The Usul (Rhythmic Pattern) in Turkish Music PMK-205
For centuries, Turkish music has been passed down orally, within a master and apprentice re- lationship, through a process known as meşk. Since the 17th century, there have been attempts to commit it to notation, first the ebcet (abjad) numerological system and later, with a simple and inadequate system called Hamparsum notation.
There has been an effort to preserve the usuls, or rhythmic patterns, of Turkish music using syllables such as DÜM-TEK-TEKE-TEK KÂ, and poetic meters. Necessary during the era when music was not written and was a matter of memory, these pattern systems (and especially the major usuls) have been passed to us through the memories of a few aged musicians trained in the old tradition.
Since the introduction of Western notation to Turkish music, there have been several prob- lems in its adaptation to our music, but certain progress has been made. Unfortunately, the notation of the usuls has not yet reached the desired level.
Efforts to devise a new way of writing music began fifty years but are not yet clear, and far from easy to understand. Over time, the errors of those who notated our usuls have become tradition, and the next generation of musicians remains under the influence of these errors.
The confusion in notation has necessitated the continuation of the master-apprentice rela- tionship.
The continuing habit among classical performers to play the major usuls from memory has created difficulty for the younger generations in their training as percussion artists per- forming traditional music.
One of the clearest reasons why our Republican-period composers have chosen not to write works in the classical and high forms is insufficient understanding and teaching of our usuls.
In this book, I have done my best to analyze the usuls in a simpler and more comprehen- sible way.
About the Author
Fahrettin Yarkin was born in 1960 in Istanbul. He graduated from the Istanbul TEchnical University State Conservatory in 1983. In 1981, he passed auditions for TRT Istanbul Radio, and became a permanent artist in 1983. At the Radio, he had the opportunity to work with some of the foremost msicians of the period, including Bekir Sidki Sezgin, Alaeddin Yavasca, Cinucen Tanrikorur, Kani Karaca and Yildirim Gurses. During the 80's, and 90's, he performed the Seb-i Aruz in Konya with the Istanbul Mevlevi ensemble. Yarkin has performed in many countries, both as a state employee and in independent concerts and projects. These include the album 'Fasil', made in Belgium with Cinucen Tanrikorur and Murat Salim Tokac; concerts and CD's with Spanish artist Jordi Savall, Haris Alexiou, Teo Leovendi, Panagiotis Neochorotos, and the Dutch group Axis Ensemble; concerts in the Istanbul Jazz Festival with JackDeJohnette, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, and Masha Vahdat; musical direction of albums by the Ensemble Saltiel and Romina Basso; lessons and seminars. In 1994 he and his brother Ferruh Yarkin formed the Yarkin Turk Ritm Grubu and recorded the albums Ten, Tentende, Kervansaray and Birlikte Yasamak. Yarkin joined four more fine musicians to form the group Istanbul Solistleri. Fahrettin Yarkin is married and has 2 children.