In the wake of Bartók in Anatolia
Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute for Musicology
First publication Sipos, János (2000) In the wake of Bartók in Anatolia. Bibliotheca Traditionis Europea (ISSN 1419-7901) (2). European Folklore Institute, Budapest. ISBN 963-00-3672-X
Sponsored by the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage of Hungary
The expeditions were supported by the
Stein-Arnold Exploration Fund of the British Academy and the
The CD was prepared with the help of the Turkish Republic
Photos and musical transcriptions by János Sipos
Turkish text and translation by Éva Csáki
English translation by Judit POKOLY
Translation revised by Aino PAASONEN
CD compiled by János SIPOS
© European Folklore Institute 2000, © János Sipos 2000
The e-book was sponsored by the OTKA-NKFI 115405
© Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute for Musicology 2020
© János Sipos 2020
Editor: Éva Csáki
Technical preparation: Adrienn Ádám
Programming: Zsolt Kemecsei
This e-book is an electronic version of the volume quoted above. It differs from the printed form in that the notes were transposed to A, and Bartók's notes were published in a simpler form for the sake of comparison. There have been a number of major and minor corrections to the sheet music and lyrics, which can be seen in the Anthology.
Using the e-book
● You can click on the symbol below the notes to see an improved version of that note and listen to the recording of the melody. If you want to see the corrected notes and listen to the recording at the same time as reading, drag the sheet music and the playback tab from the browser header to a separate window. Playback can also be fully compressed, and the browser's zoom function allows you to zoom in and out on pages. Clicking on the speaker signal () results the sound of the field recording, and clicking on results an electronically generated sound. (In several cases, the audios do not match the trancriptions and are the near-far variants of the latter.)
● Using the e-book is facilitated by a tool box in the lower left corner: by entering the page number you can jump to a specific page of the original printed book, the second icon jumps to the table of contents, the third icon allows you to print the book or part of it, and a search bar is at the bottom.
Béla Bartók's Turkish collection
About my collection in Anatolia
My first collecting trip in Turkey
Folk music in today's Turkey
Analogies between Anatolian and Hungarian melodies
Realizations of the G-(F)-E-D-C nucleus and the related tune types
Twin-bar tunes of G-E-D-C core
Twin-bar tunes ending on C
Twin-bar tunes ending on D
Twin-bar melodies with E finals
Similar twin-bar tune types of other peoples
Hungarian and Turkish laments
Anatolian laments built from one musical idea
Anatolian laments built on two musical ideas
Single-core Anatolian laments with cadential descent
Anatolian laments with two musical ideas and a cadential descent
Strophic tunes developed from the lament
Anatolian laments in minor and Phrygian modes
Large forms developed from the small-form of the Anatolian lament
International relevances of Hungarian and Anatolian laments
The Hungarian and Turkish psalmodic tune style
Hungarian psalmodic melodies
Anatolian and Hungarian psalmodic tunes in a low register
Turkish and Hungarian psalmodic tunes moving in a higher register
Psalmodic tunes based on two musical ideas
Psalmodic tunes in Béla Bartók's collection
Lower fifth-shifting Anatolian tunes
Tune class of 5(5)b3 cadences and AAAcB form
Fifth-shifting Anatolian tunes of major mode
Tunes with 'special fifth-shifting'
Parlando melodies with large compass
Melodies with sequences
Descending sequences of bars
Sequences of lines, parallel lines
Other Hungarian-Anatolian musical analogies
Tri- and tetrachord tunes
Hungarian analogies to narrow-compass Anatolian tunes
Four-lined Anatolian and Hungarian melodies
Unique melodic outlines and scales in Anatolian folk music
Anatolian tunes of architectonic construction
Turkish-Hungarian contact in the course of history
Turkic relations of the Hungarians
The ethnogenesis of the Anatolian Turks
The influence of neighbouring peoples upon Anatolian folk music
Texts and their translation into English
Before embarking upon the musical analyses, let me explain the basic concepts and abbreviations without which the next section cannot be understood.
● As regards the degrees, C = b3rd degree, D = 4th, E = 5th degree, etc. The note below C = 2nd degree (B/Bb), minor third below C = 1st degree (A), then, stepwise, the VIIth, VIth, etc. degrees follow. The second degree lowered by a semitone is marked with Bb, the sixth degree raised by a semitone is marked with F#.
● A note of the scale is put in brackets when it does not play an important role in the tune. For instance, in a melody with the (G)-E-D-C scale the main role is played by the notes of the trichord E-D-C, with occasional G added, but not in an accentuated role.
● Av indicates a variation of the musical line A when the deviation is at the beginning or middle of line A. Ac indicates a variation of the musical line A where the deviation between the two lines is in the last (cadential) part of the lines. Both Av and Ac suggest that A is the closed line, Av and Ac meaning more open variants, thus formulae like AcA, ABcB, etc. are frequent.
● By padding words, padding syllables, I understand words or syllables that are either devoid of meaning (ay, oy, vay, da, de, etc.) or, when meaningful, have no connection with the main text (aman, anam, gelin, etc.).
● A cadential note is the last note of the line. In the case of a four-line melody 5(4)b3 mean that the cadence of the first section is on the 5th degree (E), that of the second ones is on the 4th degree (D), that of the third one is on b3 (C) and the melody ends on the 1st degree (A). When the pitch of the last tone was not clear, I tried to define it on the basis of similar tunes and analyses.
● When no tempo indication is specified in an example, it was performed in parlando-rubato rhythm. However, it must be kept in mind that in reality, there is a wide variety of rhythmically free performance.
● Set rhythm is called tempo giusto or giusto as customary in Hungarian folk music research.
● The numbers indicated with the abbreviation № are serial numbers of tunes in Sipos (1994) and Sipos (1995). My own collection was supplemented by mostly giusto melodies published by the Turkish Radio and Television and by laments and plaintive songs that I copied from the archives of the Selcuk University in Konya and transcribed. Four Turkish materials were referred to: Bartók's collection (Bartók №), my own collection (№), the tunes from the Konya archives (Konya №) and the TRT repertory (TRT №).
„[...] Folk music is a phenomenon of nature...
This creation develops with the organic freedom
of other living organisms in nature: flowers, animals, etc.
That is why folk music is just as beautiful, just as perfect.
It is the embodiment of the pure musical thought
that astonishes us with the conciseness and expressiveness
of form and the wealth of tools on the one hand,
and with its freshness and directness, on the other.”
Béla Bartók, A népzene forrásánál [At the source of folk music] ,
In: Muzyka 1925, vol. II, № 6, p. 230-233.
While the comparative linguistics of Turkic peoples has reached a high level of scholarship, comparative ethnomusicological research into the music of Turkic peoples lags far behind. No monographs indispensable to comparative analyses have been written, and attempts at tune systematization and comparative investigation are also often missing.
This is so though the question of whether the folk music of different Turkic peoples and of the Hungarians have features in common deserves general attention. Just as important would be to establish what the possible coincidences can be attributed to.
It is imperative for Hungarian ethnomusicology to get an insight into the old strata of Turkic folk music, for it is known that some Turkic ethnic groups played a salient role in the emergence of the Hungarian ethnicity, Hungarian culture and folk music. It is no wonder then that Hungarian researchers have played a leading role in the comparative examination of Turkic and Hungarian folk music.
Béla Bartók, from relatively little material, reached some conclusions still valid today about the folk music of the Volga-Kama region and Anatolia,1 Zoltán Kodály extended the analogies by studying the folk music of Cheremiss and Chuvash people.2 On the basis of an immense collection from field-work among Cheremiss, Chuvash, Mordvin, Tatar and Bashkir peoples, László Vikár described these musical traditions.3 From a study of publications, Lajos Vargyas established a historical outline of the folk music of the Volga region.4 Having studied an immense amount of material, Bence Szabolcsi demonstrated even broader international musical connections.5 With a novel approach to the Hungarian material, László Dobszay and Janka Szendrei have made an ethnomusicological study of the Hungarian lament and psalmodic styles in a broad international context.6 My six-year collecting work between 1988-1993 in Anatolia as well as my study trips to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan also fit into this range of work.
In this volume, I am going to study a single aspect of this extensive research: whether there are similar tune types in Hungarian and Anatolian folk music, and if so, what degree of similarity can be verified and what can it be attributed to. Béla Bartók was the first to seek answers to these questions.
Bartók collected folk music in Turkey in 1936, transcribing and analyzing the tunes at his usual high level of scholarship. His Turkish collection, however, shared the fate of the rest of his folk collections, to not be published until 1976, well after the composer's death, but then almost simultaneously in Hungary and America, and in 1991 in Turkey. None of these publications made a stir, although the work is not merely one that addresses Hungarian and Turkish prehistory and the Hungarian-Turkish musical connections in depth, but it is also a milestone in ethnomusicology. It is known, though, that Bartók ascribed great significance to this work. After a long interval, that was his first – and last – collecting trip, and before emigrating to America, his profound interest in Turkish music made him consider resettling in Turkey.
What may underlie this lack of scholarly interest? Disregarding for now all sorts of possible explanations, one argument still carries much weight: Bartók's Turkish collection is so meagre that drawing conclusions valid for the folk music of a people numbering some sixty million is only possible with much caution and reservation. And up to most recently, there has been no comprehensive analysis of Turkish folk music that would have provided a frame of reference to help interpret Bartók's collection.
When I taught at the department of Hungarology of Ankara University, Turkey, in 1988-1993, I had the opportunity to collect some 1500 tunes. I began my collection in areas where Bartók had stopped his. Then, as fewer and fewer new tunes were found, I shifted my field of research gradually westward. I also gleaned all possible information from publications of Turkish tunes available, adding another three thousand tunes to my own collection after their critical revision. A six-year stay on the spot, the mastery of the Turkish language, consultations with Turkish ethnomusicologists and first and foremost, regular collecting, transcribing and analyzing work enabled me to prepare a large body of systematized Turkish material for publication.
Before addressing my own collecting, however, let us return to Béla Bartók's research in Turkey.
Besides Hungarian folk music and the music of neighbouring peoples, Bartók was deeply interested in the music of linguistically related and other peoples. In 1924 he published three Cheremiss folksongs whose fifth-shifting pentatonic style he compared to the Hungarian folksongs, concluding: „[...] the connection between the Hungarian pentatonic material and the Cheremiss material is indisputable.”7 He ascribed such great importance to this discovery that he began learning Russian and prepared to journey to the Cheremiss people along the Volga. After World War I he was forced to abandon this plan but the theme kept preoccupying him.
For example, in 1935, Bartók said:
„[...] when we settled to this work we became convinced that [...] the origin of the pentatonic style pointed to Asian and northern Turkic peoples [...] Apart from Hungarian tunes that were variants of Cheremiss songs, we also found Hungarian tunes that were variants of north Turkic tunes derived from around Kazan. I have recently received Mahmud Ragib Köşemihal's book [...] The tonal specificities of Turkish folk music in which I also found some melodies of this kind [...] Obviously, all tunes of this kind derive from a common source, and this source was the old central north-Turkic culture.”8 Or, as he later summarized even more succinctly: „[...] I first searched for Finno-Ugrian-Turkic similarities among peoples by the Volga, and then, starting from there, in the direction of Turkey.”9
Figure 1 Photo of Bartók from the year of collection (Bónis 1972, pic. 271)
After such precedents, László Rásonyi, the professor of the faculty of Hungarian philology and history at Ankara University founded around that time, wrote a letter dated 1 December, 1935, to Bartók, recommending that he should collect in Turkey.10 In April 1936 the president of the Halkevi in Ankara officially invited Bartók to give a lecture on the methods of folk music collection and on the main principles of his compositional school. Bartók was overjoyed to read the news, accepted the invitation and was already learning Turkish in the summer.
Bartók arrived in Istanbul on 2 November, 1936, where he studied the curriculum of the conservatory for a day, before going on to Ankara in the company of Turkish composer A. A. Saygun. He held three lectures and a few concerts and began collecting. On the evening of 18 November, upon Rásonyi's advice, they set out for the south of Turkey, to the seaside around Osmaniye near Adana, for some nomadic tribes had their winter residence there. On 19 and 20 November, they worked most efficiently in Adana with singers recruited in the villages. On 21 November they went to Tarsus and then to Mersin. Let us see Bartók's notes:
„[...] On the fourth day, we at last arrived in the area of the Yürüks as originally planned, about 80 km further to the east of Adana, first entering a large village called Osmaniye. The inhabitants of Osmaniye and some other neighbouring villages belong to the tribe called 'Ulas', which tribe was forced to switch over to sedentary existence some 70 years ago. We arrived in Osmaniye after 2 p.m. and at 4 we were in the courtyard of a peasant home.
I was secretly very happy that at last I was doing on-the-spot collection, at last I was going to a peasant house again! The host, Ali Bekir oğlu Bekir aged 70 welcomed us warmly. The old man burst into a song without any reluctance there in the court, singing some old war story:
Kurt paşa çıktı Gozana