Rhythm in Turkish music

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In Ottoman classical music, usul is an underlying rhythmic cycle that complements the melodic rhythm and sometimes helps shape the overall structure of a composition. An usul can be as short as two beats or as long as 128 beats. Usul is often translated as "meter", but usul and meter are not exactly the same. Both are repeating rhythmic patterns with more or less complex inner structures of beats of differing duration and weight. But a student learning Turkish music in the traditional meşk system first memorizes the usul kinetically by striking the knees with the hands. The student then sings the vocal or instrumental composition while performing the underlying usul. This pedagogical system helps the student memorize the composition while internalizing the underlying rhythmic structure.

Usul patterns have standard pronounceable vocables built from combinations of the syllables düm, dü-üm, tek, tekkyaa, teke, te-ek, where düm, dü-üm indicate a strong low beat of single or double duration, and tek, tekkya, teke, te-ek indicate various combinations of light beats of half, single or double duration. Long usuls (e.g., 28/4, 32/4, 120/4) are compound metric structures that underlie longer sections of entire compositions.

In Ottoman times, the usul was realized by drummers. Drums are generally omitted in modern performances except for Mevlevi. When performing music for the Mevlevi ceremony, drummers traditionally play embellished (velveleli) versions of the usuls.

Instrumental improvisations (taksim) and vocal improvisations (gazel, mersiye, etc.) are generally performed in "free" rhythm, with no usul.

The melodic counterpart to usul rhythmic mode is makam melodic mode. The parallel system to usul in Indian music is tala.

Usul[edit]

Usuls based on number of beats per bar[edit]

  • 2-) Nimsofyan
  • 3-) Semâî
  • 4-) Sofyan
  • 5-) Zafer, Türk Aksağı (Süreyya)
  • 6-) Yürüksemâî, Sengin Semaî , Ağır Semai
  • 7-) Devr-i Hindî, Devr-i Turan (Mandra), Devr-i Aryân
  • 8-) Düyek, Ağırdüyek, Katakofti (Müsemmen)
  • 9-) Aksak, Ağır Aksak, Oynak, Evfer, Ağır Evfer, Bulgar Darbı (Darbıbulgar), Çiftesofyan (Raksaksağı)
  • 10-) Aksaksemaî, Ağır Aksaksemaî
  • 12-) Frenkçin
  • 13-) Nimevsat
  • 14-) Devrirevan
  • 16-) Nimhafîf
  • 32-) Hafîf, Muhammes
  • 88-) Darbıfetih

Additional usuls[edit]

  1. Gülşen
  2. Arabesk
  3. Alaturka
  4. Özgün
  5. Semah
  6. Vahde
  7. Sebare
  8. Sufi
  9. Azəri
  10. Baqu havaları
  11. Şeyhin Samil
  12. Qaşgay
  13. Artık Aksaksemaî
  14. Türk Aksaksemaîsi
  15. Arab Aksaksemaîsi
  16. Aksak Sofyan
  17. Kadîm Evfer
  18. Romanlı8/9
  19. Rumeli8/9
  20. Nimevfer
  21. Çiftetelli
  22. Misket
  23. Ankara havaları
  24. Kaşık
  25. Halay
  26. Ağrı
  27. Deliloy
  28. Durakevferi
  29. Firengi Fer'
  30. Fer'
  31. Türk Darbı (1. Şekil)
  32. Türk Darbı (2. Şekil)
  33. Türk Darbı (3. Şekil)
  34. Türk sanat müziği 2/4
  35. Türk sanat müziği 4/4
  36. Türk sanat müziği 4/6
  37. Türk sanat müziği 6/8
  38. Türk Halk müziği 4/4
  39. Türk Halk müziği 5/8
  40. Türk Halk müziği 8/9
  41. Türk Halk müziği 9/10
  42. Uzun havaları
  43. Oyun havaları
  44. Düğün havaları
  45. Hünerdarb
  46. Tekvuruş
  47. Karadeniz
  48. Ormancı
  49. Trabzon
  50. Horon
  51. Laz
  52. Raksan
  53. Arap Oryantal
  54. Türk Oryantal
  55. Aksak Semaî Evferi
  56. Hefta
  57. Nimdevir
  58. Mevlevi Devrirevani
  59. Dolap
  60. Devritürkî
  61. Darbıarabî
  62. Nazlı Devrihindî
  63. Devrikebîr
  64. Evsat
  65. Dilruba
  66. Yörük Ali
  67. Fahte
  68. Lenkfahte (Nimfahte)
  69. Şirin
  70. Hezeç
  71. Harzem
  72. Çenber
  73. Ağır Çenber
  74. Nimberefşan
  75. Berefşan
  76. Nimsakîl
  77. Sakîl
  78. Remel
  79. Havî
  80. Zencîr
  81. Zeybek
  82. Darbeyn
  83. Karşılama
  84. Harmandalı
  85. Bektaşîraksı
  86. Darbıkürdî

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • [1] Rhythmic layers in Turkish art music