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The Kevserî Mecmûası Unveiled: Exploring an Eighteenth-Century Collection of Ottoman Music*


The Kevserî Mecmûası is an eighteenth-century Turkish manuscript, which includes, in addition to a variety of music-related contents, a fairly large collection of notations. Given the scarcity of notational sources, it offers invaluable material for understanding the performance practice and compositional style of Ottoman music before the nineteenth century. Having studied a hitherto unknown microfilm copy of this manuscript, the original of which has remained up to now in a private library and closed to our access, the author aims in this article to introduce this source and discuss its potential contribution to the knowledge of Ottoman music. The article is organised roughly in two parts. First, it will present briefly the contents of the manuscript, integrating new evidence and clues about its date, author and purpose into existing knowledge. Second, it will focus on the collection of notations in the manuscript, and by comparing it with the earlier collections will argue that, contrary to the prevailing views expressed in the literature, no large-scale transformation in the style of Ottoman music took place in the early eighteenth century.

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1 Ayangil Ruhi, “Western Notation in Turkish Music”, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, Series 3, 18: 4 (2008), pp. 401447.

2 Ali Ufkî Bey [Albertus Bobovius], [Untitled Manuscript], Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Turc, no. 292. Henceforth referred to as AUP.

3 Ali Ufkî Bey [Albertus Bobovius], Hâẕâ Mecmû‘a-i Sâzu Söz, British Library, MS Sloane, no. 3114. Henceforth referred to as MSS.

4 Demetrius Cantemir, Kitâbu ‘İlmi'l-Mûsîḳî ‘alâ Vechi'l-Ḥurûfât, İstanbul Üniversitesi Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Kütüphanesi, Yazmalar, no. 100. Henceforth referred to as Edvâr. Since the two parts of this manuscript are paginated separately, whenever necessary the theory-related part will be referred to as Edvâr I and the collection of notations as Edvâr II to avoid confusion.

5 Wright Owen, Demetrius Cantemir: The Collection of Notations Volume 2 Commentary (Aldershot, 2000), p. 6.

6 Wright, who undertook the first serious investigation of the ‘older’ and ‘newer’ versions of instrumental pieces, explains the transformation as the gradual combination of “melodic elaboration” and “rhythmic retardation”: Wright, “Aspects of Historical Change in the Turkish Classical Repertoire”, Musica Asiatica 5 (1988), pp. 1–108. See also Feldman Walter, Music of the Ottoman Court (Berlin, 1996), pp. 327338, 498–503.

7 For a comprehensive compilation of musical material furnished by European visitors in the Ottoman Empire, see Aksoy Bülent, Avrupalı Gezginlerin Gözüyle Osmanlılarda Musıki (İstanbul, 1994).

8 These include three peşrevs, a vocal piece and a few ethnic folk tunes; see Charles Fonton, Essai sur la musique orientale comparée à la musique européenne, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Français, Nouvelles acquisitions, no. 4023, pp. 133–143. This essay is reproduced by Neubauer Eckhard in Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 2 (1985), pp. 277324.

9 Abdülbâkî Nâsır Dede, Risâle-i Mûsîḳî-i ‘Abdü’l-Bâḳî, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Esad Efendi, no. 3898. The collection is limited to the Mevlevî âyini in makâm Sûzidilârâ, accompanied by a couple of peşrevs and an instrumental semâî in the same makâm.

10 Leaving aside the folk music examples, among the three instrumental compositions he recorded, only one, the Sabâ Peşrev, can be regarded as fairly accurate, while the other two, which have been identified by Wright as peşrevs in Bestenigâr and Uşşâk, are quite corrupt in terms of melody and rhythm. For the identification and comments, see Wright, “Mais qui était ‘Le compositeur du Péchrev dans le Makâm Nihavend’?” Studii Şi Cercetări de Lstoria Artei. Teatru, Muzicǎ, Cinemal. Ist. Art., Teatru, Muzică, Cinematografie, serie nouă, 1(45) (2007), pp. 21–24.

11 Raûf Yektâ Bey, “‘İlm-i Îḳâ‘”, İḳdâm, 2 February 1907; “Diyapozon”, İḳdâm, 8 February 1907; and “Le compositeur du Péchrev dans le mode Nihavend”, La Revue Musicale 7: 5 (March 1907), pp. 117–121.

12 Raûf Yektâ, “Le compositeur”, pp. 119–121. This is the penultimate piece in the collection (K538, i.e. no. 538 in the Kevserî Mecmûası). The facsimile and a negligibly different transcription of this piece was published shortly afterwards in Burada Teodor T., “Scrierile muzicale ale lui Dimitrie Cantemir domnitorul Moldovei”, Analele Academiei Române, Seria 2, Memoriile Secţiunii Literare 32 (1909–10), pp. 99, 123–130.

13 Yegâh Peşrev (K1) was published in Raûf Yektâ, “Kitâbet-i Mûsîḳiye Târîḫine Bir Naẓar”, Şehbâl 11 (1909), p. 211, and Büzürg Peşrev (K3) in Bedî Mensî [Hüseyin Sadeddin Arel], “Kevserî Mecmû‘asından Müstaḫrec İki Ḳadîm Peşrev Ḥaḳḳında Ba‘zı Müṭâla‘ât”, Şehbâl 12 (1909), p. 236.

14 İsmail Baha Sürelsan, “Kantemiroğlu ve Türk Musikisi”, in Dimitrie Cantemir (1673–1723) (Ankara, 1975), pp. 73–113. The published compositions are Zengûle Peşrev (K6) and, once again, Nihâvend Peşrev (K538).

15 Öztuna Yılmaz, Türk Musikisi Ansiklopedisi, 2 vols. (İstanbul, 1969–76). The encyclopaedia was republished later with minor changes: Öztuna, Büyük Türk Musikisi Ansiklopedisi, 2 vols. (Ankara, 1990). The references in this article will be given to the latter edition (BTMA).

16 Popescu-Judetz Eugenia, Dimitrie Cantemir: Cartea Ştiinţei muzicii (Bucharest, 1973); and “Dimitrie Cantemir's Theory of Turkish Art Music”, in Studies in Oriental Arts (Pittsburgh, 1981), pp. 99–170.

17 Popescu-Judetz, XVIII. Yüzyıl Musıki Yazmalarından Kevserî Mecmuası Üstüne Karşılaştırmalı Bir İnceleme, trans. Aksoy Bülent (İstanbul, 1998).

18 Edvâr-ı ‘İlm-i Mûsîḳî, İstanbul Üniversitesi Kütüphanesi, Türkçe Yazmalar, no. 1856; Edvâr-ı ‘İlm-i Mûsîḳî, İstanbul Üniversitesi Kütüphanesi, Türkçe Yazmalar, no. 5636; Hâşim Bey, Şarḳı Mecmû‘ası (İstanbul, 1269 AH); Teşrîḥ-i Maḳâmât-ı Mûsîḳî, İstanbul Üniversitesi Kütüphanesi, Türkçe Yazmalar, no. 804; Edvâr-ı ‘İlm-i Mûsîḳî, İstanbul Üniversitesi Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Kütüphanesi, Yazmalar, no. 60; also see Popescu-Judetz, Kevserî Mecmuası, pp. 20–25.

19 Milli Kütüphane, Mf1994 A 4941. The library's catalogue indicates that the microfilm was acquired around 1974 from a private library. It is surprising that, despite the general curiosity about the Kevserî Mecmûası, for decades nobody could locate its microfilm copy in Turkey's largest public library.

20 By kind permission of Yavuz Yektay, the owner of the Kevserî Mecmûası, the original has been compared with the microfilm and it has been confirmed that the latter is a full copy. However, there are missing pages in the original and, hence, in the microfilm.

21Kitâb-ı Mûsîḳâr: ‘İlm-i mûsîḳîde cümlesinden lâzım olan ‘ilm-i uṣûldür. . . Heyûla-i uṣûl yiğirmi dört ṣıfatda”. The original is in Edvâr I, pp. 78–79. Raûf Yektâ's introduction to the Kevserî Mecmûası with the title Kitâb-ı Mûsîḳâr was obviously derived from the heading of this passage.

22 Each pan of the scales not only contains one time unit, making up four time units with five attacks in total, but also the signs of four successive main pitches, which altogether constitute the register of the Cantemir notation from yegâh up to tîz hüseynî. According to the marginal note “inventor Kevserî” (“mûcid Kevserî”) on the top of the page, this illustration was developed by Kevserî.

23 In this peculiar way of illustrating the usûls, the outer layer portrays a longer usûl while the inner layer portrays a shorter one, which should be played a number of times in order that the both layers of the cycle close at the same point. The marginal note “inventor Kevserî” appears on the most of the pages here, implying that showing two usûls at a time could be an original idea of Kevserî. However, Popescu-Judetz argues that even if Kevserî was the first person who introduced the concept of polyrhythmic progression into Ottoman music literature, it had long been a practice among Middle Eastern musicians to beat two or more usûls simultaneously: Popescu-Judetz, Kevserî Mecmuası, pp. 16–17.

24 The marginal note “mûcid Kevserî Muṣṭafa Efendi Nâyî” is read before this text.

25Kitâb-ı Mûsîḳâr: ‘İlm-i mûsîḳîde cümlesinden lâzım olan ‘ilm-i uṣûldür. . . Heyûla-i uṣûl yiğirmi dört ṣıfatda”. The original is in Edvâr I, pp. 78–79. Raûf Yektâ's introduction to the Kevserî Mecmûası with the title Kitâb-ı Mûsîḳâr was obviously derived from the heading of this passage.

Each pan of the scales not only contains one time unit, making up four time units with five attacks in total, but also the signs of four successive main pitches, which altogether constitute the register of the Cantemir notation from yegâh up to tîz hüseynî. According to the marginal note “inventor Kevserî” (“mûcid Kevserî”) on the top of the page, this illustration was developed by Kevserî.

In this peculiar way of illustrating the usûls, the outer layer portrays a longer usûl while the inner layer portrays a shorter one that should be played a number of times in order that both layers of the cycle close “Ḥażret-i Mevlânânıñ neyzenbaşısı Ḳuṭb-i Nâyî Dede ḳuddise sırruhu'l-‘azîz”. Popescu-Judetz introduced this sketch as an “ink-made picture depicting a venerable dervish named Kutb-i Nâyî Dede”: Popescu-Judetz, Kevserî Mecmuası, p. 16. Probably misled by the title “Kutb-i Nâyî”, Wright assumed that the sketch belonged to Nâyî Osman Dede, who was a legendary neyzen and one of the leading music masters of the time. Wright even went further by suggesting some sort of psychological obligation for Kevserî to include a portrait of this personage, who was also a Mevlevî dervish of the highest rank, in his Mecmûa because he borrowed more from the treatise of Cantemir, who was, so to speak, the “rival” of Osman Dede in music theory: Wright, “Mais qui était”, p. 12. Yet the abovementioned note and the calligraphic text incorporated in the picture clearly indicate that this is actually an imaginative representation of Kutb-i Nâyî Hamza Dede, the chief neyzen of Mevlânâ.

26 Feldman, pp. 303, 333.

27 Popescu-Judetz, Kevserî Mecmuası, p. 27.

28 Öztuna, Türk Mûsikîsi Kavram ve Terimleri Ansiklopedisi (Ankara, 2000), p. 319.

29 Wright, “Mais qui était”, p. 13.

30 Interestingly enough, while Kevserî explicitly refers to these two names, nowhere in the theory-related parts of the manuscript does the name Cantemir appear.

31 Hâtem was a renowned poet and scholar: Tâhir Bursalı Mehmed, ‘Osmânlı Mü’ellifleri (İstanbul, 1333 AH), vol. 2, pp. 166167; Hâfız Hüseyin Ayvansarâyî, Mecmuâ-i Tevârih, prep. Fahri Ç. Derin and Vâhid Çabuk (İstanbul, 1985 [late-18th c.]), p. 188; Mehmet Nâil Tuman, Tuhfe-i Nâilî: Divân Şâirlerinin Muhtasar Biyografileri, prep. Cemâl Kurnaz and Mustafa Tatcı (Ankara, 2001), vol. 1, p. 236. While copies of his Dîvân, as well as his books relating to linguistics, ethics and mathematics are available in libraries, no book of music by him has yet been identified. Even so, his compositions in song-text collections show his interest in music. For example, see [Anonymous Song-Text Collection], British Library, MS Or., no. 7059, 148b; [Anonymous Song-Text Collection], British Library, MS Or., no. 7252, ff. 51b, 55b, 67a, 82b, 89b and passim.

32 The most frequently cited are Edvâr-ı Ḥıżır Aġa, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Hafîd Efendi, no. 291; and Tefḥîmü’l-Maḳâmât fî Tevlîdi'n-Naġamât, Topkapı Sarayı, Hazine, no. 1793. For the other copies see İhsanoğlu Ekmeleddin et al. , Osmanlı Mûsikî Literatürü Tarihi (İstanbul, 2003), pp. 108109.

33 Öztuna gives the date 1749 for Edvâr-ı Ḥıżır Aġa: Öztuna, BTMA, vol. 1, p. 342; however, no date of inscription is found anywhere in this copy. On the other hand, Tefḥîmü’l-Maḳâmât, the other of the two copies that have been considered the earliest, postdates 1761: see Daloğlu Yavuz, “Hızır Ağa ve Edvarı Üzerine (2)”, Mızrap 40 (1986), p. 19.

34 There is no serious documentation about the life of Hızır. Öztuna, without providing any evidence, gives 1760 as the year of his death, whereas Daloğlu suggests circa 1795: Öztuna, BTMA, vol. 1, p. 342; Daloğlu, p. 20. A study in the Topkapı Palace archives has revealed that Hızır was alive during the first years of the reign of Sultan Selim III, who came to the throne in 1789: İsmail Hakkı Uzunçarşılı, “Osmanlılar Zamanında Saraylarda Musiki Hayatı”, Belleten XLI, no. 161–164 (1977), p. 108. In the light of this information, Daloğlu's conjecture is more likely.

35 Şeyhülislâm Esad Efendi, Aṭrabü’l-Âsâr fî Teẕkireti ‘Urefâi'l-Edvâr, İstanbul Üniversitesi Kütüphanesi, Türkçe Yazmalar, no. 6204, fol. 5b. He may be the same person as Âmâ Çengî and Çengî İbrâhim Ağa. Both of these names appear in the Edvâr, but there is no evidence there that they refer to the same person. Considering them together with the name in the Kevserî Mecmûası suggests that there may have been a single Âmâ Çengî İbrâhim.

36 Şeyhülislâm, Aṭrabü’l-Âsâr, ff. 5a-5b. He may be the same person as Edirneli Zurnazen/Dağî Ahmed Çelebi, whose name is encountered in the Edvâr.

37 Ergun Sadeddin Nüzhet, Türk Musikisi Antolojisi Birinci Cild Dinî Eserler (İstanbul, 1942), 159160.

38 Öztuna, BTMA, vol. 1, pp. 11–12.

39 Efendi Seyyid Muhammed Hoca, Tasavvuf: Tarikatlar ve Silsileleri (İstanbul, 2005), vol. 4, p. 536; Süreyya Mehmed, Sicill-i Osmânî, prep. Akbayar Nuri and Kahraman Seyit Ali (İstanbul, 1996 [1308–16 AH]), vol. 2, p. 572.

40 Hammer-Purgstall Baron Joseph von, Büyük Osmanlı Tarihi, trans. Bey Mehmed Ata, prep. Mümin Çevik and Erol Kılıç (İstanbul, [1998] [1827–35]), vol. 5, pp. 248252.

41 Hekimbaşı Abdülaziz Efendi, Mecmû'a, İstanbul Üniversitesi Kütüphanesi, Türkçe Yazmalar, no. 3866, ff. 389b–393a.

42 While the contents of the list were largely taken from the lists in Edvâr I, pp. 105–124, 132–141, there are a few extra items as well.

43 Avram Galanté informs us that a Jewish composer named Isaac Amigo, who was known among the Turks as Çuhacıoğlu (Son of a broadcloth dealer), lived in Edirne in the eighteenth century. His peşrevs were quite famous, particularly the one in makâm Bayâtî and usûl Devr-i Kebîr: Galanté Avram, Histoire des juifs de Turquie (İstanbul, n.d.), vol. 8, p. 69. There appears to be enough reason to argue that the entry referred to him.

44 Although he was an eminent violinist and composer of his time, there is extremely little information about Corci. The extant biographies of him are full of dubious conjectures. For example, Öztuna, again without any supporting reference, claims that two different violinists named Corci lived in the eighteenth century: Öztuna, BTMA, vol. 1, pp. 185–186. This is very doubtful. The available bits of information on Corci are as follows: He was a famous musician in the court of Sultan Mahmud I: Uzunçarşılı, “Osmanlılar Zamanında”, p. 94; Reşad Ekrem Koçu, Topkapu Sarayı (İstanbul, 1960), pp. 138–139; Fonton, pp. 123–124. In a letter dated 1758, he was referred to as an old man: Öztuna, BTMA, 1: 186. In addition, he was one of the first music teachers of Ahmed Kâmilî Efendi, who died in 1821 around 80 years of age: Tayyârzâde Ahmed Atâ, Târîḫ-i ‘Aṭâʼ (İstanbul, 1291–93 AH), vol. 3, pp. 23–24; Ahmed Cevdet Paşa, Tarih-i Cevdet, prep. Mümin Çevik (İstanbul, 1972–74 [1271–78 AH]), vol. 11, pp. 77–78. From these clues, it would not be unreasonable to argue that there was only one violinist Corci, who died in the third quarter of the eighteenth century.

45 Hekimbaşı's later list includes seven pieces by Çukacızâde, four by Esad Efendi and 28 by Corci, while Kevserî mentions only one peşrev apiece by the first two and two by Corci, and fails to supply any notations.

46 As will be explained below, K538 does not conform to this dating.

47 Popescu-Judetz, Dimitrie Cantemir, p. 80; Kevserî Mecmuası, p. 13.

48 Sürelsan, “Kantemiroğlu ve Türk Musikisi”, p. 79.

49 Öztuna, BTMA, vol. 2, pp. 81, 415.

50 For example, see Feldman, p. 34; Yalçın Tura, Kitâbu ‘İlmi'l-Mûsîḳî ‘alâ vechi'l-Ḥurûfât - Mûsikîyi Harflerle Tesbît ve İcrâ İlminin Kitabı (İstanbul, 2001), vol. 1, p. XXXVIII. A striking example of the confusion caused by the lack of reliable information in the literature is the statement by another researcher that “the real name of Kevserî Dede is Mustafa Ali” (“Kevserî Dede'nin asıl adı Mustafa Ali'dir”): Özalp M. Nazmi, Türk Mûsikîsi Tarihi (İstanbul, 2000), vol. 1, p. 470.

51 Despite his contemporary status as a leading ney player, there is very little information in the published literature about Ali Dede. According to one source, he was the chief neyzen of the Galata Mevlevî Lodge in 1815–16: Rifat Ali, Yekta Rauf, Ahmet Zekâizade, and Suphi Dr, İstanbul Konservatuarı Neşriyatı Türk Musikisi Klasiklerinden Sekizinci Cilt Mevlevi Ayinleri (İstanbul, 1934), p. 378. Another source notes that he was still at that post in 1823, and that he died in 1829: Şahabettin Uzluk, Mevlevilikte Resim Resimde Mevleviler (Ankara, 1957), p. 68. His interest in collecting books on music is evident from the appearance of his seal on many Ottoman music manuscripts, including the Edvâr.

52Bende-i ḥażret-i Mevlânâ, Ser-Nâyî ‘Ali Dede

53 The former, accompanied by the autograph inscription “the owner of the book, Kevserî, the puny and frail slave [of Allah]” (“El-‘abdü’z-za’îfü’n-naḫîf ṣâḥibü’l-kitâb Kevserî”), is on fol. 1a, while the latter is on the flyleaf.

54 Ezgi Subhi, Nazari, Ameli Türk Musikisi (İstanbul, 1933–53), vol. 4, p. 199.

55 The other three are E116, E222 and E337.

56 Popescu-Judetz, Kevserî Mecmuası, p. 13.

57 Öztuna, BTMA, vol. 2, p. 81.

58 Feldman, p. 450.

59 Yektâ Raûf, “‘İlm-i Îḳâ’”; “La musique turque”, in Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du conservatoire, eds. Lavignac Albert and Laurencie Lionel de la (Paris, 1921–27), 5: 3027. His belief was that Kevserî lived in the seventeenth century, and the notations in the manuscript were inscribed later by another hand.

60 Only a verbal definition of the latter is given.

61 Âb-ı Kevser Peşrev (K314) and Karcığâr Peşrev (K318).

62 In fact, the latter handwriting starts on the very last page of the copied notations (fol. 124a). This may indicate either that two people were involved in copying Cantemir's collection, or that the second hand had to rewrite that last page for some reason. While the scripts are fairly uniform in both blocks, there are a few pieces in the original part of the collection where the handwriting tends to change. The abrupt change in pen, script and notational practices immediately after a uniformly written and logically arranged set of pieces leaves no doubt that K538 was recorded by another hand. It is more difficult to suggest another scribe for the other instances, though, particularly because the differences are not that striking and the study has been conducted on a monochrome microfilm.

63 It is true that to a few pieces taken from the Edvâr, such as K129 and K196, new melodies were added by the same hand as the original notations. Yet, these rare instances are far from suggesting a rigorous effort by Kevserî to revise or edit the copied notations.

64 Wright, Demetrius Cantemir, p. 10.

65 Popescu-Judetz, Kevserî Mecmuası, pp. 20–21.

66 The texts in Edvâr I, pp. 1–66 and pp. 77–79 are scattered between ff. 6b–210b in 13 passages with no logical order. The lists of peşrevs and semâîs in Edvâr I, pp. 105–124 and pp. 132–141 appear between ff. 45b–114a, but this time the material is ordered according to makâm. Short excerpts from Edvâr I, pp. 21 and 49, both of which pertain to transposition, are copied more than once. The remaining pages of the Edvâr are omitted. The omission of Edvâr I, pp. 67–76 was most likely involuntary, though, since these pages are missing in the original as well.

67 K538 is an exception, as it was evidently notated later by another hand. Nevertheless, this was a one-time effort, probably an experimental one, unlike the inscription of dozens of pieces by Kevserî.

68 This manuscript is also of mixed quality in terms of tidiness. While the notated music is carefully arranged according to makâm and usually captioned, numerous poems and non-musical texts are inscribed haphazardly in the margins of pages. Nevertheless, Ali Ufkî still expressed, in a quatrain, his wish that after his death the manuscript should be owned by those who would appreciate its worth: MSS, fol. 183b.

69 Ali Ufkî and Kevserî's anticipation that the MSS and the Kevserî Mecmûası, respectively, would be referred to by others is also inferred from their exaggerated, even false, references to themselves. While the latter proclaimed himself as an inventor, the former pretended to have composed folk songs by replacing the pennames of poets with “‘Alî” or “Ufḳî”. Original pennames survive in the AUP. For example, cf. AUP, fol. 144b/MSS, fol. 73a; AUP, fol. 183a/MSS, fol. 49a; AUP, fol. 195a/MSS, fol. 82a; AUP, fol. 236b/MSS, fol. 34a.

70 While the pitches evc and hüseynî frequently appear in these pieces, it has been the practice from the eighteenth century onwards that acem and a slightly lower hüseynî, often bayâtî, are employed in makâm Arazbâr: cf. K486, K487; also see Hızır Ağa, Edvâr-ı Ḥıżır Aġa, fol. 14b; Popescu-Judetz, Tanburî Küçük Artin: A Musical Treatise of the Eighteenth Century (İstanbul, 2002), pp. 52–53. The use of the former set of pitches in that particular melodic progression has been the characteristic of the makâm Gerdâniye: Hızır Ağa, Edvâr-ı Ḥıżır Aġa, fol. 13a; Popescu-Judetz, Tanburî Küçük Artin, p. 51. In fact, Cantemir defines the makâm Arazbâr almost identically to the others (Edvâr I, p. 54), but the compositions he provides in this makâm do not conform to this definition.

71 Wright, “Mais qui était”, p. 12.

72 For more about the Osman Dede notation, see Popescu-Judetz, Dimitrie Cantemir, pp. 91–92; Türk Musıki Kültürünün Anlamları, trans. Bülent Aksoy (İstanbul, 1996), pp. 36–41; and Doğrusöz Nilgün, “Nâyî Osman Dede'nin Müzik Yazısına Dair Birkaç Belge”, Mûsikîşinas 8 (2006), pp. 4766.

73 Wright, “Aspects”, pp. 72, 101; Feldman, p. 315.

74 Feldman considers this as the sixth of the eight periods of Ottoman peşrevs: Feldman, p. 326.

75 Wright, “Mais qui était”, p.16.

76 Wright, “Mais qui était”, p.15. In fact, not only the differences in the handwriting but also those in notation practice had led Popescu-Judetz long ago to believe that the piece was a later addition: Popescu-Judetz, Dimitrie Cantemir, p. 75. But her complete silence in her later works, including her monograph on the Kevserî Mecmûası, indicates her hesitancy in this regard. More puzzlingly, in her recently published book, she mentions this piece as if it was notated by Kevserî: “around 1750. . . Kevseri authenticated it as a Kantimiroğlu composition”: Popescu-Judetz, Three Comparative Essays on Turkish Music (İstanbul, 2010), p. 36, also see p. 32.

77 The last piece in the collection, i.e. Uşşâk Peşrev (K539), may be a later addition as well, but its differences from the other notations in terms of handwriting and musical style are less obvious.

78 Even Cantemir acknowledges that many coeval musicians performed Bestenigâr in this way: Edvâr I, p. 46.

79 AUP, ff. 169b–170a; MSS, ff. 14b–15a.

80 Feldman, pp. 477–493.

81 Cantemir had given only two, namely Semâî and Semâî-i Leng, and referred to Semâî-i Raks and Semâî-i Harbî without supplying their patterns.

82 Among the few exceptions, which look like the pieces Cantemir recorded in the smallest metre, are K310, K312, K313, K317 (see below), K355 and K539.

83 The makâm is given as Hüseynî, the composer Acemler and the title “Ḥacc”. Notation is in the small metre (vezn-i sagîr). Prima/seconda volta variations that do not appear in the other versions are omitted in the score.

84 The makâm is given as Muhayyer and the composer Mîr-i Hâc. Notation is in the large metre (vezn-i kebîr).

85 AUP, fol. 278b; and later copied, almost identically, in MSS, ff. 40b–41a. The makâm is given as Hüseynî in the former and Muhayyer in the latter. Both give Emîr-i Hacc as the composer. All note values in the original are halved here for the sake of comparison.

86 Wright, “Aspects”, pp. 9–13; Feldman, p. 332.

87 The makâm is Bayâtî and the composer is İbrâhîm Ağa. Notation is in the small metre.

88 The makâm is Arazbâr and the composer is Nefîrî Behrâm. Notation is in the large metre.

89 MSS, fol. 35a. The makâm is Hüseynî and the composer is Behrâm.

90 The makâm is Hüseynî and the composer is Behrâm. Notation is in the large metre.

91Tiz ḥareketlü üzerinde taṣnîf olunan terâkib ve peşrevât vezn-i ekber yâḫud vezn-i aṣġar ḥükmi altında, aġır ḥareketlü üzerinde taṣnîf olunanlar ise ṣaġîrü’ṣ-ṣaġîr ḥükmi altında gelürler”: Edvâr I, p. 15.

92 Cantemir attributes this to Muzaffer, Kevserî to Acemler.

93 Cantemir attributes this to Muzaffer, Kevserî to Ağa-i Mü’min.

94 Although Kevserî still wrote semiquavers in the large metre through dividing one unit into three or four, these instances are relatively rare.

95 K317 records the composer as Acemler, while K483 does not specify any name. Both give the title “Maṭlûb”. Both notations are in the large metre. Since Cantemir mentions this piece among “unknown peşrevs” (Edvâr I, pp. 112, 140), it was probably composed in the seventeenth century.

96 Fonton noted in 1751 that embellishing the main melody with subtle musical fragments was a sign of mastery among Ottoman musicians: Fonton, p. 78.

* I owe special thanks to Owen Wright for his thorough review and insightful comments. I am also grateful to Karl Signell, Jacob Olley and Mehmet Demirer for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper and to Timuçin Çevikoğlu for his assistance in the preparation of the Kevserî Mecmûası for publication.

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Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
  • ISSN: 1356-1863
  • EISSN: 1474-0591
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