Mus2okur in the Press

11 Mayıs 2008 Cumhuriyet gazete kupürü

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A Team of 6

The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Turkish Music was developed by the software house Data-Soft and supported by KOSGEB (the Directorate for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Industries). M. Kemal Karaosmanoğlu directed the project while Metin Yılmaz, owner of Data-Soft, assisted in the system design, and Ömer Tören and Sevgi Ceran developed the program. Gülhan Cihan compiled the encyclopedic information included in the program and Emre Başaran designed the user interface:

"Clicking the Update button on the main menu compares the files on the user's computer with the files on our web server and produces a list of components that can be updated. The Encyclopedia is sold for 50 YTL and a free demo can be downloaded from and used without a time limit."

Learning Turkish Music

By Hatice Tuncer

M. Kemal Karaosmanoğlu has developed software that can be used in the teaching of Turkish music.

The program developed by Karaosmanoğlu, a lecturer at Yıldız Technical University, Faculty of Art and Design, introduces enthusiasts to Turkish music and provides information on 24000 musical works. In addition to graphical aids, Mus2okur, a multimedia encyclopedia of Turkish music, features animated and audio examples. The database of this interactive software is continuously updated via the Internet.

We went through the menus of this program, sold on CD-ROM, with Karaosmanoğlu to discover the features of Mus2okur and learn how to use it. The program is installed from the CD found in the retail box. It supports all versions of Windows starting from 98.

After installation, a screen showing Turkish classical music instruments appears. The "Scores/Lyrics" section on the main menu provides access to the scores of approximately 1000 musical works in the database. Selecting one of these works brings up its score, and it is possible to listen to the piece in instrumental form. At the top of the screen is a line showing the lyrics of the playing piece in large type, with the current syllable highlighted with a different color in karaoke style: "This makes it possible for someone who doesn't know the piece to learn it by singing or playing along with it. The composer, lyricist, maqam, form and usul of the piece are shown on the corresponding menus. In other words, we can directly jump to the biography of the composer from the score. Other types of information available include date of birth and death, photo and body of work of the composer."

Sampled Sounds

The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Turkish Music can play music pieces with various Turkish music instruments sounds samples including the ud, kanun, ney and bağlama. Most of the scores were acquired from the TRT archive. It is possible to immediately begin playing a piece. Additionally, the 1000 works for which scores have been included can also be played with MIDI instruments spanning 128 instruments such as cello, violin and piano: "The user might think, 'Turkish music has a unique set of pitches and accidentals, a piano cannot produce these sounds. But the technique we have employed allows these pitches to be produced. In addition to the ud for Turkish classical music or the bağlama for Turkish folk music, it is also fine to listen to these works with a piano as along as the correct pitches can be produced. One piece produces sound on 4 channels--2 different instruments for melody and 2 for percussion."


Those who want to sing along with the works played in the Encyclopedia can select a higher or lower diapason that suits their voice in the "Diapason" section. The varying pitches are explained with sound samples and colors. The tempo and the instruments can be changed to tatste, and an arbitrary section of the piece can be repeated until that section is mastered: "This is ideal for someone who wants to learn to play, or expand their knowledge of, a Turkish music instrument. The playing style of the program is very clear and easily understandable. The various ornamentations that occur in performance practice are delightful but they can make things difficult for a beginner. Consider a large ensemble where performers add a lot of ornamentation that doesn't appear in the score. The beginner will have a much harder time improving their skill by listening to such a performance. The karaoke-style display can also show note names in place of the lyrics."

Composers & Lyricsts

The software can sort the information its various tables by any column or category the user chooses. Maqams are presented in two sections. Composers and lyricists can be sorted by their names, places of birth, etc. Mus2okur also boasts information nearly 150 usuls. These can be played by instruments such as the bendir, darbuka or tef as well as Western and African percussion instruments: "The rhythmic patterns that commonly occur in Turkish are rarely found in Western music. The lower right portion of the screen displays a list of works composed with the selected usul. One can select one of these works and listen to it as a real performance, thereby reinforcing new concepts learned int he program. The pitches of Turkish music are also different from those in Western music. As opposed to the 12 notes in an octave in Western music, Turkish music uses 24 pitches per octave. We explain this on a piano keyboard. Clicking on the keys of the piano plays the corresponding notes."

24000 Works

The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Turkish Music encompasses information on 24000 works including their maqam, usul, composer and lyricst, and a thousand of these also feature a score which can be shown on screen and played in the program. A quarter of the thousand works comprise Turkish folk music pieces. Mus2okur has a side that appeals to the housewıfe who hums to herself while doing the dishes in the kitchen. She knows a piece but doesn't remember some of the lyrics. She has some doubts about some parts of the music. She can look the piece up in the database and listen to it. Perhaps she has taken a few ud lessons and wants to improve herself. The program will be useful for this, too. It wıll be helpful to music students who find Turkish music difficult."

The software appeals to every music lover from the beginner to the professional. M. Kemal Karaosmanoğlu's presentations showcasing the product at various conservatories, music associations and foundations have drawn a lot of interest: "These are the perfect audiences. For example, in the conservatory students take a number of usul courses in their four years of study but they only learn up to, say, the 32-beat usuls. Here they can learn all the usuls up to the 120-beat usuls, listening to them many times. The product is very likely to be used as a teaching aid in conservatories. Starting from the idea that every concept can built upon a physical and mathematical foundation, we contend that music can be built upon a scientific basis. So in a way, we also advocate scientific thought."