Background

Çeng made by Ardival, Scotland

My work in the revival of the forgotten lap-harp, the çeng, in line with what might be called musical archeology, served as a basis for capturing a new area of use for the harp in general.  First of all, my enlightenment through çeng’s role in Turkish music led me to thinking that even though an instrument is withdrawn from the musical scene and becomes forgotten for various reasons, its function may not necessarily be withdrawn from the music itself. In the case of the çeng, other instruments, such as the ud, or the later kanun likely attempted to assume its idiomatic language. This is something I observed in the performance prcatice of early of music on modern instruments. It also became clear to me that the çeng could fit perfectly in simple music, but when the musical language became a bit more complicated, it isn’t equipped with what it takes which is probably why it became forgotten in the first place. The çeng remains beautifully primitive, transcending all the complicated experiments we sometimes apply in music. However, there is an other side to the token, where the possibilities of lever and pedal harps seemed irrestible. This understanding opened the path for lever harp and pedal harp’s possible use in conjunction with Turkish music, a subject which has been at the center of my work since 2014.

The Turkish Harp Project

“The Turkish Harp” takes its inspiration from the historical background of the çeng in Turkish music. Taking it another step forward,  the “Turkish Harp Music Collection” proposes a critically annotated edition of music for the çeng, lever and pedal harps consisting of transcriptions of early works from the Turco-Ottoman repertoire, traditional songs of Anatolia called türkü, and original music written by current composers with a traditional as well as non-traditional approach. The project aims to acquaint harpists of a variety of interests ranging from amateurs and students to teachers and professionals with the rich flavours of this tradition, thus contributing to the harp repertoire worldwide. I strongly feel that the pillars of Turkish music which are the makam system made of colorful scales and melodic characteristics  on the one hand, and the usul system, a delightful order  of rhythmic patterns on the other hand, can be an inspiration to all harpists. 

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