The pioneer composers of contemporary classical music in the Republic of Turkey (aka Contemporary Turkish Music) created their first musical compositions by incorporating some of the components of traditional Turkish music — scale, rhythm, motif, and style — and abstracted forms thereof. The Ballade, a one-part orchestral piece dating back to 1947, composed by one of the first-generation composers, Necil Kazım Akses, is an example of this approach to composition. Both the concert program notes and various concert criticisms give an idea about the structures of traditional Turkish music in the Ballade. However, the Ballade, as an example of programmatic music, requires a more detailed analysis, especially in terms of motif and rhythm. In this study, which aims to establish the connection between the composition at hand and primarily traditional Turkish music, I examine the composition in terms of rhythm, motif, scale, and style, and the findings are correlated with the original structures of traditional Turkish music. The findings showed that Akses used rhythmic (usûl) abstractions in his work more than the modal (maqam) structures. When examining the modal structure of the work, I also detected that the composer preferred to abstract the motifs exhibited by the maqams, instead of abstracting the maqam structures directly. The study especially reveals Akses’s creative approach to motivic abstraction, with the explanation of how the basic motif of Ballade was created.
Necil Kazım Akses, Ballade, Contemporary Turkish Music, Maqam, Rhythm, Analysis