Mike's Oud Forums
Not logged in [Login - Register]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
 Pages:  1  2
Author: Subject: Native Players vs. Foreigners
DavidJE
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 265
Registered: 7-14-2013
Location: Vienna, Austria
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-17-2014 at 08:28 AM
Native Players vs. Foreigners


I'm in Turkey right now, traveling around the country for a little over 3 weeks. I've been here for about 2 weeks so far, in Istanbul, Selcuk, and now Goreme. I've been playing the oud and studying Turkish music theory for about a year now. So on this trip to Turkey I decided I'd make an "informal study" as to how well local people know their music. I've read on this forum and in other places, that some people's opinion is that native/local players can learn their own music better or easier than a foreigner, which is one reason I'm curious about how well locals know their own music.

I've talked to lots of people thus far...hotel employees, drivers, and guides primarily. A couple have been musicians, but most have not. Somewhere, I read that local people where makam music is played know which makam a song or composition is in when they hear it. But thus far I haven't met a single person who knows this. Even the 3 musicians I've met...although they know the names of common makams...cannot identify the makam just by listening to a song they've never heard. Surprisingly to me, since I've only been doing this for a year, I have more success than they do.

I bought a new oud on this trip, which I'll post about once I'm back home (with pictures). In my hotel in Istanbul the hotel manager asked if I could play it, and I played a few compositions. He had other hotel staff come and watch, and they were amazed (no testament to my abilities!). They thought I could play as well as any Turkish player, which to me is a joke. I mention this to say that as a foreign player with relatively little experience, the average local may not be able to tell the difference. I also just walked by a restaurant band here in Goreme, where an oud player was playing Bint El Chalabia (strange as that may be, although I know there is a Turkish version). I learned to play this song just a few days before leaving for this trip, and I'm fairly certain that I can play it significantly better than the oud player in the restaurant band. Again, that's not to say that I'm a great player...but that all of this leads me to think that the "native/local advantage" is nearly non-existent.

I'm from New Orleans, and I did grow up hearing a good bit of jazz. But I can't pick up an instrument and play jazz music. I can't play blues, even though I've heard a good bit of it. Would I be better at New Orleans Jazz than a Turkish person? I don't think so. And based on my questions to locals here and what I've seen and heard thus far, I really don't see how a Turkish non-musician would have much advantage over a non-Turkish person when it comes to learning makam music.

Just my non-scientific observations!
View user's profile View All Posts By User
ameer
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 446
Registered: 9-14-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 5-17-2014 at 08:43 AM


I've seen foreigners become so good they could easily be mistaken for natives. The average member of any population is probably not going to be a musician and will be content with their version of the radio top 40. On the other hand a foreigner has a unique obstacle to overcome: they need to eventually feel that this music is theirs as much as anyone else's. This obviously shouldn't happen at the beginning of the journey, but once the person has decided that they want to maximize their potential in this particular style of music they should feel that such a thing is actually possible. Otherwise, they will continually feel and act like a foreigner.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jody Stecher
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1170
Registered: 11-5-2011
Location: California
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-17-2014 at 09:48 AM


Wow, what an interesting topic. Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth (about a third of a penny when inflation is taken into account). My view can be summed up by "what goes in comes out". And also that the reason you have found the average person not well informed about "their" music is because they don't directly perceive makam music as being theirs, although they may have an abstract idea that "I am Turkish and so is Turkish Makam music so this music is mine".

When I was in in India in 1980 and 1981 opinion was divided as to the chances of success in learning raga music by a non-Indian such as myself. The opinion was cleanly and predictably divided into two classes of people: musicians and non-musicians. The average person in India had no idea at all about classical raga music. It was strange, exotic secret code from another era. (It's the same now in 2014 but much more so). This class of people had the firm opinion that I would fail at learning the music. The opinion of musicians however was 100% that if I practiced right, heard the right stuff and had the right teacher I would certainly succeed, as would anyone with some musical skills who was willing to put in the time and effort, properly applied.

It seems that in Turkey and the Middle East things have changed for makam/maqam music from how it was a few decades ago. I think that for a *musician* —by which I mean an individual who seems to be born to make music and who lives and breathes and dreams music — being born into a culture is a decided advantage for making that culture's music. It seems to me that in many places, including Turkey and the Arab world, that culture may now, in the year 2014, be largely a subculture of musicians because the culture that produced maqam music (for instance) no longer exists. Ottoman Turkey is a thing of the past (for instance). But for the average person, simply being born in Turkey (for instance) is no advantage at all for learning Makam music because for the average person in Turkey, Makam music (of the "classical" type) is exotic and unknown in a technical sense. (For folk music and pop music it's a different story).
But for someone who grows up surrounded by a particular kind of a music of course there is an advantage …for making that kind of music. And that advantage is the advantage of a having a "natural feel". But not always of having information.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
PaulS
Oud Maniac
****




Posts: 90
Registered: 9-7-2013
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-17-2014 at 08:11 PM


I also find this an intriguing topic--since I am on an extended sabbatical in the Gulf and have been noodling away on oud for about a year. The people I have had contact with--expats from Syria,Egypt, Yemen etc. in my solfege class in Abu Dhabi, are amateur musicians and music lovers. They are keen to learn western music (everyone was excited to sight read Tschaikovski's violin concerto for example) but they can pick a maqam out of the air when they hear it. I think the culture of popular arabic music (which was maqam music) is still circulating and people have it in their blood.
I thoroughly enjoy the experience of trying to get inside this language of another culture and so far have been able to survive the embarrassment of not being a native speaker.
I would love to hear more about your time in Turkey!
View user's profile View All Posts By User
DavidJE
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 265
Registered: 7-14-2013
Location: Vienna, Austria
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-18-2014 at 03:05 AM


Quote:
On the other hand a foreigner has a unique obstacle to overcome: they need to eventually feel that this music is theirs as much as anyone else's.


Maybe I am a little unusual in this respect, but I don't feel that any music belongs to anyone in particular. So I don't feel like I have to overcome such an obstacle...that the music is not "mine". I feel like I have as much "right" to play music from any region as anyone does, particularly instrumental music...without "local" lyrics where the messages are foreign to me.

Quote:
Ottoman Turkey is a thing of the past (for instance). But for the average person, simply being born in Turkey (for instance) is no advantage at all for learning Makam music because for the average person in Turkey, Makam music (of the "classical" type) is exotic and unknown in a technical sense. (For folk music and pop music it's a different story).


That is an interesting and excellent point. The combination of Attaturk having banned traditional music for decades (if I remember correctly) and influences from outside of Turkey, do seem to make "Ottoman music" different from "modern Turkish music".

Quote:
I think the culture of popular arabic music (which was maqam music) is still circulating and people have it in their blood.


So, maybe this is different in other countries that have "a foot in the past" more so than Turkey?

Quote:
I would love to hear more about your time in Turkey


As a travel destination, I love Turkey! It has such an amazing diversity of places/cities/regions. From reading about, it sounds like it's the case for areas all over Turkey. From my own experience, Istanbul, Selcuk, and now Goreme seem like places in different countries. Istanbul and Goreme both seem "exotic" to someone like me (born in New Orleans and living in Vienna), but Istanbul is VERY different compared to Goreme. The people are different, the culture is different, the scenery is different, the history is different, etc. And, Selcuk felt to me like Greece, or almost anywhere in the northern Mediterranean. It didn't feel Muslim at all.

So, the diversity is very attractive. I've traveled a lot. I'm normally traveling for 2-4 months each year. And thus far I feel like Turkey has more diversity in terms of experiences than any other place I've been. I also love the food. And the history of all these places is amazing.

I would say my experience has been very good...BUT...

I also feel like I swallowed the red pill (from the Matrix movie) yesterday evening. My wife and I realized that the vast majority of our experiences here have been influenced (some negatively so) by what seems like a all-encompassing, pervasive "commission system". I'll post more about it later. But it seems like nearly every recommendation from anyone is based on getting commission. It's not the commission I have a problem with. I'm totally ok with that. The problem is that we have been steered to "bad" places because of it. We've been lied to because of it, repeatedly.

We're staying in very nice hotels, and the people are coming across as extraordinarily friendly, amazingly helpful. We're constantly told that we should feel like a friend and not a customer, like a guest in a home and not like a customer. But yet, we've just realized that a LOT of that, if not even all of it, is BS. What appeared genuine at first now looks...not necessary malicious...but at least entirely dishonest. This behavior is designed to facilitate a sense of trust, so that people can then rip us off.

I think most tourists and visitors will not see this, but I was a self defense instructor for most of my adult life, and the "predatory warning signs" are everywhere. To use Gavin DeBecker's classification model: There are very good attempts to make you trust people (forced teaming), to make you feel you are a friend when you are not. There is the use of "charm", which is always artificial. There is "loan sharking", giving you tea and time to make you feel obligated to then reciprocate. The "unsolicited promises" are numerous..."I promise, you don't have to buy anything from me. I'm not going to give you the hard sell"...only so you don't realize that's exactly what they're about to do.

We've come across this kind of thing in many countries, but it's typically only in the tourist souvenir shops and in a certain class of hotels, etc.. In Turkey however, it seems to be much better perfected. It's much harder to see. But it appears to be EVERYWHERE. We feel we can no longer trust anyone here, and that's unfortunate.

We're also 100% certain that our current hotel is trying to tarnish the reputation of businesses that don't pay them commissions and trying to send us to lesser quality places to get commissions, while being EXTREMELY good at acting like we are their best friends. It's quite amazing how good they are at this, and a bit lucky that we figured it out.

So, I still love Turkey as a place to travel. There are so many interesting and great places, foods, cultural aspects, etc. But I don't trust anyone here, and I feel bad saying that. Surely there are many honest people. I just don't know who they are!
View user's profile View All Posts By User
PaulS
Oud Maniac
****




Posts: 90
Registered: 9-7-2013
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-18-2014 at 07:57 PM


Thank you! I haven't travelled there as much as you--mostly around Istanbul, but I love it too and want to go more often. I share your account of the commission system. It is really a monetary version of mediterranean patronage culture I think. Thanks again, keep posting!
View user's profile View All Posts By User
DavidJE
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 265
Registered: 7-14-2013
Location: Vienna, Austria
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-20-2014 at 09:10 PM


I feel I should add a little to my last post, regarding scams in Turkey, despite the fact that it is a little off topic for this thread.

Briefly: Everything I wrote is true, but I'm not sure if all of it is so devious and strategic. In some cases (carpet sellers for example) I do think it is strategic, purposeful and downright dishonest. The feigned friendship, serving you tea, and so on, is a strategy used to rip you off. I also had the same thing happen when I bought my first out on the street near the Galata Tower. But in the case of hotels and with some guides, I think there may be genuine hospitality with simultaneous attempts to steer you to places where they get commission.

For me, this would be an internal/mental conflict, especially if I was sending someone to a sub-standard place. But maybe people here don't make the same connections. Some may be genuinely friendly, but don't see that conflicting with the widespread "commission system" here. To be honest, I'm not sure. However I don't want to do a disservice to Turkish people and imply that most of them are lying scammers. The bottom line is that you should pay attention to the "warning signs" I mentioned above, and when money is involved you should be particularly careful, but you'll probably have a great time in Turkey, and the people are very friendly (whatever the motivation).
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Lysander
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 405
Registered: 7-26-2013
Location: London, UK
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-21-2014 at 12:21 AM


Quote: Originally posted by DavidJE  
I feel I should add a little to my last post, regarding scams in Turkey, despite the fact that it is a little off topic for this thread.

Briefly: Everything I wrote is true, but I'm not sure if all of it is so devious and strategic. In some cases (carpet sellers for example) I do think it is strategic, purposeful and downright dishonest. The feigned friendship, serving you tea, and so on, is a strategy used to rip you off. I also had the same thing happen when I bought my first out on the street near the Galata Tower. But in the case of hotels and with some guides, I think there may be genuine hospitality with simultaneous attempts to steer you to places where they get commission.


David, I'm glad you mentioned the above. Notwithstanding your topic here, whenever I see Turkey mentioned on foreign forums it's always heavily annexed with comments like "don't trust the Turks, they'll rip you off" and that they're a bunch of devious crooks. While I'm sure that this absolutely is true of some of the Turks, it is definitely not true of all of them and seems part and parcel of Islamophobia in some cases. In addition to this, in any capital city you go to you will get natives trying to rip off tourists. It doesn't matter where you go, Paris, Moscow, Florence, Bruges, Brussels, they will try to rip you off, but they just have different ways of doing it. Even in London, if you go to a new hairdressers they will ply you will coffee, biscuits and jazzy reading material in order to curry favour with you. Hell, if you go to Las Vegas they'll get you drunk on free champagne so you throw more coins in the slots. The Turks' way of doing it is, as you say, to appear to be your best friends but when you walk out the door they will say to their colleagues, "what a gullible idiot".

However, David, I am fortunate to have met many lovely people in Turkey who do not confirm to this model. And when I go there the hospitality I experience from friends and family is unparalleled. That's not to say that - if I didn't have people with me who spoke the language - I wouldn't be a few lira lighter.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
DavidJE
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 265
Registered: 7-14-2013
Location: Vienna, Austria
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-21-2014 at 03:55 AM


Lysander, I have also met many lovely people here, which was the main reason for my second post on the subject. However, I do think it's different here compared to European or American cities.

One difference is that there aren't different (sometimes vastly so) prices for tourists and locals. My parents own three businesses in the French Quarter, in New Orleans. The idea that they would have different prices for different people is just crazy. But I realize that is common all over the "third world". And I think this is done less out of malice in many cases, but more due to a lack of understanding. Many poor people in poorer countries think that everything is easy for people in Europe and the US, and that everyone is basically showered with money and services...based on conversations I've had with them at least. And they've grown up with the idea that it's ok to charge foreigners more. I don't think that makes it "right". But I'm not going to judge these people. I'd probably be doing the same thing if I were in their shoes, with their education, etc. The outright scams are another story.

And, I don't think you can compare giving someone "extras" at the hairdresser, since the hairdresser isn't going to blatantly rip you off afterwards. That's different from selling an "antique Turkish carpet" for thousands of dollars, when it's actually a worthless Chinese-made carpet.

Anyway, as you said, there are plenty of great people in Turkey. People should be careful anywhere, especially in foreign places where they don't *really* know the culture. It's easier to be mislead in such places, and there are also cultural differences you might not expect. If a person is careful and aware though, I think Turkey is a fantastic country to explore. And of course I love the music!

Getting back to the subject of music, one thing I really like about Turkey is that their local music is played everywhere. In many countries I've been to, western music is played in place of their local music. But here, you really do hear Turkish music (traditional and modern) all over. That's great. Sitting here in my hotel, with the window open, I'm hearing ney music in the background. :) Like I said, it doesn't seem to me that it makes much difference in being able to learn it, as a local vs. a foreigner, but it's cool.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
John Erlich
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1349
Registered: 8-26-2004
Location: California, USA
Member Is Offline

Mood: Oud-Obsessed

[*] posted on 5-21-2014 at 12:56 PM


I haven’t read any of the previous long posts word-for-word, so I apologize if I’m repeating something already said. I don’t that that being “foreign” to a culture is necessarily going to stop anyone from learning how to play its music well, given the necessary passion, discipline, training, and time. I do think that your “home” culture may have some bearing on how easy or difficult it is to grasp a “foreign” music. People who come from non-improvisatory musical backgrounds or cultures (Western Classical music, many traditional East Asian musics, etc.) seem to have a harder time getting the feel of improvisatory music styles than those accustomed to music incorporating a great deal of improvisation (jazz, blues, many types of folk music, etc). I’ve seen a YouTube recording of 4 (female) Japanese musicians performing Umm Kulthum’s anthem “Inta ‘Omri,” technically very competently, but with very little feeling, and minimal improvisation. On the other hand, especially in the belly dance world, I heard plenty of Americans play Middle Eastern music with very little technical skill, but lots of “soul.”
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
journeyman
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 490
Registered: 12-28-2003
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 5-21-2014 at 04:58 PM


This is a very complicated question, and an interesting one. I can't speak about makam-based music because I consider myself a beginner in this area. However, I've been playing professionally since I was 16 and I'm 60 now, so feel that I am able to comment on the question in a general sense.

In my experience, it comes down to feel and an intuitive sense of what the music means on that level. I grew up with country music and blues/rock and spent the last 30 years playing and studying jazz. If someone told me to play a set of music, say 6 tunes, and each one had to be some kind of a blues but each one had to have a different rhythmic feel, I am confident that I could do it off the top of my head. Now, I also spent a decade studying and playing Brazilian music and recorded and toured with a Brazilian singer. But....if I was told to play a set of 6 tunes and each one had to be a samba and each one had to have a different feel, I couldn't do it. I just don't have the depth of understanding on an intuitive level to pull it off. I would have to take the time and work out the particular samba feel for each tune. I could maybe do two or three, but after that I'd have to really think about it before being able to pull it off and it would not be so intuitive.

At the same time, as has been pointed out, the world has changed and being born into a particular culture doesn't mean that one will have the exposure to a particular musical tradition. I coach small jazz ensembles at a university and in recent years have noticed that when the students play a particular rhythmic figure like [quarter note-dotted quarter-eighth note] a typical jazz figure, they don't have a clue. Instead of playing [doot-doo-GAT] which is obvious to anyone who has played blues or any triplet-based music, they play it with no inflection or accent, like [toot-too-toot] It used to annoy me and I thought they were simply not even trying to hear the music until I realized that virtually none of the popular music that we hear today swings in any way. It is just the students' musical conditioning. When I was small a lot of music was triplet-based; TV show soundtracks, country music, blues......the radio was full of it. How many young people in Turkey hear traditional Ottoman music on a regular basis? Compare Bollywood to Indian ragas, rap to almost anything with melody and harmony.

So, my own conclusion is this: [1] One has to be immersed in a particular musical culture for an extended period of years in order to gain depth and freedom within it and [2] popular musical culture has degenerated all over the world to such a mundane level that the current generation is left on its own to discover any music of real depth.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Doc139
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 149
Registered: 2-23-2013
Location: Winterthur Switzerland
Member Is Offline

Mood: oud-sick

[*] posted on 5-21-2014 at 08:53 PM


Very interesting thread, thank you guys for sharing! I will have to think about it a little more...
Alexander
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
sbj
Oud Lover
**




Posts: 22
Registered: 5-23-2014
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-23-2014 at 09:06 PM


Hello,

I'm a Turkish guy from Germany and just registered here to say few words about this topic.

First of all, you mix up two things @Threadowner (DavidJE).

Quote:

...how well local people know their music...

...that some people's opinion is that native/local players can learn their own music better or easier than a foreigner...


These are different things. There is no relation between them.

To make it short: in this case (Turkey) local people don't know their music (precise: Ottoman Music; folk music is a different huge story) but still native/local players can learn better their own music than foreigners.

Let us make a trip to the world of Turkish Music.

For good information about the culture of Turkey, please visit this website and go to the music portal where you can find the different types of Turkish music.

Today Turkey is flooded with pop music. Like when you listen to the radio, you will listen 80% to this kind of music. With pop music I mean rock, pop and arabesque and some other genres.
But mainly "low-standard" music.
And the young people heavily listen to crap American music, like most of the world. From RnB to Rock. You know what I mean. Charts, Rappers, House, and so on.

10% is folk music. Like when you are at the Black Sea region, you will mainly listen to Horon/Kemence, and in the South-East you will find Baglama.

And then the rest is Türk Sanat Müzigi (Turkish Music of Art) which is a mixture between Arabesque and Ottoman, heavily far from real Ottoman music so I am told and see.

Ottoman Music?

People don't know this music. You can go wherever you want, this is and was a music of Istanbul. It developed there.
Ottoman Music was the music of the Empire, not of the folks. With Empire I mean the music around the Sultanat, aristocrats, the intellectuals and the priests.
Through the Tekkes (Mevlevi Order, Bektashi Order) this music spreaded to whole Empire. But it was always a music of "a handful" people.


Today Istanbul has more than 15 million population. But 95% of them are from Anatolia. Ask people there. How many generations they live in Istanbul, you will see what I talk about.
So Istanbul could not protect this "core" of "real" natives.

But still Ottoman Music was popular durin the begin of the 20th century.
Everything changed after Atatürk founded The Republic of Turkey.
He and his people tried to modernize Turkey. They wanted a good future but they also made mistakes.

Don't forget, Turkish people used nearly for 1000 years Arabic letters, then Atatürk changed to Latin letters.
There is a huge gap between the Turkish modern life and traditions. Nobody can even read the letters of their ancestors anymore. This huge gap exists almost in any kind of old turkic culture.
Turkish people were masters of archery and horse riding. With modernization (begin in the 18-19th century) they are gone.
This list goes on and on...

And something similar happened to the Ottoman music.
Ottoman music or Turkish music is older than Western Classical Music but the oldest pieces are from the 17th century I guess. Why?
Because the traditional system was a master-student relation. The student learned from the master and passed the knowledge on. Music notes were not used until the Hamparsum notation.
So this music was basically relied on the tekkes I talked about. The mevlevihanes, they were the places were the music could survive generations. But Atatürk closed also these places and forbid for some time turkish music.
Turkish music could be taught officially in the 70s. Think about it.

As you see Ottoman music was always a favor for special people back in the days and added to that a gap also occured.

So it is not a suprise that you will not find many people in Turkey that know makams or Ottoman music.
The past 10 years Turkish people remember their ancestors.
So do the music of Ottoman Empire is more popular then it was ever the past 100 years.

I was born in Germany and not a single friend of mine can explain me something of German music. They don't know Schwarzkopf, Schubert or Brahms, can explain me Lied or tell me a German opera. Nobody listens to Classical Music, not the youth. They do listen to American stuff, or germanized Rock and so on.
But no Jazz, Soul or Blues, the better exports from America.

This was the part of how well local people know their music.


The 2nd part:

Why I think that local people can learn their music better?

It is easy to answer.

Because the masters of this music live their where they live.
Because the knowledge is in their language.

Find me a ney/tanbur teacher where I live.
And then someone in Turkey.
The Turkish Music Theory is heavily in Turkish.
The music is just taught by Turkish universities.
The source material is there.
Because the music itself is based on Turkish people.

Regards.


View user's profile View All Posts By User
DavidJE
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 265
Registered: 7-14-2013
Location: Vienna, Austria
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-23-2014 at 11:21 PM


Quote:
So, my own conclusion is this: [1] One has to be immersed in a particular musical culture for an extended period of years in order to gain depth and freedom within it and [2] popular musical culture has degenerated all over the world to such a mundane level that the current generation is left on its own to discover any music of real depth.


Excellent points journeyman. I agree with them 100%. But I'm going to say something more about #2 later...

Quote:
I'm a Turkish guy from Germany and just registered here to say few words about this topic.


Thanks for your in-depth post sbj! I'm familiar with the history of Ottoman music, as are most people on this form I would imagine. I admit to generally calling the music I practice "Turkish music", but I should probably call it "Ottoman music" instead. I understand that that would be more accurate. And, it makes sense that modern Turks wouldn't be all that familiar with Ottoman music, particular the theory and structures. However, I am surprised at how much I've heard it when traveling here, particularly in Istanbul. When I had dinner at one (unfortunately touristy) restaurant there, the oud player played only traditional Ottoman pieces. But anyway, surely that is the exception.

I understand that most Ottoman music was passed down from teacher to student and wasn't written down for centuries. (As far as I know, there are some rare pieces dating back as early as the 14th or 15th century, but others on this forum would know much more about that than me.) On a tangent: I wonder if some of the music *written* down later was actually composed earlier. So, maybe something written in the 17th century was actually composed much earlier by someone else, but had only been passed down from teacher to student vs. written down.

This leads to my thoughts on your "2nd part". Currently I'm taking lessons with someone (Mavrothi, a member of this forum) who lives on a different continent, via Skype. I know he has learned from and played with some of the top and most well respected Turkish oud players/musicians alive today, among others. So despite the fact that I do not live in Turkey, I am able to take the traditional "mesk" route, teacher to student. Before taking lessons from Mavrothi, I took private lessons with a Turkish teacher where I live (and I'll likely continue to play with him and his students in the future). Honestly, I don't find any difference in my ability to learn from Skype lessons compared to "in-person" lessons. In fact, I'm learning more from Mavrothi via Skype than I was from my local Turkish teacher. So I'm not sure that living where the "masters of the music" live makes much difference, in 2014.

Regarding music theory being heavily in Turkish, I think I've been able to read pretty comprehensive writing on it. Between books and dissertations written in English, I think I have a solid understanding of the theory. How much more does one need, beyond a couple of solid/comprehensive pieces? And in the end, listening and learning from a teacher is probably a better guide anyway.

Finally, I'm still in Turkey now (in Bursa at the moment). I've gone into every music shop I've seen, and I'm not finding it any easier to find good Ottoman era oud music in Turkish music stores than on iTunes. I've shown a couple of Turkish players my iPod, and they were very impressed by my collection of classical Turkish music. A couple of them asked if they could copy my music (to which I said no)!

So with the exception of universities, I'm not sure I agree with your "2nd part".

Regarding pop music, musical culture having degenerated, and so on: First, I almost never listen to pop music. I couldn't tell you the names of the most popular bands today, etc. I nearly never listen to anything on the radio, and don't watch TV. With that said, I don't think "simple music" is necessarily bad or degenerated music. Humans respond to pretty basic aspects of music, simple rhythms and melodies, etc. The average person may use pop music to calm down, get motivated, change their mood, etc. So although we as musicians may appreciate more complex music more, I do think "simple music" has a place, and it can have depth in terms of use. I think complex music takes some learning to appreciate, and isn't always as immediately emotional. In some regards, I like simple songs like "Uskudara Giderken" as much as more complex compositions.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
sbj
Oud Lover
**




Posts: 22
Registered: 5-23-2014
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-24-2014 at 05:37 AM


Quote: Originally posted by DavidJE  


This leads to my thoughts on your "2nd part". Currently I'm taking lessons with someone (Mavrothi, a member of this forum) who lives on a different continent, via Skype. I know he has learned from and played with some of the top and most well respected Turkish oud players/musicians alive today, among others. So despite the fact that I do not live in Turkey, I am able to take the traditional "mesk" route, teacher to student. Before taking lessons from Mavrothi, I took private lessons with a Turkish teacher where I live (and I'll likely continue to play with him and his students in the future). Honestly, I don't find any difference in my ability to learn from Skype lessons compared to "in-person" lessons. In fact, I'm learning more from Mavrothi via Skype than I was from my local Turkish teacher. So I'm not sure that living where the "masters of the music" live makes much difference, in 2014.

Regarding music theory being heavily in Turkish, I think I've been able to read pretty comprehensive writing on it. Between books and dissertations written in English, I think I have a solid understanding of the theory. How much more does one need, beyond a couple of solid/comprehensive pieces? And in the end, listening and learning from a teacher is probably a better guide anyway.


So with the exception of universities, I'm not sure I agree with your "2nd part".



In my eyes you are verifying my thoughts on my 2nd part with your own example. The question was if native people can learn better/easier than foreigners. Not, if foreigners can be equally good as natives.

I guess your level of knowledge and skill is better than of many other natives. For sure. I am not a musician, so I can not judge on that.

You say you had a Turkish teacher and you have someone who teaches you via skype who himself had an interchange with great native players.

So basically ask yourself, how far could you go without these people?

Because the average player will not have luck to find a Turkish teacher or will find someone to connect via skype with that kind of knowledge. For that you also need to speak English and you also had to learn a lot of basics. How will it be for someone who just holds 1st time in his hands an instrument to learn this instrument via skype? Sitting position, finger positions, tuning, theory, material in foreign language.

If you have a background, like you were a musician for many many years, of course a lot of things will be easier. But it is still harder for you to learn it than a native.
You have to put more work and time than native people because of lack of players from you could learn.
It makes a huge difference if you try to learn a new language from just 1-2 people instead of living in that country where you are surrounded with that.
So basically in Turkey you could find easily many students and many music groups for "mesk".

I try to learn tanbur on my own (just begun this year). No teacher, no musical background, first time playing an instrument. The only advantage I have is that I can speak Turkish. Self-study is the only option here where I am. So I see myself as a foreigner ironically.

With that said we have to put more effort and time if we want to be equally good. It is possible. With musical background a lot easier, and via skype and local teacher more easier. But you had to find them first.
You live in Serbia, what then? You live in Kongo, what then? You live in Malaysia, what then? No internet or English? How to find teachers? No musical background, what then? You see the point?

Oud is a common instrument because of Arab world.
How about other instruments? Clearly it is more difficult for foreigners.
But this is my opinion. We don't have to agree. :)



Quote:

Regarding pop music, musical culture having degenerated, and so on: First, I almost never listen to pop music. I couldn't tell you the names of the most popular bands today, etc. I nearly never listen to anything on the radio, and don't watch TV. With that said, I don't think "simple music" is necessarily bad or degenerated music. Humans respond to pretty basic aspects of music, simple rhythms and melodies, etc. The average person may use pop music to calm down, get motivated, change their mood, etc. So although we as musicians may appreciate more complex music more, I do think "simple music" has a place, and it can have depth in terms of use. I think complex music takes some learning to appreciate, and isn't always as immediately emotional. In some regards, I like simple songs like "Uskudara Giderken" as much as more complex compositions.
I can't agree with that completely. But I know what you mean. It is another topic, I don't want to be off-topic here.



View user's profile View All Posts By User
DavidJE
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 265
Registered: 7-14-2013
Location: Vienna, Austria
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-24-2014 at 08:56 AM


sbj: I completely agree with you that it is easier for a local in regards to the availability of teachers. And that is especially true if one doesn't speak English and lives in a third world country with slow internet connections. For sure. What I meant in my first post by "some people's opinion is that native/local players can learn their own music better or easier than a foreigner", was in regards to actually learning the music if all other things were equal...if both had a teacher, if both learned from listening, etc. Of course all other things are not equal! So you are right there.

However fortunately for many of us on this forum, myself included, it's not *that* difficult to find a good teacher who you can take Skype lessons with. I played clarinet for several years as a kid, but otherwise hadn't played music for 25 years when I started on the oud. And I had never played a string instrument. Luckily, I don't feel constrained at all in my ability to find good instruction and learn "Ottoman music".

Off topic: I love the sound of the tanbur! I highly recommend you get a copy of Murat Ayedimer's book, Turkish Music Makam Guide. It covers 60 different makams in great detail, and comes with 2 CDs that have taksim and composition examples. I had to get it from my Turkish teacher, via a connection he had in Istanbul. But I'm sure you can search in Turkish and find a copy.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
sbj
Oud Lover
**




Posts: 22
Registered: 5-23-2014
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 5-24-2014 at 10:05 AM


Well, I wish you that you enjoy your stay in Turkey.

Guess, we have more or less the same opinion then.

And I already have Murat Aydemir's Makam Guide. I mean, I am interested in tanbur and not knowing Murat Aydemir or Necdet Yasar is impossible. I also have 2 methods for tanbur. But lack of time I could not come much forward. Hopefully this year I will master makams (understanding) and finger positions. I am a student of maths so I have not much time at all.

Do you have any recordings? Would like to see your sound.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Christian1095
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 454
Registered: 4-29-2008
Location: North Carolina, USA
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 6-6-2014 at 09:21 AM


I think it's getting easier for foreigners to get access to music that is not native to them. For example, I live in North Carolina in the southern part of the USA. I don't know any arab or turkish guys who play music locally so everything I've learned is pretty much self taught... So yeah, it's really hard for me to learn this music. On the other hand, without the internet and access to this community I would say it's impossible.



Chris Walters
View user's profile View All Posts By User
luan
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 157
Registered: 11-25-2011
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 6-6-2014 at 09:48 PM


It's easy to play the oud. Very easy.
It's difficult to play turkish music, very difficult.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jono Oud N.Z
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1111
Registered: 12-14-2009
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 6-8-2014 at 11:17 PM


Very interesting discussion!

Quote:

I understand that most Ottoman music was passed down from teacher to student and wasn't written down for centuries. (As far as I know, there are some rare pieces dating back as early as the 14th or 15th century, but others on this forum would know much more about that than me.) On a tangent: I wonder if some of the music *written* down later was actually composed earlier. So, maybe something written in the 17th century was actually composed much earlier by someone else, but had only been passed down from teacher to student vs. written down.


Many of the pieces in the Ali Ufki and Demetrie Cantemir collections date from the 16th century.Walter Feldman has covered this in depth in his 'Music of the Ottoman Court'.
There are a couple of earlier ones also.
One composer was the Egyptian Sayf Al Masry (Sayf the Egyptian), he lived in Timurid times apparently (1370–1507), ('Music of the Ottoman Court'.)
Also there is a Samai (6/8) attributed to Sultan Walad, the son of Rumi (Veled, 1226-1312).

Here is the Sayf Al Masry piece (Ufki and Cantemir) and a Nazire based on the piece, and the Sultan Walad piece.

Ensemble Constantinople, Bezmara and Al Kindi have recorded some of these.

[file]31733[/file] [file]31735[/file] [file]31737[/file] [file]31739[/file]

[file]31741[/file]

[file]31743[/file]

Some recordings / videos of other early pieces

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0XxzsP1lPQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPETZLTwKwQ
View user's profile View All Posts By User
DavidJE
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 265
Registered: 7-14-2013
Location: Vienna, Austria
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 6-10-2014 at 05:18 AM


Quote:
Many of the pieces in the Ali Ufki and Demetrie Cantemir collections date from the 16th century.


Interesting. The only piece I have by Ali Ufki is a Nikriz Pesrev. Do you possibly have a link to more pieces in his collection?
View user's profile View All Posts By User
journeyman
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 490
Registered: 12-28-2003
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 6-14-2014 at 07:34 AM


Quote: Originally posted by DavidJE  


Regarding pop music, musical culture having degenerated, and so on: First, I almost never listen to pop music. I couldn't tell you the names of the most popular bands today, etc. I nearly never listen to anything on the radio, and don't watch TV. With that said, I don't think "simple music" is necessarily bad or degenerated music. Humans respond to pretty basic aspects of music, simple rhythms and melodies, etc. The average person may use pop music to calm down, get motivated, change their mood, etc. So although we as musicians may appreciate more complex music more, I do think "simple music" has a place, and it can have depth in terms of use. I think complex music takes some learning to appreciate, and isn't always as immediately emotional. In some regards, I like simple songs like "Uskudara Giderken" as much as more complex compositions.


David,
I didn't mean to imply that simple means inferior. When I compare the pop music of today to what was being produced in the 1950s, 60s; and even some of what we heard in the 70s, I hear a music that is largely devoid of any emotional depth and is rhythmically banal. None of that has much to do with whether the music is simple or complex. If music has a strong groove it has some depth; machines don't groove, ever. Which brings me to rap music; if you are going to have a music that has no melody and no harmony there had better be something going on with the rhythm and I'm sorry, it ain't there, although I'll consent that Eminem has good time. The target audience for a lot of pop music is pre or young teens.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Jono Oud N.Z
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1111
Registered: 12-14-2009
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 6-20-2014 at 03:39 PM


Interesting. The only piece I have by Ali Ufki is a Nikriz Pesrev. Do you possibly have a link to more pieces in his collection?

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_7015561590

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_8567091905

View user's profile View All Posts By User
DavidJE
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 265
Registered: 7-14-2013
Location: Vienna, Austria
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 6-21-2014 at 08:54 AM


Thanks Jono...but I get a message that says the item has either been deleted or is unavailable to me. Any suggestions?
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jono Oud N.Z
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1111
Registered: 12-14-2009
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 6-23-2014 at 08:36 PM


Here are the links again - i hope they work now.

https://app.box.com/s/zvp0id4gwz8tzfh3ct3k

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_7015561590

Here are also some of my transcriptions of Ali Ufki and some transposed pieces from Owen Wrights book.

https://app.box.com/s/5qwn4173iz5zlksk7z68

https://app.box.com/s/x6bfdk2env6garsvrzk8




View user's profile View All Posts By User
 Pages:  1  2

  Go To Top

Powered by XMB
XMB Forum Software © 2001-2011 The XMB Group