The Signature in Saygun’s Music: Chromatic Tetrachord or Chromatic Dorian ModeOrhan Veli Özbayrak
Adnan Saygun was a composer and an ethnomusicologist with significant research and publications. The relationship and interplay between these two identities of Saygun have been emphasized in works about him. Nevertheless, the theoretical bond between Saygun’s musical works and academic publications has not been scrutinized thoroughly. Based on the information that Saygun included in his various publications on ancient Greek modal theory, which he considered the fundamental theoretical source of Turkish folk music, this study aims to draw attention to and explain the special place of the “chromatic Dorian mode,” which he uses frequently from his earliest works onward. The author compiles the thoughts of Saygun and the people he interacted with during his education in Paris related to the subject and summarizes the necessary theoretical information to comprehend the place of the mode and its scale in ancient Greek modal theory. Then, the paper presents different usage types of the scale within examples from the composer’s selected works. Finally, the author makes determinations and comments about why and for what purpose Saygun may have used this scale. Considering the facts symbolized by the chromatic Dorian mode scale in the historical and ethnomusicological context and the fact that it is an indispensable sound material in Saygun’s œuvre, one can argue that this scale is a signature aspect of the composer’s music.
Saygun’un Müziğindeki İmza: Alaca Tetrakord veya Alaca Dor TöresiOrhan Veli Özbayrak
Besteciliğinin yanı sıra yapmış olduğu araştırma ve yayınlarla bir budun müzikbilimci kimliğine de sahip olan Adnan Saygun üzerine yapılan yayınlarda bu iki kimlik arasındaki ilişki ve etkileşim birçok kez vurgulanmış, ancak yapıtları ve yayınları arasındaki kuramsal bağ irdelenmemiştir. Bu çalışma, Saygun’un Türk halk müziğinin kuramsal açıdan ana kaynağı olarak gördüğü Antik Yunan mod kuramına ilişkin çeşitli yayınlarında yer verdiği bilgilerden yola çıkarak ilk yapıtından itibaren benimsediği ‘modal yazı’ içinde sıklıkla kullandığı ‘alaca Dor töre dizisinin’ bestecinin yapıtlarındaki varlığına dikkat çekmeyi ve özel konumunu açıklamayı amaçlamaktadır. Bu doğrultuda, Saygun’un Paris’teki öğrencilik yıllarında etkileşim içinde bulunduğu kişilerin ve kendisinin konuya ilişkin düşünceleri derlenmiş ve söz konusu dizinin Antik Yunan mod kuramındaki yerinin anlaşılabilmesi için gerekli kuramsal bilgiler özetlenmiştir. Ardından, bestecinin yapıt dizelgesine göre yaklaşık olarak her 10 yıllık dönemden seçilen yapıtlarında bu dizinin nasıl kullanıldığı verilen kesitlerle örneklendirilmiş ve son olarak bu diziyi neden ve hangi amaçla kullanmış olabileceğine ilişkin saptama ve yorumlar yapılmıştır. Alaca Dor töre dizisinin, tarihsel ve budun müzikbilimsel bağlam içinde simgeleştirdiği olgular ile Saygun’un yapıtlarında vazgeçilmez bir ses malzemesi olarak yer alması bir arada ele alındığında bu dizinin Saygun’un müziğindeki bir imza olduğunun savlanabileceği düşünülmektedir.
Adnan Saygun, a central figure of 20th-century Turkish music, was an active ethnomusicologist credited with multiple publications, as well as a prolific composer. Although the relationship between these two identities of Saygun has been emphasized many times in the studies on him, there has been no scholarly attention on the connection between the works and publications he left behind and no one has examined the theoretical origin of this connection in detail. This situation led to a common misconception that Saygun’s musical style could be summarized as a synthesis of Turkish folk music and Gregorian modes. However, Saygun explains the ancient Greek modal theory, which he sees as the primary historical source of the modal peculiarities of Turkish folk music and the basis of tetrachordal music. In his publications such as Töresel Musıki (Modal Music) and Musıki Temel Bilgisi (Fundamentals of Music), the content of which has been interestingly almost neglected in the publications on him, Saygun clearly showed how as a composer his personal understanding of and approach to music developed.
This study, pointing to the origins of the composer’s understanding of music and mode through the information he collected on ancient Greek modal theory, aims to draw attention to the existence and special place of a scale in his works, namely the chromatic Dorian mode scale. Saygun frequently used this scale in modal writing that he adopted since his Opus 1; this study attempted to explain why this scale might have been used as a sound material. The study is organized as follows: In the first section, the author explains the place and importance of modality in Saygun’s understanding and his works based on his own statements. Additionally, the section briefly describes the contents of three of his most remarkable publications on modes and the relationship of these publications with each other. The most notable detail about the mode scales in these publications is that Saygun always shows their pitches in descending order. This is an indication that Saygun points to the ancient Greek modal theory as constituting the theoretical origins of Turkish folk music. Then, the author examines the thoughts of Saygun’s Parisian circle, which might have enabled him to make this association. The thoughts and beliefs of this group are clearly conveyed, and thus, an intellectual proof of his modal understanding is demonstrated. In the second section, to understand the theoretical content and structure of the scale used by Saygun, a core element of this scale, the chromatic tetrachord, is compared with that of other genres. Afterward, the author explains the information that Saygun gives in Musıki Temel Bilgisi around the chromatic genre and about how the mode—or in his own term töre—scales are formed by combining two tetrachords and the contextual nomenclature or the Turkish equivalents he used for some terms. In the third section, the author explains the structural features of the chromatic Dorian mode scale, which is the only scale that is not formed by the diatonic tetrachord in Töresel Musıki, particularly considering why it is classified under the Dorian family, although Saygun did not provide any information on this subject. Afterward, to understand more clearly how this scale is used in Saygun’s works and in parallel with the information provided by him, the author presents a table containing the sub-genres that can be derived from this scale. The fourth section gives examples from the composer’s works, in which the aforementioned scale and tetrachord are used, and the author attempts to explain their usage patterns. The fact that the scale in question is included in Saygun’s works attributable to different periods and genres indicates that this scale was an indispensable, long-term material for the composer. In the fifth section, the author presents possible cultural and ethnomusicological justifications for why the composer might have used this scale. The author’s comments reflect both the inconsistencies of the 2nd and 6th scale degrees as a result of Saygun’s folk music collection trip with Bartók and the information that Baud-Bovy presented on the tuning of different lyre types in ancient Greek music. As a result, considering the available information and the examples from the composer’s works, it is possible to argue that Saygun, who always sought “the ties of the tree with the root and man with soil,” may have used the chromatic Dorian mode scale as a personal signature in his music.