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What is improvisation? How is it done?

What is improvisation?

Improvisationwhile expressing meanings such as dividing, smashing in the dictionary, as the term of music, on the condition that it is based on a musical mode, the instrumental music that the artist exhibits his own melodic world and talent, in other words improvised variety. Therefore, Improvisation is the name of the instant composition without writing the notes on paper and without being bound by a certain rhythm.

Improvisation is one of the basic performance types of Turkish Music. All the music organizations start with the improvisation. The musical modes of works that will be performed in these organizations are introduced to the ears of both the listeners and the performers thanks to the improvisation in order to be mentally prepared. Of course, not only in these cases, but also individually, the improvisation has always attracted attention and it has been one of the most important forms in which the performers want to improve themselves. Because improvisation, in terms of music, is the summary of what the performer learned and the stages he went through and even all the feelings he experienced in his daily life.

Mevlevi neyzen (ney performer-player) who performs improvisation

So How Is Improvisation Performed?

Aslında bu sorunun tam anlamıyla somut bir cevabı olmamakla birlikte temel kurallarından bahsetmek mümkündür.  Taksim yapabilmek için tüm makamların olmasa da en azından taksim yapmak istediğiniz makamın temel yapısal özelliklerini  bilmeniz gerekir. Bu özellikler ise şöyle sıralanabilir:

  1. Decision voice: It is the ending voice of the office. It is the most basic characteristic of musical mode.
  2. Progress: It is the note range in which the mode will be performed. For example: The course of Rast is the G scale. In other words, it is the note sequence from G to G.
  3. Strong Voice: In its roughest expression, it is the note heard most during the performance of the mode.
  4. Faulty sounds: These are the sounds that are defined as half notes in the course of the mode. If we give an example, the black keys we see between the two white keys on the piano are half sounds. Of course, piano is never an instrument that you can fully reflect Turkish Music.
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These four features help us to perform amateur improvisation performances for the beginning. In addition to these hanging decision voice, yeden; descending progress, rising progress or descending-rising progress will help for better improvisation performance. Let's briefly describe them:

Hanging decision voice: Usually the upper voice of the decision voice. It gives the feeling that the improvisation is approaching the end.

Yeden: It is a sub-voice of the decision sound. It is defined as an auxiliary note to the decision.

Rising progress: It is the musical progress that reach the high pitched sounds from deep voices and then the decision voice is reached.

Descending progress: It is the musical progress that reach the deep voices from high pitched sounds and then the decision voice is reached.

Descending-Rising progress: It is the process that starts in the middle of the main course, includes both high-pitched and low-pitched sounds and then the decision voice is reached.

No matter how much we talk about these rules, you have to listen to a lot of improvisation in order to perform improvisation. Because the feeling and melodic characteristic of a musical mode cannot be expressed in writing, it can only be gained by listening.

How Is Improvisation Performed? Neyzen Ahmed ŞAHİN - Hüzzam Improvisation

How to Improve Improvisation?

Putting all these aside, a performer who wants to perform really impressive improvisation must definitely resort to the practice method, our ancient musical learning method. In other words, he should kneel in front of a teacher and grasp music with the technique of sensation and immediate application.

The reason for this is that sounds can be used quite flexibly in the formation of melodic structures in Turkish Music compared to other music types, and every sound particle (coma-1/9 of note) can be used. It is almost impossible to put this feature on paper and turn it into a teaching curriculum. It is essential for anyone who wants to become a instrumentalist to acquire a quality instrument by researching well and to have a successful teacher in the method of performance-training.

Improvisation types

  1. Introduction Improvisation: It is the starting section before performing the music repertoire.
  2. Middle Improvisation: It is the improvisation in the same musical mode with the song performed before and after.
  3. Transition Improvisation: It is the improvisation that begins with one musical mode and ends in another.
  4. Common Improvisation: It is a improvisation that two or more musicians perform mutually in the same musical mode. It can be between the same instruments, but it is preferred to be made between different instruments.
  5. Index Improvisation: It is the longest improvisation type in which more than one musical modes are played.
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Muhammed TÜRE
Bartın University
Faculty of Islamic Sciences
Islamic Arts and Religious Music Instructor

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