Reflections of Ara Dinkjian’s Musical Identity onto His Works in Popular Turkish MusicAli Önal, Esra Berkman
This study examines 20 musical pieces belonging to Ara Dinkjian, an Armenian composer in America living in the Armenian American diaspora, that were added to the Popular Turkish Music repertoire from the 1980s to the present along the axis of his musical identity. Dinkjian was raised with polyphonic church hymns in the Armenian Apostolic Church to which he was affiliated. At this same time, he was also put in touch with Anatolian folk music thanks to his father, the Paris-born Onnik Dinkjian with roots in Diyarbakır. Dinkjian may be viewed as a musician who, in addition to his other compositions, tried to keep his Diyarbakır roots intact through the works he added to the popular Turkish music repertoire and that have modal and makambased elements. The study will examine the effects of Ara Dinkjian’s musical identity on popular Turkish music compositions. His closeness to Anatolian folk music, growing up in the Armenian Apostolic Church, and living in the Armenian American diaspora are thought to have contributed greatly to the formation of Ara Dinkjian’s musical identity. In addition to various evaluations of the elements that create his identity, this study also conducts a harmonic, modal, and makam analysis of his works. Of the 20 musical pieces from Dinkjian this study analyzes, 15 make direct use of makam intervals. Three other pieces resemble makams, although they are composed in a tonal context (i.e., Turkish makam abstraction using a tonal system). The remaining two musical pieces have been composed in minor keys. Based on the findings, the study suggests Dinkjian’s musical identity to have been affected by his knowledge of the makam music he had taken from the Armenian Apostolic Church and his father, which are generally reflected onto all his compositions, particularly onto his works found in popular Turkish music.
Ara Dinkjian’ın Müzikal Kimliğinin Türk Popüler Müziği Besteciliği Üzerindeki YansımalarıAli Önal, Esra Berkman
Bu çalışmada, Ermeni bir besteci olan ve Amerika diasporasında yaşayan Ara Dinkjian’ın 1980’li yıllardan günümüze dek Türk Popüler Müziği dağarına kattığı 20 adet eser, kendisinin müzikal kimliği ekseninde incelenmiştir. Dinkjian, bağlı olduğu Ermeni Apostolik Kilisesi’nde çoksesli kilise ilahileri ile yetişmiştir. Aynı zamanda babası Diyarbakır kökenli Paris doğumlu Onnik Dinkjian sayesinde Anadolu halk müziği ile bağlantı kurmuştur. Diğer bestelerinin yanı sıra Türk Popüler Müziği repertuarına kattığı, makamsal ve modal öğeler taşıyan eserleri aracılığıyla da Diyarbakır kökeni ile bağlarını sağlam tutmaya gayret etmiş bir sanatçı olarak görülebilir. Öncelikli olarak bu çalışmada Ara Dinkjian’ın müzikal kimliğinin, Türk Popüler Müziği besteleri üzerindeki etkileri incelenecektir. Köken itibariyle Anadolu halk müziğine yakınlığının, Ermeni Apostolik kilisesinde yetişmesinin ve Amerikan Ermeni diasporasında yaşamasının Ara Dinkjian’ın müzikal kimliğinin oluşmasında büyük katkılar sağladığı düşünülmektedir. Ayrıca kimliğini oluşturan öğelere dair çeşitli değerlendirmelere ek olarak eserlerinin armonik, modal ve makamsal analizleri de konuyu irdelemek için çalışmada yer bulmuştur. Dinkjian’ın çalışmada analiz edilen 20 eserinin 15’inde bizatihi makamsal aralıkları kullandığı, üçünü soyutlamalı yani tonal düzlemde ancak makam andırmalı olarak ele aldığı, geri kalan iki eserini ise minör karakterde bestelediği tespit edilmiştir. Dolayısıyla müzikal kimliğini inşa ederken kendisini etkileyen, Apostolik kilisesinden edindiği makamsallık ile babasından aktarılan makam bilgilerinin genel olarak tüm bestelerine özel olarak Türk Popüler Müziği alanına yansıdığı düşünülmektedir.
This study examines 20 musical pieces of Ara Dinkjian, an Armenian composer living in the Armenian American diaspora, that were added to the popular Turkish music repertoire from the 1980s to the present along the axis of his musical identity. Ara Dinkjian has a versatile culture and musical life, and associating his Anatolian roots with his music production is a proper approach. Dinkjian inherited the makam-based elements of folk music in his works from his father, Onnik Dinkjian, who is connected to the Ottoman/Turkish music musician Nishan Serkoyan and his antecedent Krikor Mehteryan in the meşk [practice] line. Onnik received his deep-rooted Turkish maqam music education from Nishan Serkoyan in accordance with this meşk practice. This makam-based education is clearly observable in Ara Dinkjian, whose choice and frequent use of maqams such as the Uşşak, Hicaz, Hüseyni, and Saba maqams prove this.
This study also examines Ara Dinkjian’s musical identity in the context of religion. The reason for this review is because of Ara Dinkjian’s position within the Armenian Apostolic Church. Ara Dinkjian is not only a member of the church congregation, but according to him he has also been a church organist for 42 years in the Armenian Apostolic Church in New Jersey, USA. Ara Dinkjian also played the organ on the album Havadamk, a hymnal album he made for his father. The fact that the music in the Armenian Apostolic Church contains polyphonic and monophonic examples and Ara Dinkjian stating that the music of Gomidas is an “inseparable part of our culture” during the study’s interview with him led this study to consider Armenian church music. The fact that the sharaghan [hymns] used in Armenian church music had originally been devoted to folk music more than polyphony studies and that the polyphony works were carried out within the clear rules of the church in terms of the construction of a “cultural and national identity” has resulted in the study drawing attention to the polyphonic works of Gomidas and Yegmalyan. When looking at the maqams of the monophonic works used in Armenian Apostolic Church rituals, Ara Dinkjian’s use of the Hüseyni, Uşşak, Hicaz, Nikriz, and Saba genus of makams proves that this use has been engraved in the memory of the makams coming from these rituals and is the source of the works he currently composes. For this reason, Dinkjian’s maqam works are revealed to constitute a large percentage of his compositional language formation.
When considering that Ara Dinkjian composed five of his 20 works in Turkish pop music in Kürdi (akin to Phrygian mode) and eight in Uşşak mode (akin to Aolyan), the knowledge coming from his being a church organist and his close relationship with Armenian religious music is thought to also be reflected in his works. Another issue over which the study examines his musical identity is the Armenian diaspora. Ara Dinkjian is a member of the American Armenian Diaspora. His father is a member of the French Armenian Diaspora, having immigrated to France from Syria. This deep-rooted history of diaspora in the family has necessitated an examination of the diaspora issue, which currently has an important place in identity formation. The phenomenon of diaspora is one of the most important phenomena in terms of creating a common identity and cultural identity for the peoples living in a diaspora. In this context, Komitas’ effort to create a cultural identity also coincides with the diaspora issue. The concepts of “homeland” and “home” gain importance with regard to a diaspora. This is also seen in Onnik Dinkjian’s phrase “I am from Diyarbekir.” Onnik Dinkjian never lived in Diyarbakır but completely feels he his roots from Diyarbakır. This study can prove the importance of the concepts of “homeland” and “home” through the elements of Anatolian folk music, which are also seen in Ara Dinkjian’s music. Like his father, Ara Dinkjian has never lived in Turkey but has been influenced by its culture and music. Although he does not see himself as a bearer of tradition, this concept can be attributed to his father, Onnik Dinkjian.
When considered in the context of popular Turkish music, Ara Dinkjian’s music cannot be evaluated simply as arabesque or within the pop music of the period. The most important reason for this involves the lyrics that can be mentioned with expressions such as pathetic/painful/pushed/marginalized/crushed, as these emphasize the concept of otherness in the context of arabesque music. Even were there content about this concept, Ara Dinkjian cannot be held responsible for this because he is not the songwriter. He is known to only give his music to the performers, with Turkish songwriters determining the lyrics. However, the facts that the selected lyrics are specific to the arabesque genre and that the style of the performer includes arabesque-like elements gain importance when examining Ara Dinkjian’s works in popular Turkish music, because Ara Dinkjian is not actually responsible for this style choice.