October 2, 2009

Dear colleagues and members,

This is a message long overdue. Its purpose is to introduce, from my own perspective, a great software on Turkish Maqam music. Some of you already know the software in question. It is none other than Mus2okur.
Mus2okur for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista by Data-Soft, available in Turkish and English languages, is an interactive multimedia encyclopedia of "traditional" monodic and heterophonic styles of Turkish music - comprising hundreds of "Ottomanish", if you will, and Folk pieces.
You can download a demo version of Mus2okur from the link below:
In my opinion, calling Mus2okur an "encyclopedia" does much injustice to the actual capabilities of the program. Besides being a storehouse of scores, lyrics, biographies, theoretical information and demonstrations, Mus2okur is a sampler, player and instructor in 53-tone equal temperament.
Allow me to insert a paranthesis here.
You will remember that I and several other musicians in Türkiye classify the Middle Eastern art genre common to many nations and ethnicities and based on makamlar (roughly, "modes") & usuller (indigenous rhythms) as Maqam music. To indicate an Anatolian-Thracian savour, we say Turkish Maqam music.
Mus2okur adheres to the mainstream expression "Turkish music" though, to denote the metropolitan maqamish styles known as "Classical Turkish Music" and "Turkish Art Music", as well as the rural and since-a-few-decades-urban "Turkish Folk Music"...
You will notice, that these two sub-denominations (Classical & Art) signify a 19th Century bifurcation within the tradition: A serious or "austere" style on the one hand, and a popular or "frisky" style on the other.
Alternative terms for said bifurcation have also been used in the past: "Enderun Musikisi" emphasizes the dignified manner of the Ottoman Court and dergahlar (sufi brotherhoods), while "Fasil Musikisi" emphasizes the zestful manner of intellectual music gatherings, popular concerts, and musical entertainment in gazinolar (casinos) & meyhaneler (pubs).
The distinction between Classical and Art is not always so clear-cut however, as these styles are intertwined through the use of instruments, forms, maqams and usuls common to both. Only the "Folk" repertoire may rightfully be considered an altogether seperate stylistic branch while remaining within the domain of maqam-hood.
Suffice it to say, Classical, Art and Folk styles are three authentic and autochthonous musical flavours of Türkiye, making up in whole what I prefer to call "Turkish Maqam music". Mus2okur comprises pieces from all these styles, with special dedication to Classical & Art compositions.
While I think it is much more appropriate to use the term Maqam music - to the detriment of habit - in order to imply all of the above-mentioned flavours and their Arabic, Persic, Turkic and Hindustani counterparts (be they Art or Folk), and attach the prefix "Turkish" to localize the genre to the geography whose epicentre is Anatolia and Thrace, it is understandable to prefer the simpler and more established shorthand term "Turkish music" despite its ambiguity, due, among other things, to quotidian controversies surrounding the proper employment of scholarly nomenclature.
While I do not agree with the trend to misuse the term "Turkish music" (which rightfully embodies Pop, Rock, Arabesk and lately Hip-Hop of Türkiye as well), Mus2okur's target audience is undoubtedly sensitive to minute changes in prevalent idiom.

Here I close the paranthesis.

The reason for the selection of 53-tone equal temperament for Mus2okur is quite logical: The Holderian comma resolution not only comprises the notorious Arel-Ezgi-Uzdilek System (which is still the standard model in conservatories and traditional music circles despite its numerous shortcomings) with less than a cent absolute error at any degree, it also embodies two types of middle seconds that satisfactorily explain characteristic inflexions peculiar to maqams such as UshshaqSabaHüzzam and Karjighar that cannot be accounted for, nay, was vehemently shunned by Arel-Ezgi-Uzdilek: 136 cents (2/3 tone) and 158 cents (roughly 3/4 tone).
Listeners will appreciate the fact that subtle microtonal nuances of 53-tone equal temperament have been employed in the playback of all transcribed pieces in Mus2okur. 53-tET is a quick and elegant solution to overcome decades-long issues abounding in Turkish Maqam music theory, at least in a computer program.
Mus2okur remains faithful to the AEU System only in the transcription of customary key signatures and accidentals as seen in Classical and Art music scores. Behind the veil, Mus2okur renders the pieces with their proper microtones. By that, I mean the playback, where appropriate, of middle seconds that elude the AEU System. In Folk pieces, comma numbers are revealed above ordinary sharps & flats and executed as truly intended.
Mus2okur can imitate, through sampled sounds, an actual Classical, Art or Folk music performance when the appropriate instrument(s), diapason, tempo and usul beat duration are chosen prior to playing a piece from the database. While Mus2okur is unbiased to these styles and it is up to the user to make the necessary calibrations to give the "correct feel" to the music, you can easily experiment by trusting your ear and judgement.
As a hint, I can tell you my preference that Folk pieces (Türkü, Oyunhavasi, etc...) should be rendered with BaglamaTanbur, and Def (velveleli), in Davud Nisfiye diapason at a Moderato tempo.
For Classical compositions (PesrevBesteSemai, etc...), choose the Ud-Tanbur-Kanun-Ney combination, select Bendir (normal) as the rhythmic instrument, make sure the tempo is Largo and the diapason set as Kiz neyi.
For popular Art compositions (TürküSarkiFantezi, etc...), use the same instrumental combination as above with Darbuka (velveleli) or Def (velveli) as the rhythmic instrument, and make sure the tempo is Allegretto and the diapason is set to Bolahenk.
Don't forget that you ought to pick the rhythmic instrument from under the Usul tab.
Now try these settings with my personal favourites from the database:
1. Bir dalda iki kiraz (Code 376)
2. Kurdilihicazkar sirto (Code 614)
3. Hicaz Mandra (Code 442)
4. Dok zulfunu meydana gel (Code 82)
5. Darildin mi Gulum Bana (Code 774)
6. Hatirla ey peri (Code 29)
7. Uskudar'a gider iken (Code 272)
8. Yine Bir Gulnihal (Code 71)
9. Bulbul olsam (Code 3524)
10. Duriyemin gugumleri kalayli (Code 3200)
11. Beyoglu'nda gezersin (Code 814)
12. Yaniyor mu yesil koskun lambasi (Code 739)
13. Gozum hasretle giryandir (Code 344)
14. Ey gul-i bag-i eda (Code 231)
15. Nihansin dideden ey mest-i nazim (Code 503)
16. Gelmis degil boyle peri (Code 395)
17. Olmaz ilac sine-i sad-pareme (Code 300)
18. Donulmez aksamin ufkundayiz (Code 108)
19. Daglar daglar, viran daglar (Code 822)
20. Maya dagdan kalkan kazlar (Code 840)
21. Ayva cicek acmis (2406)
22. Izmirin kavaklari (Code 436)
23. Benim gonlum sarhostur (Code 719)
24. Ankara'nin tasina bak (Code 2128)
25. Uyan ey gozlerim (Code 1829)
26. Sol cennetin irmaklari (Code 371)
27. Gel ey denizin nazli kizi (Code 405)
28. Telgrafin Tellerine kuslar mi konar (Code 276)
29. Cokertme (Code 275)
30. Havada bulut yok (Code 440)

You can add the above selection to your güldeste (lit. rose-bouquet in Turkish) or playlist (name it "Favourites by Oz." for instance) by choosing the playlist tab in scores/lyrics tab and clicking on NEW.

After your playlist is ready, just double-click on its name in the upper-left window titled "playlists" to start listening to the songs.

To see the lyrics of the piece being played (when there are lyrics of course), click on the lyrics tab. To accompany the piece in real-time with your voice, click on Accompaniment. Alternatively, you can choose to recite solfege syllables in Do-Re-Mi format, A-B-C format, or Ra-Du-Se format (an innovation by M. Kemal Karaosmanoglu). You can command the program to display syllables as heard in concert pitch or as written in the score.
Unfortunately, there are some issues with the proper display of Turkish characters of lyrics in the English version of the software, which the Data-soft team will hopefully fix in a future update. This won't hinder you from enjoying your Mus2okur karaoke sessions though.

Mus2okur's scores have been meticulously notated - some including dynamic marks and dynamics playback - by Project Director Mustafa Kemal Karaosmanoglu using Mus2, a non-commercial composing tool programmed by Karaosmanoglu himself, which is scheduled to be released for consumers at a future date.

Mus2okur is regularly updated to include more savoury pieces from Turkish Maqam music repertoire. Already, it houses over a thousand songs in its archive complete with notations and lyrics. Navigating within the song database is easy. You can sort the list by any category (composer, lyricist, name, code, maqam, usul, etc...) according to your liking.

If you want a trustworthy source beneath your fingertips via which you can learn Turkish Maqam music interactively, study its tones, genera, maqams, usuls, ahenks and forms, you must give Mus2okur a try. It's a microtonalist's must-have.

Dr. Ozan Yarman
✩ ✩ ✩

August 2, 2009

Dear Metin Bey and Mus2okur Developers,

I have introduced and recommended your product to the members of my nonprofessional Turkish Music ensemble. Everyone liked it very much and hopefully they will also purchase it.

Once again, thank you for your work.

Hasan Daysal P.E.
Atlanta, USA

February 3, 2009

Dear Developers,

Once again thank you for developing this useful program. It is a great resource in improving my knowledge of Turkish music.

Wishing you all the best.

Marouan Moulki
Bordeaux, France

About the new Mus2okur version
November 13, 2008

Dear M. Kemal Karaosmanoğlu; I have downloaded the new Mus2okur software and begun to explore it with great excitement. I have noticed a huge improvement in the sound quality and variety in the program. The results are well worth your efforts in this area. I am confident that you will take [Mus2okur] to an even better level.

I hope that you will fix [the few mentioned] minor errors. I wish you further success and send you my regards.

Architect Tevfik Onursal

Significant Changes in Mus2okur version 2008.11
November 4, 2008

I have acquired the update as recommended. Indeed, the software has come a long way. I'd like to congratulate you on your achievements and hope to see the continuation of your contributions to Turkish music.

Thank you..

Alparslan TAŞ

Why would this awe-inspiring "reader" not "write" as well?
16 June 2008

To whom it may concern,

I'd like to send you my congratulations, respect and gratitude for your successful, praiseworthy, expansive effort, Mus2okur, that explains our music in depth with such beautiful examples.

After getting started in the Arabic and Ottoman languages, I now understand the difference between reader-writer even better. For this reason, I'd like to say for this exquisite program of yours, "this awe-inspiring reader, why would it not write as well?" If you added a music notation writing program to this dear reader and turn it into a writer as well, (something, I believe, easier than this grand effort) you would make it perfect, a great service to musicians and the first of such highly needed programs. This is not criticism but merely a suggestion and up to your assessment.

I wish you further success in your future endeavors and send you my best regards.

N.Nami Keskinbora

A Perfect Assistant for Those Who Practice Their Voice
12 May 2008

I have purchased and examined your program, Mus2okur. It is greatly beneficial in the instruction of our music. Especially the karaoke feature is superb. A perfect assistant for those who practice their voice.

Since you are capable of delivering such programs, we now have certain expectations from you. I will try to list the first few that comes to mind.

  • Expansion of the repertory as much as possible,
  • Transposition on notation similar to pitch transposition (very helpful for amateur instrumentalists)
  • Software for writing sheet music
  • The ability for the user to add works to the repertory (with the possibility to use all the features of the program with the newly added work).

I'd like to send you my gratitude for your contribution to our music. I wish you further success in your future efforts and well-being to all who were involved in the making of this work.

A. Yekta Kölemenoğlu, İstanbul

I was a student of Lâika Karabey
5 May 2008

I'd like to meet you when I come to Istanbul. I come from an old Istanbul family. I was born in 1933 and I am a mechanical engineer. As a student, I attended [courses taught by] Laika Karabey at Üsküdar [Music Association]. The elders of our family used to perform Turkish classical music in fasıls at our home. My love of music originates from this environment. For this reason, your program Mus2okur has given me great joy.

With respect and love,

Dipl. Mech. Eng. Yaşar Kenan Çandır, Narlı Village - Altınoluk

I congratulate the Mus2okur team

I appreciate very much your team work on ’mus2okur’ and i found it excellent! You have my permission to add any of my links to your website as well as my support to ‘mus2okur’.

Periklis Tsoukalas, Greece

Mus2okur is invaluable
20 March 2008

Hello, I am a music teacher at the State Music school in Austria. I teach bağlama and ud. My students (some of whom are Austrian) and I play concerts and participate in local cultural events. It has drawn a lot of attention. My students present Turkish instruments in Austrian schools. We try to promote our culture in our own way. I have played with various foreign musicians. We perform Turkish and foreign music. There has been a lot of interest in our performances which, we hope, serve to fuse different cultures through music. I wanted to share this feeling with you. I found your address through the Mus2okur web site and tried the program. It is incredibly useful. I have recommended it to all of my friends. I wish you further success in your work.

Respectfully yours,

Aydın Ballı, Austria

An easy-to-use, accessible source of knowledge with visual and audio aids
20 March 2008

I'd like to send my gratitude to everyone who has worked on turning the vast ocean that is Turkish music into this easy-to-use, accessible source of knowledge with visual and audio aids. We hope to see more sheet music and sounds added to your software.


Önder Plana, Bursa

I am grateful to the people and the organization that produced this software
01 March 2008

Dear Metin Bey,

We have received our password, thank you. I wanted to stress the importance of this program one more time. There are many ways of learning Turkish art music in Turkey (for example private lessons). Naturally we are much more limited in this respect in Holland. Currently I play the ney, ud and kudüm. This program will provide great opportunities to me. I am grateful to the people and the organization that produced this software. If you'll excuse me, I will now activate my Mus2okur and get to work.


Ahmet Çınar, Holland

I especially enjoyed the düm-tek meşk lessons and accompaniment to the songs
13 February 2008

Congratulations on your Mus2okur, an outstanding accomplishment; I especially enjoyed the düm-tek meşk lessons (in real life, the hoca would correct the student if the student didn´t raise his hand sufficiently before striking the knee; your pictures do show the correct elevation) and accompaniment to the songs.
The usul darb elevations are correct.  I observed them at meşk with Halil Can (!) and at the old Istanbul Municipal Conservatory (!) in the early 1970s.
Raising the hands high in a rhythmical manner reinforces the kinetic memory (a valuable pedagogical tool).  It also allows the hoca to intercept the wrong action before it is completed.
(No doubt you have thought of translating M2O into English.)

Karl Signell, USA

The new Mus2okur has a very successful and intelligent architecture; congratulations
12 February 2008

Here are a few of my thoughts... All secondary and insignificant compared to what has been achieved...

You know my opinion on the description of maqams. You use different flats and sharps to work around this. The subject of pitch regions also developed thanks to your and Can Akkoç's efforts.

Explanation of maqams within the context of the Arel system will be insufficient. As a concrete suggestion, you could show every pitch within the typical progression of a maqam and, considering that an octave is not fully transposed, that each maqam has a number of basic altered notes that are essential elements of the maqam.

I am also becoming more convinced that in the categorization of maqams the idea of a transposed maqam is incorrect. It can be accepted as a way of constructing maqams but complete transposition never occurs. Otherwise the various diapasons would be enough. As a teaching technique, the transposition idea could be beneficial, e.g. "this maqam can be thought of the transposition of this other maqam with minor alterations, but in these regions these major differences can be observed." So in other words, the transposed maqam idea should not be taken as a category as such but as a way of constructing and learning maqams. In fact at the heart of maqam constructıon are tiny variations and derivations and the choice of a finalis, of course.

The reason for my insistence on this subject is the new crop of dry, tasteless compositions due to the generalization of the Arel maqam descriptions. Composers are tempted to ignore the altered pitches that would add richness to their pieces because they are worried they might change to another maqam. Through memorization, they come to believe there are no other materials outside of 6-7 tetrachords and pentachords. This results in an apparent decrease in the number of maqams and the confinement of maqams to a few standart templates. Even taksims are affected by this...

The karaoke view is interesting. As a further improvement, it would be ergonomically beneficial to do the same on the score.

All of these are secondary, your product is perfect. I wish you further success.

Ufuk Doğrusöz, France

You bring the conservatory home
14 January 2008

I bought the program to play along with the pieces and improve my ud skill. But after having a look at the other sections, I see you have brought the conservatory home. Perhaps not now, but since I already have the program, I will be surely expanding my knowledge of music theory in the future.

Mehmet Akay, Mersin

A Flawless Piece of Work
10 January 2008

I have obtained the program. A flawless piece of work. I'd like to send you my congratulations and gratitude. It will be immensely useful to many musicians such as myself. I hope that many more music pieces will be added.

Can Tezel, Germany

A Great Service to Turkish Art Music
19 October 2007

This program is a great service to Turkish art music. Especially instrumentalists will make great use of it. Those who sing in choirs won't have to make do with 2 - 3 hours of group practice and will be able to reinforce newly-learned pieces with Mus2okur. My congratulations.

Çağlar Atalay, Anadolu Music Association, İstanbul

Monumental Effort
5 October 2007

I sincerely congratulate Kemal Karaosmanoğlu. This is indeed a brilliant program and the result of a monumental effort. Some of the included musical works have a few small errors but I'm sure they will be corrected in time. I could not find a way to print sheet music in the demo version. Does the full version offer this feature? To make more people aware of this great piece of work, I can contact Doğan Hızlan. We will hopefully make a presentation to the Turkish Music Foundation Board of Directors after the holidays. I once again congratulate Kemal Bey and send my gratitude for this great service.


Osman Simav, Vice President of the Turkish Music Foundation, İstanbul

4 October 2007

Well done, brother Kemal. You are fearsome. I must also congratulate Ali Saydam for his brilliant introductory write-up. Bravo.

Ozan Yarman, İstanbul

Looks Magnificent
27 September 2007

Dear Brother Kemal,

I congratulate you on your efforts into Mus2okur. I am looking into the program just now, and as a first impression I can say it looks magnificent. I listened to a few pieces and poked around a bit. I really like the software. Well done to everyone who's worked in its development. I wish you further success.


M. Ekrem Öztürk, İstanbul

Well thought-out
25 September 2007

I have examined Mus2okur. The layout and the access buttons are well thought-out. I couldn't get sound to work but I'm sure I will even like it more once I get sound. Some of the pictures are a bit blurry.

Well done Kemal Karaosmanoğlu.

Dr. Recep Uslu, İstanbul

A Splendid Piece of Work
24 September 2007

Dear friend,

I received the demo via courier today. Thank you very much. While waiting, I became too impatient and downloaded the program from the web site with your assistance and already took a look. Well done. You have created a splendid piece of work. I see it as my duty to report to you aspects of the program that can be improved (if any) after a thorough examination.


Dr. Savaş Barçın, Ankara