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Beyond East and West: Developing and Documenting an Evolving Transcultural Musical Practice

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - Integrating Turkish (Beyond East and West: Developing and Documenting an Evolving Transcultural Musical Practice)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2021-08-31

This project systematises practical processes essential for the creation of a new, East-West strand of contemporary music and opera. Its tripartite approach of workshop-ethnography-theory combining with public events will offer a new model for transcultural praxis, while opening a door to the world for deeper understanding of Turkey’s exquisite musical traditions. Workshops and public performances--culminating in a team-authored book and the premiere of two chamber operas--will map out entirely new ways of bridging respective cultures, with the aim of creating music not of East or West, but simultaneously above and beyond both.
Chamber Opera #1: Deniz Küstü - The Sea-Crossed Fisherman (2016)
Total Music Theatre in four scenes. Simon Jones, Libretto/director. Zeynep Tanbay, choreography. NOHlab, video performance. Premiered June 11, 2016, Istanbul Music Festival, Hezarfen Ensemble, Gwion Thomas, Robyn Allegra Parton, Damian Thantrey, Louise Innes, Adam Green, Michael Rafferty, conductor. Including ney, kanun and kemençe, and Turkish percussion, with Hezarfen and Western voices. Based on 1978 novel of Yaşar Kemal. (75’)

Studio sessions recorded of Turkish Instruments for final book, ITI: 31 Oct-7 Nov 2017 Istanbul: MIAM
Kanun, Ney, Klasik kemençe, Tanbur, Kemane, Rebab, Dengbej voice, Folk voice (various regions), Baglama, Zurna, Erbane Drum, Karadeniz Kemençe, Tulum , Ud, Kurdish Kanun

Amanda Bayley has documented all of the above workshops, rehearsals, performances and recordings involving Turkish Instruments, collecting extensive ethnographic data on video and audio recordings and being present during all workshops and rehearsals. These papers begin to develop an ethnographic model based on observations of rehearsals and workshops involving composers and performers. Analysing performative vocabularies derived from the discourse and practice of musicians reveals how ideas are transmitted, translated and developed through words, sounds and movement. Specific melodic, rhythmic and timbral characteristics are adopted, or adapted and transformed through dialogic processes. The model develops ideas surrounding authorship, orality and literacy, and interaction and communication between musicians. It examines the creative flow generated through dialogue and musicking and identifies the processes of translation underpinning rich transformations of musical technique and expression. Materials was being translated and edited.
Sketches of Ethnographic model are underway as expected.

Simon Jones (University of Bristol) completed the Libretto on Yasar Kemal’s Deniz Küstü and delivered ahead of schedule in December 2015, revised in March, 2016. Dramaturgy of Simon Jones completed same time as libretto; modified slightly to coalesce with Zeynep Tanbay’s choreography in production process. It should be noted he also directed the opera, including the collaboration between the Turkish elements in the overall production. Staging delivered in two performances on June 11, 2016 in Istanbul.

Robert Reigle (ITÜ) has recorded Dengbej singers in Eskisehir. March, 2017 (instead of Diyarbakir—the musicians were from Diyarbakir. (Robert Reigle, Argun Çakır)*
Dr. Reigle has also been instrumental in organization of the Creating Music Across Cultures conference this may, in MIAM.
He has done work finding specialised technical equipment for analysis (Electroglottograph).

Argun Çakır is responsible for the website, all video production, and for all studio recordings now being prepared for publication. He is also coordinating different parties in the grant and facilitating the exchange of recorded material.
First Opera ever containing such seamless integration of the Turkish makam instruments, ney, kemençe and kanun successfully premiered in Istanbul, June 11, 2016; receiving excellent reviews, including from Opera magazine. Development beyond the State-of-the-Art in level of performance required from makam musicians in order to achieve such results, and in abilities of Hezarfen ensemble's 'western' instrumentalists to adjust to makam tunings and structures.
Makam musicians in Beyond East and West