Analytical procedures regarding improvisational forms on Makam music

Juliano Abramovay

Taksim is a form of idiomatic structured improvisation performed by an unaccompanied soloist. It is one of the main elements of the Makam system: a modal system of melodic types used in Turkish classical music that provides a complex set of rules for composing and performing. Coming from Western classical music training with background in musical analysis, I decided to investigate possible roles of musical analysis for the comprehension of taksim structures and, more importantly, to explore how an analytical approach can contribute to the practical learning of taksim improvisational elements. Preliminary findings will be presented as a two steps case study; first, the manual transcription of a taksim improvisation on the tanbur (a Turkish long-neck lute instrument) followed by the analysis of elements such as intonation, ornamentation and phrasing. Second, adapting those musical elements into a different instrument, the fretless guitar, with its particularities and limitations. The findings generated by this procedure can carry information of great musical relevance that may accelerate and improve the quality of the learning process, especially for musicians that come from a background other that makam music, merging formal elements from a scholar approach (the musical analysis) with a practical/performer research.