Patterns of modernization in Turkish music as indicators of a changing society
Ergur, A. & Aydin, Y. (2005). Patterns of modernization in Turkish music as indicators of a changing society. Musicae Scientiae, Special issue 2005-2006, 89-108.
Background in sociology. Turkish society has experienced a profound transformation since the late eighteenth century, that has stimulated an extensive social change in which traditional modes of cultural expression have been restructured throughout capitalistic standardizations. This simplification is also observable in the structural transformation of traditional Turkish music. In fact, musical rationalization encodes the logic of an entire phase of modernization. Background in ethnomusicology. The sound system of traditional Turkish music differs substantially from the Western one which became universally valid. Traditional Turkish music theory necessitates a sufficiently refined and non- Western musical perception. However, during the last two centuries this perceptual affinity has been slowly abolished through the standardizing process of modernity, which realizes in effect a hidden temperament within the traditional sound system. Aims. We aim to analyze the main features of rationalization in Turkish music, through the change of its expressive specificities, as representation of a sociological transformation. Main contribution. Music is one of the most symbolic domains, in which symptoms of a rationalization process can be observed. Our study tries to demonstrate the progressive proliferation of a process of rationalization. Traditional and Westernized sound systems and performances have always been conceptualized as deeply separated spheres, even as antagonistically polarized hermetical spheres which possess their specific audience, expressive instruments, discourse, etc. Conversely, we also deduce that the actual phase of musical rationalization in Turkey has attained such a degree that the artificially fragmented nature of musical genres are being melted in a technical and stylistic fusion. Implications. In nearly all of the sociological studies on Turkish music, the ontological specificities of music are underestimated, while developing deductions from music itself. In the case of ethnomusicological researches on the same subject, musical phenomena are usually isolated from their sociological context. Opposing such prevailing considerations both in sociology and ethnomusicology, the present study may help to inaugurate, in a totally unexplored domain, an alternate path through which the artificially divided musical spheres of the Turkish cultural context can be reevaluated as different aspects of an identical comprehensive modernization process. ...
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