islamic views, but whenever I mention this book everyone grabs a pen to write down the title, which has never happened before with any other book. apparently there is a void aching to be filled)
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[*] posted on 8-6-2015 at 05:50 AM


Hello,

ah, I slightly misunderstood your comparison but now I get it. Yeah, yes, that could have happened with the oud but as I tried to explain, it seems it never happened though (that the oud was rejected).

It is very likely that it went out of fashion (in the 18th century) but then did return strongly with the Fasıls.

As said, when we analyze the older centuries, there we will see that many different instruments were used. But lately they went out of fashion and they never did a return in the classical scene.


About the Classical Western Music: I actually live in the middle of it (hello from Deutschland) and my point still stands. This music is like the Classical Turkish Music: dying. But of course there is a difference in the dimensions as the Western one of course has a bigger audience, musicians and base.
I am a young person and a student. I live amongst the elite people of the future. Ask me how many people I met who listens to Western. Ask me how many Germans I met who could name me only 3 classical musicians. They know the cliche ones like Mozart and Beethoven, I never get to hear the third one though. But this is only from my life, so this is not a good example. Just I know all the scenes of the mainstreams. And Classical music is surely not one of them.
When I said no one listens anymore, I didn't mean it literally. Of course there is always a group of people in every society who listens to those elite stuff like Jazz, Western or Turkish, but this is the exception and is like a part of their elitism. Older generations still have a connection to Western here, but that's all.
The point that "every better educated person" listens to Western is in my opinion highly unlikely, as that would mean overall all universities would have their own ensembles, or at least from time to time concerts. I mean universities are the main places where educated people grow and I am not aware of such organizations. But I know that all universities have sports teams and other hobby teams, but classical music? I'd like to see examples of that. And I can go on and give you examples from my life.

But let's go back to a wider perspective.
You say it is a huge industry and this is true because the elites of Europe support them but this industry only creates imitators. All what is left from this culture are the virtuosos, in that matter this music is still strong. But this is just chewing the same gum over and over. Give me a city name in Europe, anywhere you want. Let's find their classical concerts for the next few months that will occur in that city. You will see that they all play over and over the same pieces. The 10000th time of playing Tchaikowski's Violin Concerto or the 10000th time performing one the Verdi's operas.
And if they play newer things or unknown things, how many attend to those concerts?
This is from Wikipedia:
Amount of recordings from 1907 to 2009 (Verdi's operas)



Do we need 261 different Aida recordings? Or how many times do they need to perform this opera live?
The same old s*it over and over. It is nothing wrong with that as long as you also create new things.

So I ask you again, where are the Menuhins, Haifetz, Oistrakhs of today (even though virtuoso culture is still strong)?
Composers?

You said I should listen to Galina Ustvolskaya. She is only 13 years younger than Shostakovich, do you really consider her from "our time"? Because I don't. She belongs to the last group of the ending era of Classical Western Music.

But if you do, can you give me one example piece which has the same perfectness as one of the Shostakovich's pieces?
I am not very familiar but I think she was a student of the great Shostakovich (one of the last true 1A composers).
Surely none of her pieces will outshine the second waltz of Shostakovich, but maybe something in the level of this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlBGtUQhGK4
?
Just interested to see as I am always open to newer things.



And yes, the West is very arrogant and ignorant when it comes to science and education or culture. I could write hundreds of things about this but this is not the right place.


Thank you all for this debate.
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[*] posted on 8-6-2015 at 06:57 AM


Ah you are already in Europe :-}. I don't agree with you about a dying culture. Entertainment has a huge pull on people and maybe classical culture is not as prevalent as it used to be; although I wonder how big the audiences actually were in the peak days, I have the feeling it was as much a question of cultural elite as it is now.

I am a bit surprised that you say the students around you can only name two composers. That was very different in my student days, and my daughter's boyfriend can easily name 10. I know of no universities with a sportsteam here; sounds rather american to me. I do know of students music ensembles. But I don't necessarily consider students the mature (and better educated) audience I was talking about. I agree with you that the audience will generally be much older; which is fine with me. At some point one must lose an interest in the mixture of music and sex, which doesn't make you old or outdated.

Classical music certainly has a much smaller audience than entertainment music, like all the arts. Although the visual arts have a huge audience nowadays compared to the days of van Gogh. And doesn't the fact that there is room for hundreds of recordings of Verdi opera tell you that it is not a dying culture at all?
I wonder if contemporary classical music may be in a stage like some of the instruments we discuss, a temporary dip in popularity, in this case because comtemporary classical has no entertainment value.

But I must apologize to jdowning for taking this very far off topic

(by the way, shostakovich considered ustvolskaya a huge talent and said he had as much to learn from her as she from him)
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[*] posted on 8-6-2015 at 11:46 AM


Quote: Originally posted by hans  
Ah you are already in Europe :-}. I don't agree with you about a dying culture. Entertainment has a huge pull on people and maybe classical culture is not as prevalent as it used to be; although I wonder how big the audiences actually were in the peak days, I have the feeling it was as much a question of cultural elite as it is now.


It is not about the size of the audiences. I mean centuries ago, how many people were literate and could actually read? 5% of the population or 10? But still it didn't hold up all those writers to write their novels or poems. And they created a culture in literature.

A culture lives from 2 things. One side who creates it and one side who embraces it.

I ask again, where are the creators?
And I don't think they are enough people who embrace these culture, relatively spoken. Else we would see a reflection of this in the young adults and teenagers. But they are definitely not interested at all.


Quote:

I am a bit surprised that you say the students around you can only name two composers. That was very different in my student days, and my daughter's boyfriend can easily name 10. I know of no universities with a sportsteam here; sounds rather american to me. I do know of students music ensembles. But I don't necessarily consider students the mature (and better educated) audience I was talking about. I agree with you that the audience will generally be much older; which is fine with me. At some point one must lose an interest in the mixture of music and sex, which doesn't make you old or outdated.


I live amongst them, because I am interested in music, I always ask people about their music taste and so on. Hiphop, Metal, Pop and Rock and now electronic music is the only music they listen to. Even if the boyfriend of your daughter or any other person can name many names, it doesn't mean they are interested in this music. And here it is actually really bad. I can prove my point very easily. There are many forums out there. And mostly all of them have a thread named "what are you listening to". And forums contain every kind of person, from every kind of nationalities, social classes and education. There you can make an observation to which music the people listen to. For example this very big German Computer forum:
http://www.computerbase.de/forum/showthread.php?t=1430857
(Thread from 2015, you could check for the older ones). There are 1000+ entries only this year. Look which kind of music people are interested in.) Where is classic amongst the Germans?

Or another way, for example the last.fm page of Ustvolskaya:
http://www.lastfm.de/music/Galina+Ustvolskaya
Last week only 1 person listened to her, in total 1779.

Now let's take randomly the first entry in that German thread. I don't know that band, it is called Dire Straits:
http://www.lastfm.de/music/Dire+Straits

In total 1946175 listeners.

2 million vs. 2 thousand...

And with sportsteam I mean sports like olympic sports. Every university has it, not like a soccer team or a football team like the Americans.

You don't consider students the mature audience you talked about and I understand what you say and agree with you. But todays students are later in 20 years those matured people. You can see from today their music taste. These are doctors, scientists, engineers, artists...

Or if you are talking about the rich elite group. I'm not sure how many of them are interested in classical culture and even if, these are the exceptions. And I think many look interested in classical, just because it is a part of their elitist culture and not because they want to embrace it. You can see that when you open a newspaper and see their daughters or sons. Like when they crashed their new Porsche after leaving a club, or drank too much alcohol and got Paparazzi-ed after a party. I am sure they didn't leave a classical concert when the reporters or the police found them.

There is only this core of people, mostly from older generations, and they are dying, the culture with them.


Quote:

Classical music certainly has a much smaller audience than entertainment music, like all the arts. Although the visual arts have a huge audience nowadays compared to the days of van Gogh.

And can you name me the van Gogh of today? I mean we have the internet, television, newspapers. So nothing can hide those genius people. Where is he or she? The audience of nowadays just commercializing and exploiting the old culture. Where do they produce? As I said, chewing the same old gum over and over.

Quote:

And doesn't the fact that there is room for hundreds of recordings of Verdi opera tell you that it is not a dying culture at all?

No, this is exactly the proof of that the culture is dying. Because repetition shows that you don't produce new things, things with that same quality. So you tend to produce the old good stuff over and over because you don't have nothing new in your hands. A perfect example that the culture is dying or is dead.


Quote:

I wonder if contemporary classical music may be in a stage like some of the instruments we discuss, a temporary dip in popularity, in this case because comtemporary classical has no entertainment value.

I don't think so. When some instruments were not as popupar as they were once, some other instruments took their places.
And most of them didn't make a comeback ever.

So clearly the classical world is replaced by the modern things, and the contemporary classical music is not one of them.

But you ask if this is temporarily. And I think once you lose a culture, you can't get it back. It is too late. So you must stop this. Newer generations must be raised. But I ask again, where are they? I don't care if there are 1000 vilolin players who can play exactly like Paganini. This is just repetition. Where is the 1 new Paganini (the creator) we need for today so the culture can live on? I don't see one.

This is the same with Jazz or with the Classical Turkish music. They all are dying.

Look, this is an oud forum. And when you learn to play it, and if you are interested in the Turkish style/culture/music, you will play at one point a Saz Semâî.
Everyone of us knows the famous Nihâvend Saz Semâî by Mesûd Cemil. Thanks god we have a recording of him playing this piece. So, better than that it can't be. So if I wanted to listen to that piece, I listen to him.
But all of us repeat it over and over. It is played in concerts, alone, to friends, for practice etc.

BUT WHERE ARE OUR SAZ SEMÂÎs? We just consume the old ones without bringing new ones to life. So the culture is dying.
I mean you all oud players can become good and awesome, but if I wanted to listen to the oud, I will listen to Bacanos. When there is the master, why should I waste my time with the copycats? That is the problem. If you don't become the culture itself, if you don't create new things and bring the culture forward, we all will stay as copycats who imitated only and caused the death of the culture.


Quote:

But I must apologize to jdowning for taking this very far off topic


I apologize, too but he left the discussion with a "whatever" anyway :D.

Quote:

(by the way, shostakovich considered ustvolskaya a huge talent and said he had as much to learn from her as she from him)

I believe you, but honestly I know not much about her so I assume it is because she was not that great as her master. Or it is just my illiterateness. I am not that interested in Classical Western Music, I only am superficial in that matter.
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[*] posted on 8-6-2015 at 02:46 PM


In the Arab music world very fine new compositions in saz semai form are still being composed. In recent years Khalid Mohammed Ali and Simon Shaheen have composed some outstanding semai-s that are both traditional and up-to-date. Not only were these recently composed but living musicians have embraced these compositions and are playing them. Not very long ago George Michel and Jamil Bashir each composed a lovely samai in Rast. Just a few examples that come to mind immediately. And these also are played today.
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[*] posted on 8-6-2015 at 02:59 PM


:D you think everything is dying! I am not sure about classical music as I am about the visual arts, but today's artists are much luckier than those in van Gogh's days. Check out Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz, Tony Oursler, there are hundreds of geniuses who need not die in poverty.
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[*] posted on 8-6-2015 at 10:46 PM


Wow. This forum is usually refreshingly free of chauvinism, but this thread is an outstanding exception, lol.

And personally I find the classical-is-superior-to-pop chauvinism no less repulsive than the nationalism.

Much reverence for the so called "classical" genres is no more than blind conservatism and the "Emperor's new clothes", and much complaining about the world's lack of interest is no more than veiled expression of elitist pride.

Gems come from every genre of music, along with a vastly larger amount of dreck, and that's as true of the classical genres as it is of the pop, folk, and experimental. Variety and novelty are just as important as any other musical consideration, and the diminishing popularity of "well used" forms, styles, and compositions is natural, to be expected, and necessary to make room for the new.

That's Life; that's how it works :·)

David
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[*] posted on 8-7-2015 at 03:21 AM


I grudgingly agree, but did anyone say classical is superior?
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[*] posted on 8-7-2015 at 03:34 AM


I see the ongoing disagreement to be about what exists, not about what music deserves to live or die.
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[*] posted on 8-7-2015 at 04:06 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Jody Stecher  
In the Arab music world very fine new compositions in saz semai form are still being composed. In recent years Khalid Mohammed Ali and Simon Shaheen have composed some outstanding semai-s that are both traditional and up-to-date. Not only were these recently composed but living musicians have embraced these compositions and are playing them. Not very long ago George Michel and Jamil Bashir each composed a lovely samai in Rast. Just a few examples that come to mind immediately. And these also are played today.


I would add to this Samai Farahnak by Tareq Jundi and Samai 'Bayya al-Ward' in Maqam Bastahnikar by Ahmad al-Khatib. :bowdown:




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[*] posted on 8-7-2015 at 04:21 AM


Quote: Originally posted by David Parfitt  
Quote: Originally posted by Jody Stecher  
In the Arab music world very fine new compositions in saz semai form are still being composed. In recent years Khalid Mohammed Ali and Simon Shaheen have composed some outstanding semai-s that are both traditional and up-to-date. Not only were these recently composed but living musicians have embraced these compositions and are playing them. Not very long ago George Michel and Jamil Bashir each composed a lovely samai in Rast. Just a few examples that come to mind immediately. And these also are played today.


I would add to this Samai Farahnak by Tareq Jundi and Samai 'Bayya al-Ward' in Maqam Bastahnikar by Ahmad al-Khatib. :bowdown:


Yes, indeed! And these are not being played to prove a point about elite superiority nor were they composed for that reason. They are being played because people like the music and find it viable.
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