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Middle Eastern Fiddle - Maqams & Microtones!
Exotic and mysterious?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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ELCBK
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May 6, 2022 - 5:38 am
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Middle Eastern music can have mystical sounds - but what makes it so? 

VERY enlightening masterclass, "What is Maqam?" - (more than scales)  by Sami Abu Shumays! 

 

 

All you Cello players might feel more at home playing the violin this way. 😊  Not everyone in the Middle East does it, but as mentioned (in the video comments), was popular in Europe 500 years ago - and small Viols were played this way during the Baroque Era. 

So, if anyone has issues playing 'Western Style', try this!

 

 

EASY TO UNDERSTAND video about some "Differences between Arabic and Turkish Quartertones, Half-flats & Microtones"! (OudforGuitarists) 

 

 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b2/7f/30/b27f30a6ce1d9043d7a7737af84cf5d2.jpgImage Enlarger

 - Emily

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ELCBK
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It's no secret that I'm pretty passionate about exploring Old World styles of music and how they relate to our fiddles. 😊 

I've been lucky enough to run across a few musicians who try to keep much of this music alive, by promoting these lesser known traditional styles and making it more accessible to us fiddlers. 

I've been very impressed with the Beth Bahia Cohen workshops I attended at the last 3 Fiddle Hell Festivals! 

"A Life Story Through Strings" - Beth Bahia Cohen.

 

 

Beth Bahia Cohen is a violinist of Syrian Jewish and Russian Jewish heritage. Inspired at a young age by the sounds she heard at family gatherings, she went on to study with master musicians from Hungary, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. She plays the violin, viola, Greek lyras, Turkish bowed tanbur and kabak kemane, Norwegian hardingfele, and Egyptian rababa. 

Beth is a founding member of the Greek ensemble Ziyiá, a frequent teacher with the Eastern European Folklife Center, and an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, where she leads the Berklee Greek Ensemble and the Berklee Global Strings Ensemble.

Beth also plays some beautiful Yayli Tanbur (Turkish bowed long-neck lute) music.  

"Şehnaz Saz Semai" by Kemençeci Nikolai.

https://youtu.be/E19ui9oBmzg 

 

https://www.berneluthier.fr/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/yaylitanbur2017_16.jpg

 

@ABitRusty -

The "Yayli Tanbur" is like a BOWED BANJO! 

 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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July 25, 2022 - 8:44 pm
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Transplanted this post from the Modal Scales/Keys Thread

Turkish and Arabic Makams are different than Western Scales/Modes. 

I've taken a few workshops at the last 2 Fiddle Hell Festivals, from a couple of wonderful instructors - they taught some beautiful music using some of these scales!

Here's a great article, in simple words, that explains what they are, a little history and the differences between these scales. 

Turkish & Arabic Makams vs. Western Scales

The Accidentals - music notation symbols.

https://i2.wp.com/www.hinesmusic.com/Media/TAccidentals.gif

https://www.hinesmusic.com/Media/Maqamat.gifImage Enlarger

AND, this... for the mathematically inclined. 🤣 

"Yarman-36 Makam tone-system" for Turkish art music

It comprises 36 tones locatable just by ear, via counting exact 0, 1 and 2 beats per second when listening to given octave, fifth and third intervals, starting from an algebraically attained reference frequency for A at 438.41 Hertz, very near the international standard A = 440 Hz. 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/57/3c/40/573c40da784636c326f2ad092a3b9dca.jpg

 

...get a little wild - try something new!

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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So even the Turkish theorists can't get it right!

Microtones on a violin are just wishful thinking unless your violin playing has perfect intonation. Listen to other musics' violin playing. Emulate it if you want, but do it by ear. Don't read the "theory". "Theory" is mostly a bad translation of art into non-art.

I've published videos of microtonal guitars here in the past, but that was only for amusement's sake.

Here's a saz (you might see it written çaz occasionally). You can hear its intonation, and you can see its fret spacings.

As to so-called 1/8th tones and so on, the best way to do the math is to buy a saz and measure it with a ruler (if it has fixed frets. If they are fishing line, you are in trouble. Otoh the ones who use fishing line use their ears and aren't necessarily as accurate as the theorists pretend - if we had to put gut frets on our violins, how confident would you be that we'd make good choices between 1/4 tone meantone, pythag and ET?).

Andrew

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ELCBK
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"Kâtibim" ("my clerk"), or "Üsküdar'a Gider İken" ("while going to Üsküdar") is a Turkish folk song about someone's clerk (kâtip) as they travel to Üsküdar. The tune is a famous Istanbul türkü [Turkish Folk Music] which is spread beyond Turkey in many countries, especially in the Balkans. (wikipedia)

Turkish folk song "Uskudara giderken Katibim" - performed by the Youth Chamber Orchestra of Türksoy. 

 

Give this Türkü a try! 

"Üsküdara" fiddle tutorial from Chris Haigh! 

 

@Gordon Shumway -

The "Theory" is great for a better understanding of what this music is based on. 

Play by ear - it's what I prefer. 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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A little more on Turkish Folk Music (Türkü) from wiki. 

...Türkü refers to folk songs originated from music traditions within Turkey whereas şarkı refers to all other songs, including foreign music.

Classically, Türküs can be grouped into two categories according to their melodies:

  • Kırık havalar: These have regularly rhythmic melodies. [subtypes...]
  • Uzun havalar: These have non-rhythmic or irregularly rhythmic melodies. [subtypes...] 

Though sometimes referred to as makams by exponents of Turkish Classical Music, the scales of Turkish Folk Music are more properly called 'ayak' (foot) and are simply scales, with no rules of progression, thus bearing closer comparison with the concept of medieval church modes than do makams. Furthermore, in many Turkish folk songs only part of the scale is used. Both forms of music are diatonic, but use notes that are additional to the 12 semitones of western music. In Turkish folk music, for example, some scales include a note roughly halfway between B and B flat. 

A wide variety of time signatures are used in Turkish folk music... Combinations of several basic rhythms often results in longer, complex rhythms that fit into time signatures such as 8/8, 10/8, and 12/8.

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ELCBK
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August 5, 2022 - 9:55 am
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It doesn't help knowing any of this without learning something more to play, so here's a great tutorial from Yiğitcan Kesendere

"Büklüm Büklüm" (Turkish Song).

 

"Artık Bu Solan Bahçede" - composed by Alâeddin Yavaşça. 

Makam: Hicaz (Hijāz)!

Yiğitcan Kesendere shows how to play along with "Artık Bu Solan Bahçede".

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ELCBK
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What is Taqsim and How Do I Dance To It?

A Taqsim is a piece of music, which usually precedes the performance of classical and traditional Middle Eastern, Arabic and Turkish compositions and it is improvised.

A typical Egyptian Baladi piece, for example, starts with a taksim.

A taqsim is performed using either one instrument only or one main instrument with another one in the background.

The instrument in the background supports the main instrument by playing a drone (a note sounded continually). 

Keman (Violin) Taqsim In Maqam Hijaz. 

Examples of Violin Taqsim in the 8 most common Maqamat (plural of maqam) - from A Max Gambus TV. 

Maqamat: Saba, Nahawand, Ajam, Bayātī, Sikāh, Hijaz, Rāst, and Kurd.

@ABitRusty -

Check these out!

Found an amazing array of backing rhythms for Taqsim practice - or ANY improv! 

TAQS.IM Rhythm Practice Backing Tracks - Video Playlist

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ABitRusty
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elcbk said

"Check these out!

Found an amazing array of backing rhythms...."

bookmarked!

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ABitRusty
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ELCBK said

It's no secret that I'm pretty passionate about exploring Old World styles of music and how they relate to our fiddles. 😊 

I've been lucky enough to run across a few musicians who try to keep much of this music alive, by promoting these lesser known traditional styles and making it more accessible to us fiddlers. 

I've been very impressed with the Beth Bahia Cohen workshops I attended at the last 3 Fiddle Hell Festivals! 

"A Life Story Through Strings" - Beth Bahia Cohen.

 

 

Beth Bahia Cohen is a violinist of Syrian Jewish and Russian Jewish heritage. Inspired at a young age by the sounds she heard at family gatherings, she went on to study with master musicians from Hungary, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. She plays the violin, viola, Greek lyras, Turkish bowed tanbur and kabak kemane, Norwegian hardingfele, and Egyptian rababa. 

Beth is a founding member of the Greek ensemble Ziyiá, a frequent teacher with the Eastern European Folklife Center, and an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, where she leads the Berklee Greek Ensemble and the Berklee Global Strings Ensemble.

Beth also plays some beautiful Yayli Tanbur....

- Emily

  

one could stay busy studying on the first piece she played.   several different bow and fingering techniques in that.

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

Yep, great tune... trying to get around to it. (lol) 

Love the over-reach-trill-vibrato that's used in a lot of Klezmer. 

 

...I've just been trying to understand the bigger picture of this music, that Beth only eluded to in her workshops, but think I'm done for now, because I found Maqam World - that describes the peculiarities of each Jins and each of the Maqam Families.

For Hijaz, it's important to know Jins Hijaz is the Root Jins of the Maqam Hijaz Family - and the Maqam Hijaz is the main Maqam in the Family. 

For the rest of the Maqam Families, I think it's good to just get acquainted with the Root Jins of each to get started, because Ajnas (plural of Jins) are building blocks.  They are usually tetrachords, but the 1st note is NOT always the tonic! 

Think I have the general idea of what's going on, so far - but what's crazy, is figuring the microtones described!  Grateful I can just listen. 😊

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