Mus2okur in the Press

Zaman newspaper, Gençlik (Youth) supplement, March 16, 2008

Zaman gazetesi Gençlik eki

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Turkey's Encyclopedia of Music...

By Zeren Çelebi, M. Ali Poyraz

M. Kemal Karaosmanoğlu

M. Kemal Karaosmanoğlu has brought together math, music and computer technology in one software program. His 'Mus2okur' project is a multimedia encyclopedia of Turkish music. The program has garnered considerable attention from various associations and educational institutions including universities and is regarded as a potential saviour of Turkish music.

One of the people who have thought a lot about the past, present and future of Turkish music is M. Kemal Karasomanoğlu, professor of music arithmetic at Yıldız Technical University, Faculty of Art and Design. Even though he has no doubts about the extraordinary past of our music, he believes it is necessary to take action for the current and future state of Turkish music. Like many mathematician-musicians, he sees mathematics as an art and music as science. One is the universal language of the mind, and the other, of emotions. Intimately related to one another, music and mathematics constitute the starting point of a number of projects for Karaosmanoğlu. As a mathematician, musician and computer scientist, Karaosmanoğlu feels compelled to carry out a mission in this respect. After working on the development of software for writing sheet music and the manufacture of a piano for Turkish music, he has presented his greatest service to the scientific community with his latest work, Mus2okur, a multimedia encyclopedia of Turkish music. The product recently went on sale in music stores under the Data-Soft label and has already reached tens of thousands of people. It has received considerable attention from associations and educational institutions including universities and is now regarded as an effort set to change the fate of Turkish music. "I originally intended to develop a program for writing Turkish sheet music that could be used by anyone. As a computer professional, I have been aware of the many products developed for this purpose in the world. There are numerous programs for the transcription and performance of Western music, making use of this music tradıtıon's characteristics to the greatest extent possible. But when it comes to Turkish music, there wasn't a single program for writing Turkish sheet music, let alone a product that brings out the delicacies of Turkish music and opens it to everyone. At that point, I took it upon myself to create such a computer program," says Karaosmanoğlu, stating that Mus2okur was conceived out of necessity. Soon his efforts came to a standstill when he realized that learning Turkish music theory was crucial for the continuation of his project. After becoming well-versed in theory, Karaosmanoğlu's efforts once again took off and eventually reached maturity. With this new software, Karaosmanoğlu was able to produce clean, elegant sheet music as he had always wanted. This project gave its first fruit in the form of Mus2okur, a multimedia encyclopedia of Turkish music.

This KOSGEB-supported (KOSGEB: "Directorate for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Industries") project is now inching towards its next milestone. The completion of this product, called 'Mus2', will signify the completion of the entire project. Karaosmanoğlu describes the fundamental difference between Mus2okur and Mus2, "the former can only read pre-existing data. Mus2, on the other hand, provides further functionality including producing Turkish sheet music, defining new maqams, usuls and even pitch systems."

Mus2okur is a program intended to teach Turkish music, replacing the traditional "master-student" pair with "computer-student". It targets an audience of beginners as well as seasoned musicians with its collection of longer usuls, uncommon maqams, etc. Mus2okur's database holds information on 25000 musical works, 1000 of which are featured with scores.

These scores can be played with any available MIDI or Turkish music instrument on the computer in any diapason and tempo while following the score in "karaoke" style on screen simultaneously. The software presents Turkish music concepts such as maqam, form and usul with audio, visual and animated aids. Additionally, the database includes the biographies, photos and lists of works for notable composers, lyricists, compilers and other sources. As a continuously improved product, Mus2okur is regularly updated via the Internet. Other noteworthy features of the software include a Turkish music piano with a specially modified keyboard and 128 instruments including Western and percussion instruments.