N. Oya Levendoğlu

Keywords: Cinuçen Tanrıkorur,composition in makam music,Turk music revolution,Buselim makam,analysis of makam


This study aims to evaluate Cinuçen Tanrıkorur's innovations in his relationship with tradition so as to identify the unique features in his use of makams, and to analyze the reflections of these features in his Buselik fantasia Kız Kulesi (Maiden's Tower).

The study also examines Tanrıkorur's position in the tradition vs. innovation debate that had, until recently, consumed the world of Turkish makam music, based on the polemical articles he penned for periodical publications and the books he authored. The innovative elements in his works are identified through a review of the Complete Works of Cinuçen Tanrıkorur, edited by B. Reha Sağbaş, and subsequently, Buselik fantasia Kız Kulesi is selected as representative of the innovative and unique identity of the composer. An analysis of makam is then conducted based on Cenk Güray's (2012) book "Bin Yılın Mirası, Makamı Var Eden Döngü: Edvar Geleneği" ("A Legacy of Thousand Years, the Cycle that Gives Rise to Makam: The Tradition of Adwar"), with particular focus on the percentage of the tones, the sound fields, the central tones, and the types of movements between the central and satellite tones. The makam transitions and the tones through which these transitions are achieved are analyzed, and the way the composer practiced the Buselik makam are examined in terms of its relationship with tradition and its innovative aspects.

In his articles and other writings, which reflect his strong sense of loyalty to tradition and his sharp style, Tanrıkorur makes it clear that his approach to innovation in makam music were based on the Ottoman identity, and argues that the musical innovations Atatürk desired were at odds with what actually took place in his era. The articles he penned for Musiki Mecmuası reflect his consistent criticism of the current situation in Turkish music. His style of innovation when composing makam music also meant making active use of "superior expressions", as the discourse of musical reform called for in new music. Tanrıkorur was second only to Münir Nurettin in his use of Yahya Kemal's poems as lyrics for his works, and he composed many other works that made use of the tradition of classical poetry. Buselik fantasia Kız Kulesi is just one of his many works that showcases the composer's unusual choice of lyrics, and represents the idea of working with unusual topics in the production of descriptive works. As such, Tanrıkorur serves simultaneously both Turkish makam music and Turkish cultural history.

In terms of makam, he follows the overall structure of the traditional Buselik makam, supplemented with innovative and original melodies reflecting his own compositional style. Other features of this work that are rare in traditional works and that reflect Tanrıkorur's innovative approach include rhythm structures that add a semi-recitative sound, the frequent use of third intervals and, toward the end, polyphonic arrangements.