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The Arabesk Debate


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Part 1 Introduction: centres and peripheries; cities and migrants; discourses of sentiment; fieldwork. Part 2 Discovering the folk and their music: Turkism; Ziya Gokalp and the Turkish theory of culture; the language reforms; the construction of a national music, from Gokalp to the TRT; reform in action - the institutions of urban halk music; "dernek" and "dershane". Part 3 Rules systems, and techniques - reconstructing Turkish folk music: defining boundaries - "makam" and "ayak"; individuality and invention; notation; the "baglama"; regional style - "tavir" and "duzen"; the "electrosaz", the "piyasa", and the polyphony debate - live and studio performance of halk music. Part 4 Arabesk: musicological critique - arabesk and Arab music; sociological critique - the "gecekondu" problem and "dolmus culture" ; arabesk and "religious reaction" ("irtica"); the musicians; audiences. Part 5 Arabesk lyrics and narratives: predictive metaphors of sound - "yanmak" and "yakmak"; narratives of music - the arabesk film; the arabesk song text and the interior domain; arabesk and protest - the social domain and the "gariban"; fate, love, and self; "hal" and urban space; emotions and secrets. Part 6 The musical organization of Arabesk: inspiriation; the recording studio; "makam" in arabesk - "sevda gozlum"; "fantezi" in arabesk - "dunya donuyor"; "usul" and disorder. Part 7 Arabesk and "sema": "sema" - the language of "sema"; the secret and the feast; the dance; "tasasvvuf" and the music of the spheres.


`The main strength of the book is to be found in Stokes's competent ability to explore both anthropological and musicological aspects of arabesk. His rigorous documentation and analysis of various aspects of Turkish musical life give us an equally vivid picture of contemporary Turkey as a secular Muslim state ... I found Stokes's book extremely informative, and it deserves the attention not only of students popular culture and music, Mediterranean specialists and researchers of the modern Muslim world, but also all ethnomusicologists interested in the study of music in society.' Anthropology Ireland `Martin Stokes's first book has a sophisticated awareness of orientalist controversies. It also draws on the opposition between centre and periphery. A major novelty here is that his perspective on the latter comes mostly from the sprawling metropolis of Istanbul ... fine book ... To my mind Stokes really does achieve an innovative synthesis in this book: cultural meanings are subtly explored against the evidence rather than imposed by the observer, and the author pays careful attention to the full social and political context ... there is no doubt that in this first book Martin Stokes admirably realises the stated goal of this new Oxford series, namely to set "the criteria of excellence in ethnographic description and innovation in analysis".' Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford `His fascinating and wide-ranging study is based on extensive fieldwork in Istanbul during the late 1980s. He draws on an impressive range of scholarly sources within the fields of ethnomusicology, anthropology, and popular music and Middle Eastern studies ... excellent book ... It is impressive, intelligent, enjoyable and informative, a valuable addition to the small number of studies on popular music to be found within the field of ethnomusicology.' Popular Music `Dr Stokes has written an extremely insightful analysis of both 'Arabesk', the leading genre of popular music in contemporary Turkey, as well as of the acrimonious public debate surrounding it, by combining the methodologies of anthropology and ethnomusicology. Rarely have these related methodologies been combined as successfully to treat a single musical genre of the contemporary Middle East ... The Arabesque Debate is a major contribution to the study of the role of popular musical culture within the highly contested world of Turkish cultural politics. As a monograph on any musical genre in contemporary Turkey its quality is unique, and it ranks among the best of the few comparable studies elsewhere in the Middle East.' Walter Feldman, MESA Bulletin

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