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Unit information: Musics of Asia: Turkey in 2015/16

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Unit name Musics of Asia: Turkey
Unit code MUSI29007
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Ellison
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This course combines a practicum in Turkish makam (a melodic modal system stretching from Central Asia to North Africa and the Balkans) with its contextualization within Turkish-Ottoman culture, and by its comparison with the rich musical traditions of China, Japan, Indonesia, and the Indian subcontinent. Extensive listening and weekly readings are designed to investigate the richness and quality of Asian musical systems and repertoire.

Students will learn to perform short ilahis (hymns, in Turkish), and T�rk� (folksongs) in several makams, will learn a variety of usuls (rhythmic cycles) on bendir (frame drum) and will have the opportunity to improvise. In the final week, we will explore and critique the contemporary phenomena of 'fusion' and 'crossover' projects involving Asian musics appearing in Europe and, especially, Istanbul. Students engagement with non-Western musical perspectives will develop increased awareness and understanding of the diversity of the 21st-century musical landscape.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable you to:

  • Perform selections in Turkish makam, playing usul while singing, or performing on an instrument, with an understanding of the behavior and functioning of basic musical materials involved
  • Gain a basic grounding in the musical languages and systems of Asia that have had the most impact on musicians globally, outside their original context
  • Contextualize these musics both in its traditional roots and in how it survives and thrives today in a globalized market-driven world economy
  • Understand and explain the relationship between culture and politics in Turkey with critical awareness grounded in both broader Turkish history and consequent changes in music wrought by notation, recording, etc.
  • Transcribe and analyse a chosen work for class discussion or assessed essay, using 20th century Turkish notation
  • Have a good up-to-date working knowledge of main English-language secondary sources, and an idea of trends in current ethnomusicological scholarship
  • Gain a secure foothold in the issues--musical, cultural, historicalof one or more non-western musical traditions and awareness of conceptions of music differing greatly from the 'autonomous work' paradigm so ingrained in the west
  • Be able to research and present an essay in a standard musicological format

And additionally (specific to Level H) to:

  • incorporate a consistently strong grasp of detail with respect to content
  • Argue effectively and at length (including an ability to cope with complexities and to describe and deploy these effectively)
  • Display to a high level skills in selecting, applying, interpreting and organising information, including evidence of a high level of bibliographical control
  • Describe, evaluate and/or challenge current scholarly thinking
  • Discriminate between different kinds of information, processes, interpretations
  • Take a critical stance towards scholarly processes involved in arriving at historical knowledge and/or relevant secondary literature
  • Engage with relevant theoretical, philosophical or social constructs for understanding relevant works or traditions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of concepts and an ability to conceptualise
  • Situate material within relevant contexts (invoking interdisciplinary contexts where appropriate)

Teaching Information

The unit will comprise 10 x 2-hour classes which will involve a mixture of lectures, seminars, listening, discussion, video viewing and hands-on rehearsal. In addition to subject content, this unit will attempt to focus also on skills involved in handling information, contextualizing it, analysing it effectively and presenting it coherently.

Assessment Information

Assessment of this unit takes the form of ONE coursework essay of c.3000 words (50%) and a 2-hour examination (50%). The coursework essay must be chosen from the list below. You will be required to answer TWO questions in the examination (both will carry equal weighting).

Reading and References

All students are expected to carry out database and catalogue searches for articles and other books not listed here.

Books on Reserve in the Short Loan Collection (either 24-hour or 3-day loan) Arts and Social Sciences Library:

  • Dani�lou, Alain. The Raga-s of Northern Indian Music. London: Barrie and Rockliff (1968).
  • Davison, Roderick H. Turkey: A Short History.

Walkington, England: The Eothen Press; 3rd edition (1998).

  • Feldman, Walter. Music of the Ottoman Court

Berlin, VWB (1996).

  • Galliano, Luciana. Yogaku: Japanese Music in the Twentieth Century. Trans. Martin Mayes. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press (2002).
  • Hammarlund, Anders, et al. Sufism, Music and Society in Turkey and the Middle East (Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul Transactions Volume 10)

Routledge; illustrated edition. (2001).

  • Herbst, Edward. Voices in Bali. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press (1997).
  • Jones, Stephen. Folk Music in China: Living Instrumental Traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press (1995).
  • Keene, Donald. 'The Pleasures of NM, Music and Dance in the Plays,' from NM and Bunraku: Two Forms of Japanese Theatre, p. 13-27, p. 68-73. New York: Columbia University Press (1990).
  • Levin, Theodore. The Hundred Thousand Fools of God: Musical Travels in Central Asia. Indiana: Indiana University Press (1996).
  • Light, Nathan. Intimate Heritage: Creating Uyghur Muqam Song in Xinjiang. Berlin: Lit Verlag (2008).
  • McQueen Tokita, Hughes, David W., eds. The Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese Music. Hampshire: Ashgate (2008). (Oversize)
  • McPhee, Colin. Music in Bali: A Study in Form and Instrumental Organization in Balinese Orchestral Music, New Haven: Yale University Press (1966).
  • Menon, Raghava R. The Sound of Indian Music: A Journey into Raga. New Delhi: Indian Book Company (1976).
  • Naroditskaya, Inna. Song from the Land of Fire: Azerbaijanian Mugam in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Periods (Current Research in Ethnomusicology: Outstanding Dissertations). New York: Routledge (2002).
  • Picken, Laurence and Nickson, No�l. Music from the Tang Court, 7: Some Ancient Connections Explored. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2000).
  • Qureshi, Regula. Sufi Music of India and Pakistan.

Oxford: Oxford University Press (1992)

  • Ruckert, George. Music of North India. Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press (2005).
  • Schippers, Huib. Facing the Music: Shaping Music Education from a Global Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2010).
  • Shutaro, Miyake. Kabuki Drama. Tokyo: Japan Travel Bureau (1961).
  • Signell, Karl. Makam.

Maryland: Usul Editions (2008).

  • Stokes, Martin: The Arabesk Debate

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

  • Tenzer, Michael. Balinese Music.

Hong Kong: Periplus Editions (1998).

  • Tenzer, Michael. Gamelan Gong Kebyar: The Art of Twentieth-Century Balinese Music. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press (2003).
  • Wade, Bonnie. Music in Japan: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press (2005).
  • Yung, Rawski, Watson, eds. Harmony and Counterpoint: Ritual Music in Chinese Context. Stanford: Stanford University Press (1996).