Spirituality and Music

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9 minutes

There is no doubt that the source of our music, which today is called Classical Turkish Music, Turkish Art Music, etc., is Sufism, also known as tekke music. For centuries, the steam of our music has smoked in dervish lodges, dervish lodges, lodges, dhikr and meşk assemblies. Unfortunately, where we are now is far from this source and is unaware of its existence. So much so that the work “Geçti sevdalarla lifetime”, which is a guest at entertainment tables today, was the result of a musician’s initiation to a sheikh. As can be seen in this work, which consists of the lyrics “My life has passed with loves, I have become old today / I have become bî-karâr today with my white hair / I have become spring today with a joy of love / I kissed the ground in your presence, I have become tajidâr today”, the desire to turn towards divine love is predominant with a decision taken in the old, that is, mature times of life, where youth comes and goes with worldly desires and human loves. This orientation has been formed by love, joy, peace and finally tajidarity has been granted. Tajidârlık means to wear a crown, and in Sufi poetry and music it means to become a dervish, to be initiated into a sheikh, to be attached to a tekke/tariq, to enter the path. The late Turkish clarinet virtuoso Şükrü Tunar composed this piece in the hüseynî makam, the lyrics belong to the late Hüseyin Sîret Efendi. The counterpart of this work in “Folk Music” is a Kırşehir folk song that Neşet Ertaş introduced to our music, compiled and notated by Nida Tüfekçi. This folk song, whose title is “Seher vakti çaldım yârin kapıısını”, tells how a dervish knocks on the door of the tarik in his heart and, like many of our folk songs, ends with important advice. This folk song, which includes the lyrics “The hearts are always the desire of the lover / the one who waits for the watch takes the watch / one should wait for the threshold of that sultan / one should ride a hundred thousand times a day”, ends with the admonition “It is not enough to reach the destination with this course / one should immediately get on the horse of love and ride”.

There are no classifications such as Classical and Folk in the origins of Turkish music. They are both the original property and work of this nation, both are based on the same sound system, makam-usul-instrument-form and poetry. The late Cinuçen Tanrıkorur eliminated this categorization by asking “Is there no folk in art music or no art in folk music?” as follows: “…He made me tired of my life, doesn’t he get tired of his cruelty? / Felekler burned from my pain, doesn’t my desire burn like a sham?” The city culture that says, “Don’t be proud of your fancy, are you Yusuf-u Ken’an?” and the village culture that responds, “Put a niqab on your mah face, I burned, let not the hand burn,” are at best brothers and sisters, not opposites. Of course, not for those who look at it in a separatist-divisive way, but for those who look at it in a complementary-embracing way…” (February 25, 1995)In Anatolia, families want to give their daughters to a Muslim man. When the girl’s heart is set on someone the family does not want and the family cannot get any results from the necessary research, a Turkish proverb comes into play: “He is ignorant of religion”. The poem of Eşrefoğlu Rûmî Hazret, who passed away in 1469, is like the deed of this proverb: “Loving you is my religion and my faith / Divine, do not separate religion from faith”. Proverbs draw their strength from life, poems from proverbs and songs from poems. Music without lyrics is bland no matter how impressive it is. Our region of Hatay has kept this proverb and poem in mind and has produced a folk song that is memorized by almost everyone who is interested in our music: “There is no snow and smoke on that mountain / there is no religion and faith in my beloved.”

In recent years, when we hear about the education system in Europe, we hear that children as young as four years old are taught through music, that illnesses are treated through music. In the Ottoman Empire, this was a system that began to be applied to every child who entered the fourth day of their fourth year, fourth month, fourth month… Now sounds, rhythms, tones are digitalized. It has become machine-made. The naturalness of the sound is lost. There is no channel other than TRT that protects our music, and there is no one left to tell young people about the history of Turkish music. When one starts to look through the books of old Istanbul and the memories of musicians, it will be seen that even in our call to prayer, besides religious and spiritual refreshment, there is a healing that is unique to music. In the past, the adhan recited by our muezzins used to be in certain makams. In his book “Üsküdar Ah Üsküdar”, the late Ahmed Yüksel Özemre describes the makams preferred by the muezzins of Üsküdar, which Yahya Kemal called “The city of those who see a great dream! / every city of the homeland remembers you with envy”, as follows: “The muezzins of Üsküdar would usually call the morning adhan in sabâ or dilkeşhâverân; the noon adhan in rast, hicâz; the afternoon adhan in uşşâk, hicâz, bayâtî; the evening adhan in segâh, dügâh, rast, hicâz; and the night adhan in rast, uşşâk, nevâ, bayâtî or hicâz.”

His golden age was III. Hammâmîzâde İsmâil Dede Efendi left his mark, so to speak, on the Turkish music of the Selim period. Unfortunately, he was the first one to get bored with the corruption. Because it was followed by the Second World War. The Mahmud period was a time when the deterioration of our music began in earnest. Dede Efendi was one of the musicians invited to the palace with great respect and reverence during this period. He became muezzinbaşı and was given a mansion as a gift. He was asked to “make use of western music” without hurting his heart and was told that he was expected to produce works in this direction. His composition “Again a gülnihal took this heart of mine” is a work of this period. When listened to over and over again, the western intuition in it is easily understood. This piece in Rast makam is like a waltz, so to speak, and Dede Efendi was not at all comfortable with it. Later, Dede Efendi, who was deeply saddened every time he thought of this work, could not bear it any longer and one day, while walking in the garden of the palace, he said to his student Dellâlzâde İsmâil, “This game has lost its flavor!” and set off on his pilgrimage. These were the years of Abdülmecid. In the palace organization that changed with the Mûsikâ-i Hümâyûn, Enderun lost its former importance, opera singers were invited to the palace, pianos and brass bands were ordered. Sultan Abdülmecid, although he had always respected Dede Efendi, was frustrated by his lack of interest in Turkish music and set off with Dede Efendi, Dellâlzâde İsmail Efendi and Mutafzâde Ahmed Efendi to fulfill his pilgrimage. According to some sources, after completing his mission, Dede Efendi contracted cholera, which was epidemic in Mecca at the time, and passed away in the arms of his student Dellâlzâde İsmail Efendi in Minâ on November 29, 1846, the first day of Eid al-Adha. Since his birthday fell on the Feast of Sacrifice, his father, Süleyman Aga, a Turkish bath owner, gave him the name İsmail. The funeral of Hz. He is at the feet of Khadija. The reason why he was called “Dede” is that after he was initiated into Ali Nutki Dede, the sheikh of Yenikapı Mevlevîhânesi in 1798, he entered a thousand and one days of “çile” at the age of twenty-one. III. Upon Selim’s summoning Dede to the palace, with Ali Nutki Dede’s permission, he joined the ranks of the “Dedeler” in 1799 (20 Shawwal 1213) before completing his ordeal period of one thousand and one days. Hammâmîzâde İsmâil Dede Efendi, one of the greatest names in Turkish music, was also raised in a tekke.

Cemil Meriç says, “In a society that has given up thinking about itself, culture is nothing but a residue, a mere detail.” As we begin to think about our music, it is possible to see where its source springs from. The labor of Mevlevism on our music has sustained this music for centuries. Although the greatest aim of the Mevlevis was to raise perfect human beings, they also supported people with many cultural activities as well as good morals, and the tekkes served as schools. Each tekke has borne almost the entire artistic burden of its space, neighborhood and even the neighborhood. Unfortunately, with the closure of the dervish lodges, our music regressed rather than staying where it was. Because those who kept records of this music, those who practiced it, were forcibly removed from society and left alone. It was not their personalities that were left alone, but our centuries-old music and literature. The metal grunts we listen to do not heal us because they are hollow, and it doesn’t take a specialization in music to understand this. As Hazrat Mawlana Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī said, “When the lid of the pot starts to rattle, you know what is cooking in it.”

Spirit and spirituality are the only elements that sustain human beings. These elements draw their strength from the eye and the ear. Whatever a person wants to see, whatever he or she seeks to read, whatever he or she loves to hear, that is what he or she resembles, that is what he or she is roasted and matures. The current pop music is at the root of the cultural destruction, especially among young people. But we have a music that has healed centuries and continents. In order to protect our spiritual values, we need to return to the original values of our music. Yahya Kemal’s famous poem “Eski Mûsıkî” (Old Music) begins: “Many people cannot understand our old music / and those who do not understand it cannot understand anything from us”. The end of the poem also describes the end of our music: “One hundred and fifty years, the mountains rise one by one / and then comes the glorious era of Dede / he made this music shine with his last power; / when he died, a magnificent sun set in the country.”

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