Mus2okur in the Press
Varan Yol Boyunca Magazine, November 2007
Click to see a scan of the interview (in Turkish): Page 1, Page 2
Meet Your New Music Teacher
Learn Turkish music on your computer with the Multimedia Encyclopedia of Turkish Music, or ?Mus2okur? for short, developed by M. Kemal Karaosmanoğlu and his team. New software for music professionals is also on the horizon.
Turkish music is coming to your computer. With ?Mus2okur, the Multimedia Encyclopedia of Turkish Music?, it is now possible to learn every aspect of 1000 musical works from scores to composers. Presented at Yıldız Technical University last month, the project is directed by mathematician and musicologist M. Kemal Karaosmanoğlu, a lecturer of music arithmetic, physics of music and music technology at the same university.
In a nutshell, what is Mus2okur?
We called it the Multimedia Encyclopedia of Turkish Music but we also really liked the description ?the magic box of Turkish music? by one columnist. Traditionally, there has been a tendency to produce books intended to teach the maqams, usuls and forms of Turkish music. Such works are called ?edvar?. In the words of one of our musician friends, Mus2okur could be called a modern edvar in this respect.
Are there any antecedents to this effort?
No? Of course, there are many publications (including edvars) produced with a similar purpose. But this is the first product that teaches Turkish music with audio, visual and animated aids and actual music notation examples, allowing the user to play musical works on their computer in any tempo and diapason suitable to their voice or instrument and play or sing along.
Who is the intended audience of this software or e-book?
I don?t think it would be an overstatement to say ?everyone?. Based on the proposition that the collective memory of any given society goes back to only around 150 years, we can see that Turkish classical and folk music has still some time to live. In other words, despite the transformations brought about in the recent years, these melodies are still what we sing. People of all walks of life still share the trait of expressing their joys and sorrow with our songs and türküs. This is the first and foremost audience. Virtually everyone will love to listen and sing along with songs that they may know only partially and fill in the missing parts of their knowledge of our music. Those who wish to take it a step further will be able to learn to read music notation with this software.
There is another demographic that listens to Western music and could be described as being ?more into music?. What does ?Mus2okur? provide for these people?
Yes, we gradually get to types of people who are more into Turkish music. People who attend a music association, who can play an instrument or even those who have graduated from a Turkish music conservatory? This demographic has a lot to learn through ?Mus2okur?. The possibility to learn virtually every aspect of Turkish music, especially uncommon maqams and the longer usuls, will be appealing to such people. We believe those who listen to, or are educated in, Western music, will also find something to like in ?Mus2okur? because this program doesn?t overwhelm the user with theory and terminology. It does include textual material, but it is also able to impart pages worth of information in a few seconds by presenting a scale, work or rhythmic pattern with visual aids and provide the opportunity to actually listen to these materials.
How did this venture begin and develop? How long did it take to complete and who contributed?
The initial concept is based on filling the gap in software for computer-assisted writing and playing of Turkish sheet music. I will not say when the first stages of this project began because it might not sound plausible to the reader, let that remain a secret? But work on the box you are holding in your hand started two years. The project was directed by myself. System analysis was done by Metin Yılmaz, software development by Ömer Tören and Sevgi Ceran and compilation of encyclopedia information by Gülhan Cihan. Emre Başaran designed the user interface and the visuals. It is not possible to create original sheet music with this version of the program. We added ?okur? [?reader?] to the product name to convey this. The second and final major phase of the project is the development of ?Mus2? which will be able to notate new sheet music and define new maqams, usuls and forms. In other words, a product primarily intended for professionals.
The software seems to be built on the foundation of a solid database. What is the scope and extensibility of this database?
Indeed, one of the unique features of the software is that it is based on a database. Every record in this database is accessible through various windows such as maqam, form and usul. We have added information on each of the twenty-five thousand works in the TRT repertory to the database. Around a thousand of these also feature a score. The number of works with a score will be increasing over time and users will be able to easily acquire updates via the program menu. In addition to works in the public domain, we will be adding copyrighted works as we obtain the rights to these works from their respective composers and lyricists.
How can one obtain this program?
A free demo version of the software can be downloaded from www.musiki.org. Those wanting to buy the full version can do so on the same website or in major bookstores and music stores.