Renowned Turkish musicians Ahmet Erdoğdular (vocals) and Münir Beken (ud) visited Carleton College for a three-day residency Feb. 17 – 19, conducting a lecture-demonstration, class visits and a music workshop that culminated in a concert on Saturday, Feb. 19 in the Concert Hall. There was a great sense of continuity in the program, which went from general academic discussion during the lecture to closer inspection of specific characteristics and genres in Turkish musical culture and their inter-relationships with Turkish society. The workshop offered Carleton students an opportunity to learn from these master musicians as well as experience a traditional Turkish musical learning process (the meşk system).
In particular, I found it extremely rewarding to discover how a different culture perceives and studies music in relation to Western methods, and the effects these had on the nature and character of Turkish musical performance. Many sources of literature reviewed in the “Ottoman and Turkish History through Music” class taught by Dr. Maureen Jackson became points of connection between academic discourse and the knowledge shared by the musicians, piecing together a unified and informed understanding of Turkish music.
I personally came away from the experience both encouraged and inspired – encouraged by a better comprehension and more dynamic interpretation of Turkish music and their performers, as well as inspired by the richness of the sound and complexity of these genres. Perhaps the greatest reward was the concert that concluded their residency – Ahmet Erdoğdular and Münir Beken’s performance was breathtaking and fittingly articulated the beauty and diversity of the Turkish musical art form. The musicians’ visit was sponsored by the Department of Middle Eastern Languages.