“Mecmûa” dan Saz ve Söz. Alî UFKÎ


Kalan Music 296

1. Nikriz peşrev [4:32]
çeng, kopuz, kanun, ney, kemânçe, pest kemânçe, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

2. [3:13]
a) Aşk elinden âşıkı câm ile sahbâ söyledür / cumhur
b) Derd ile yâr oImuşam, nice dil virdim saña / Fikret Karakaya
kopuz, ney, kemânçe, nakkare, daire

3. Zâhid iş âhir oldu sûfi duaya başla / Ersin Çelik [0:52]
kopuz, ney, kemânçe, nakkare, daire

4. Çeng taksimi   [0:57]

5. Nişabur peşrev   [3:30]
çeng, kopuz, kanun, ney, kemânçe, santur, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

6. Gitdi eyyâm-ı şitâ, irişdi eyyâm-ı bahâr / Mehmet Kemiksiz [2:08]
çeng, kemânçe, şehrud, kanun, ney, nakkare, daire

7. Nedir bu itdüğüñ bana revâ mıdur yüzü gülşen / E. Çelik [2:35]
çeng, kemânçe, şehrud, mıskal, kanun, ney, nakkare, daire

8. Ey şeh-i melek cefâ ü cevr ile iñletme beni / F. Karakaya   [1:54]
çeng, kemânçe, şehrud, kanun, ney, nakkare, daire

9. Nişabur Sazende semaisi  [5:13]
çeng, kopuz, kanun, ney, kemânçe, santur, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

10. Kemânçe taksimi   [0:57]

11. Buselik peşrev   [2:42]
çeng, kopuz, kanun, ney, kemânçe, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

12. Nice vasf itsüñ o şûhu dil-i hoş-dem ne disüñ / M. Kemiksiz [2:32]
kanun, kemânçe, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

13. Ey göñüI aşkıñ sarayın yıkdı bir nâ-mihriban / E. Çelik   [2:10]
kanun, kemânçe, mıskal, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

14. Aşiran-buselik Sazende semaisi   [3:24]
kopuz, kanun, ney, kemânçe, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

15. Ney taksimi   [1:14]

16. Kadir Allah kalem çekmiş saña iki kaş yerine / E. Çelik   [2:34]
kopuz, kanun, ney, mıskal, şehrud, nakkare, daire

17. Yine ayrı düşdüm yârden / M. Kemiksiz   [1:47]
kopuz, kanun, ney, mıskal, şehrud, nakkare, daire

18. Sensüz bu göñül meclis-i iyş ü demi n'eyler / F. Karakaya   [1:37]
kopuz, kanun, ney, şehrud, nakkare, daire

19. Kanun taksimi   [1:08]

20. Zülf-i anber-bârinuñ âşüftesidür rüzgâr / M. Kemiksiz   [1:00]
çeng, santur, ud, ney, kemânçe, pest kemânçe, nakkare, daire

21. Şehâ zülfüñ beni divâne kıldu / E. Çelik   [1:07]
çeng, santur, ud, ney, kemânçe, pest kemânçe, nakkare, daire

22. Vefa gelmek muhâl oldu nîgâr-ı, dil-pesendimden / F. Karakaya   [1:11]
santur, ud, ney, kemânçe, pest kemânçe, nakkare, daire

23. Her sabah çıkar yolu beklerim / cumhur [2:09]
çeng, kopuz, kanun, santur, ney, mıskal, kemânçe, pest kemânçe, nakkare, daire

24. Hüseyni Sazende semaisi   [4:47]
çeng, kopuz, kanun, santur, ney, kemânçe, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

25. Kopuz taksimi   [1:12]

26. Cânâ beni hicrân ile künc-i gama salma / F. Karakaya   [1:26]
ud, ney, kemânçe, şehrud, nakkare, daire

27. Tâ ezelden derd-i aşka mübtelâdur göñlümüz / E. Çelik   [0:57]
ud, ney, kemânçe, şehrud, nakkare, daire

28. Reing-i rûy-i gül-zâri tebâh eyledi bülbül / M. Kemiksiz   [2:12]
ud, ney, kemânçe, şehrud, nakkare, daire

29. Irak Sazende semaisi   [3:15]
çeng, kopuz, kanun, santur, ney, kemânçe, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

30. Şehrud ve santur taksimi [1:50]

31. Aks-i rûy-i yâr ile pürdür derûn-i sinemiz / E. Çelik [1:29]
çeng, ney, şehrud, nakkare, daire

32. Barekâllah hoş yaratmış, gülse halk âlem güler / M. Kemiksiz   [1:56]
çeng, kopuz, kanun, ney, şehrud, daire

33. Gel kâkülüñü gerdanima ser meded / cumhur   [1:11]
çeng, kanun, ney, pest kemânçe, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

34. Ceng-i Harbi   [2:03]
kopuz, kanun, ney, kemânçe, santur, ud, şehrud, nakkare, daire

Fikret Karakaya

Fikret Karakaya - çeng
Birol Yayla - tanbur, kopuz
A. Senol Filiz - ney
İhsan Özer - santur
Serap A. Çağlayan - kanun
Kâmil Bilgin - daire
Tugay Başar - mıskal, nakkare
Kemla Caba - kemânçe
Osman Kırklıçı - şehrud
Akgün Çöl - ud
Canân Altınay - kemânçe
Mehmet Kemiksiz - canto
Ersin Çelik - ud

Bezmârâ, was founded in 1996 by Fikret Karakaya, to give voice to peşrevs and semâis of the sixteenth and seventeenth century which were found in the volume Kitâbü İlmü'I-Musiki `alâ Vechi'I-Hurûfât ("Book for Teaching Music by Means of Letters") by Kantemiroğlu (1673-1723), on musical instruments in use at the time they were composed. Of the musical instruments of the period during which Kantemiroğlu transcribed the pieces, only the ney, nakkare (kudüm) and daire were still in use in modern times. The rest were teetering on the brink of obscurity, known only from miniatures and a few traces left behind in written sources. Thus they had to be reconstructed, both -with the "old" or "early" music approach that has developed in Europe- to perform the works with the musical instruments and practice of the time they were composed; and -by bringing lost sounds back to life- to introduce new possibilities to those searching for sound qualities they have never heard.

Aside from two mıskals found in the Topkapı Palace Museum, the oldest Ottoman musical instrument to survive to our time is from the nineteenth century. The favorite musical instruments of the sixteenth century, the kopuz, şehrud and çeng, have long since disappeared. The mıskal, which continued to be used until the end of the eighteenth century, is the oldest Ottoman musical instrument of which any examples have survived to our day. The ud, kanun, and tanbur, though they are used today, were quite different in their construction 350-400 years ago, and we have no surviving examples of these old instruments. The situation is the same for the santur, which we no longer use today. The santurs existing in a few private collections are quite different from their Ottoman counterparts in construction. The kemânçe, known as rebab since the end of the eighteenth century, and which is not played in classical Turkish music ensembles, has changed in terms of stringing and tuning. The ney, which has had an important position in every era, has been preserved to our day with the addition of the başpare, or mouthpiece, which was added in the sixteenth century by the Ottoman musicians. The daire and nakkare (kudüm) are percussion instruments that remain almost unchanged.

Of these instruments, Bezmârâ has had the çeng, kopuz, şehrud, old tanbur, old ud, old kanun, kemânçe and mıskal reconstructed, relying on miniatures and written sources and remaining faithful to their characteristics during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Bezmârâ has carefully chosen its performers for each musical instrument. Performers of the ney, daire and kudüm participated in the ensemble using their own musical instruments. The ensemble worked hard for over a year to assimilate the spirit, both of the pieces to be performed, and of the musical instruments themselves; and gave their first concert in early 1998 at the French Palace in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. The concert was held there because of the support Fikret Karakaya had received for this project from the French Anatolian Research Institute. Later on, after several concerts at home and abroad, Bezmârâ's first album, Splendours of Topkapı was released in France in 1999. The name of their second album, released in 2000 by Kalan Music, Yitik Sesin Peşinde (In Search of the Lost Sound), reflects Bezmârâ's mission. Both albums contain peşrevs and instrumental semâîs transcribed by Kantemiroğlu.

In 1999, Bezmârâ, beginning work on instrumental and vocal pieces from a compilation known as Mecmûa-i Saz ü Söz by Ali Ufkî Beğ (1610 ?-1675 ?), took on two vocalists. The thirty-plus pieces taken from Mecmüa were heard for the first time at a concert of the Second Istanbul Festival in 2000. The majority of the pieces in this album were performed at that concert. In later concerts, Bezmârâ performed vocal and instrumental works taken from both Kantemiroğlu's volumes and from Ali Ufkî Beğ.

Dimitrie Cantemir, better known in Ottoman sources as Kantemiroğlu, was born in 1673 in Jassy, a town now in Romania. His father Constantin was the governer of Moldavia. Dimitrie spent his youth in Istanbul, began his education in his own hometown and continued in Istanbul where he spent nearly twenty-one years. Along with several western languages, he learned the major eastern languages as well, starting with Turkish and adding Arabic and Persian. He had a liking for Turkish music, and in the manner of the Ottoman composers who were his teachers and whose works he transcribed, he was successful enough to compose great works himself. A writer of important books on Ottoman history, Islam and Arabic, with his Kitâbü İlmü'I-Musiki `alâ Vechi'I-Hurûfât, known for short as Kantemiroğlu Edvârı (the Cantemir Treatise), he assured the survival to our day of over 350 instrumental pieces of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which he transcribed in a notation system he devised himself. In 1710 Cantemir was appointed governer of Moldavia by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III. There he worked with the dream of uniting Wallachia and Moldavia and bringing them independence. For this reason he formed an alliance with Russia against the Ottoman Empire. However during his governorship's seventh month, the Russians were defeated by the Ottomans in the Prussian War, and he fled to Russia, where Czar Peter II treated him with great respect. One of the founders of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences and Arts, Cantemir was also chosen in 1714 as a member of the Berlin Academy. In 1723 he died in Harkov, when he was only fifty years old.

In the first section of his book, Kitâbü İlmü'I-Musiki âlâ Vechi'I-Hurûfât, he gives information on makams, tones, rhythms and fine points of performance. This information is precious for knowledge it provides for the Ottoman music of the period. The second section contains peşrevs and semâîs -a portion of which are his own compositions- written in his own notation. Some of these were pieces that Ali Ufkî had composed some fifty years earlier. But this repetition is by no means a waste of space. As it allows us to examine the small changes that had occurred in the intervening fifty years, this overlap can be considered a fortunate coincidence.

Ali Ufkî
Born in 1610 in Lwów, Poland, to a noble family, Ali Ufkî's real name was Vojciech Bobowski. Taken prisoner of war and brought to Istanbul, and later taken to the Palace, Bobowski became a Muslim and took the name Ali Ufkî. He knew several western languages, and in the Sultan's palace learned Arabic, Persian and Turkish. Possessed of great musical talent, he had in his own country learned to read music and transcribed several musical pieces. He loved Ottoman music, learned all of its subtleties, and wrote compositions of his own. The collection of notation he left behind consisted of over 650 vocal and instrument works. He died in Istanbul in 1675.

In his compilation, which he wrote in the mid seventeenth century and titled Mecmûa-i Sâz ü Söz, Ali Ufkî included, along with vocal and instrumental pieces he learned at the Sultan's court, compositions of his own. In the Mecmûa, in which a great deal of space is given to peşrevs, instrumental semâîs and dance melodies, there are also a great many examples of vocal styles such as murabba, vocal semâî, varsağı, and türkî, and religious/mystic pieces such as ilahi and tesbih. This album, written in western notation of the period, is the oldest surviving document of written notation, not only of Ottoman music but very nearly of western music as well. Ali Ufkî used the western notation system with some modifications: he transcribed the majority of the pieces in C(Do) clef; but at the head of the staff, instead of the C clef he wrote the Arabic/Ottoman letter djim. Because the lyrics of vocal pieces were written in Ottoman Turkish from right to left, he wrote the notes also from right to left, contrary to European habit. He also adapted this same practice to instrumental works. Because of this, today's musicians cannot read Ali Ufkî's notation easily. On top of the differences mentioned above, consider the fact that in place of quarter and eighth notes, he used longer-value second and whole notes; and the importance of converting this notation into a form easily readable by today's musicians is appreciable. A copy of the notation from Mecmûa-i Sâz ü Söz, probably taken from Istanbul while Ali Ufkî was still alive, is kept in the British Museum. This writing, which is of such great importance to Turkish music, has only attracted the attention of Turkish musicians and musicologists during the last twenty-five years. The first complete transcription of the Mecmûa, worked on by Muammer Uludemir and Gültekin Oransay was published in 1998 by Hakan Cevher.

Fikret Karakaya
İstanbul, April 2003
(Translated by Bob Beer)

Alî Ufki and Bezmârâ
The Mecmûa-i Sâz ü Söz ("Collection of Instrumental and Vocal Works") by the captive and converted Pole, Wojciech Bobowski (1610-1675), who took the Turkish name Ali Ufkî, was completed in 1650 and reflects the years when its author was working as a slave-musician at the Ottoman court, probably from 1632 to 1651. Bobowski was born in Lwów, the capital of Galicia, known as Poland's "gateway to the Orient," a center of trade with the Black Sea territories and the Balkans. The Orient had a musical presence in Lwów, where popular music of a Balkanic nature, played on the bowed fyra (syrbska) and cimbal (a European relative of the santur), was widely heard in this period (Gifford, 2001, p. 105). Bobowski, probably the son of a gentry family, was given a Western musical education, but his instrument, the cimbal was part of the milieu of this popular Eastern, rather than Western music (known in Poland as "Italian music"). He had evidently learned staff notation in his youth, and this knowledge enabled him to attain the rank of erbaşı in the Saray, conducting the chorus of the içoğlans. After being freed from his job as a slave-musician, he later became the second interpreter for the Court. At some point he became a dervish of the Celvetî Order. Respected widely for his learning and in particular his knowledge of languages, Bobowski/Ali Ufki was well-known to European ambassadors, merchants and travelers.

While Bobowski wrote several other works, including musical settings for the Biblical Psalms (Behar, 1990) and a brief description of the Saray and its musical life, his major significance rests on this Mecmûa (for descriptions see Popescu-Judetz:1973; Elçin 1976; Behar 1990; Wright 1988; detailed comparisons of the transcriptions of Bobowski and Cantemir appear in Feldman 1996, pp.. 339-391). Two copies of the Mecmûa exist today, one in the British Museum in London and the other in the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris.

The Mecmûa is a collection or musical anthology, without a treatise. It contains over three hundred pages of rather idiosyncratic western staff notation written right to left and the texts of the vocal pieces. There are 195 instrumental pieces, of which 145 are peşrevs and 40 are semâîs. Bobowski evidently wrote this work for himself alone, and not for a patron. The great value of Bobowski's collection lies in its inclusion of a broad repertoire, including vocal fasıl and Sufi compositions. While a significant portion of the instrumental peşrev repertoire of the Mecmûa appears also in the Collection of Prince Demetrius Cantemir (Kantemiroğlu), written around 1700, the Mecmûa is the only seventeenth century notated document for the murabba beste, vocal semâî and ilâhî (dervish hymn), as well as specimens of several popular genres such as türkü, ozanlama and şarkı (on the mehterhane cf. Sanal 1961). Strangely the vocal form kâr, which was well-known in the seventeenth century, fails to appear in the Mecmûa.

Since the Mecmûa is fifty years older than the Collection of Cantemir it does not reflect the changes taking place at the end of the seventeenth century, which would lead into the style of Turkish classical music known from modern times. Rather, it preserves a unique moment in the history of Turkish music when the international medieval Islamic style, centered in Iran, was no longer current in Turkey, and the music of the Court drew closer to the music of the people. The majority of the items in the Mecmûa utilize the most basic makams, in the following order of frequency: 1. Hüseyni 2. Muhayyer 3. Rast 4. Neva, Acem 5. Segâh 6. Irak, Uşşak 7. Uzzal, Hisar 8. Mahur, Aşiran-Buselik 9. Bayati, Evç 10. Nikriz, Nişabur.

During the 1960s the Mecmûa was a source for two major studies in Turkey, Gültekin Oransay's "Ali Ufkî ve Dinî Türk Musikisi" and Haydar Sanal's Mehter Musikisi. During the 1980s Ruhi Ayangil created choral performances of ilahi's from the Mecmûa with instrumental accompaniment as well as performances of a number of peşrevs. Bezmârâ's initiative, following their reconstruction of the instrumental music in the Cantemir Collection in the late 1990s, aims at a recreation of the entire courtly fasıl with original instruments.

The structure of the fasıl in the reign of Murad IV (r. 1623-1640), the major musical patron of Ali Ufkî, is not clearly known. By the end of the century a formal "fasl-ı meclis" existed, in which the pieces and improvisations were performed in a fixed order, namely: one or two peşrevs; instrumental and vocal taksims; beste, kâr, vocal semâî], saz semâîsi, final taksims. The performance of Bezmârâ aims at this structure. Their instrumentation recreates the transitional period when the later medieval instruments were giving way to the more typically Ottoman Turkish ones. Thus the medieval Persian harp, the çeng and ancient kopuz, ud and şehrud lutes still existed alongside the newer tanbur, which came to replace them in the music of the Court. For legato instruments the ney, mıskal and rebab (keman) predominated. In the harp/zither family the dominant instruments were the santur and the kanun, using brass strings. Percussion had both the frame-drum daire and the small kettle-drum kudüm. Ali Ufkî's practice of transcribing the entire repertoire, and not only instrumental music, allows Bezmârâ the opportunity to perform the murabbas and semâî that constituted the substance of the fasıl. These performances by Bezmârâ allow the modern listener to gain some idea of the music of the Ottoman court in the early to mid seventeenth century, a rare opportunity and musical treat.

Walter Feldman
New York, November 2003

Behar, Cem - Ali Ufkî ve Mezmurlar. Pan Yayıncılık: İstanbul, 1990
Feldman, Walter - Music of the Ottoman Court: Makam, Composition and the Early Ottoman Instrumental Repertoire. Berlin: VWB, 1996
Gifford, Paul - The Hammered Dulcimer: A History. The Scarecrow Press: London, 2001
Oransay, Gültekin - "Ali Ufki ve Dinî Türk Musikisi". Dissertation, n.d.
Popescu-Judetz, Eugenia - Dimitrie Cantemir: cartea ştüntei muzicü. Editura Muzica la: Bucharest, 1973
Sanal, Haydar - Mehter Musikisi. Milli Eğitim Basımevi: İstanbul, 1961
Wright, Owen - "Aspects of Historical Change in the Turkish Repertoire." Musica Asiatica 5. Cambridge University Press, 1988