After spending nearly four hours on a post which I’m now leaving as a draft as it kept getting bigger and bigger as I continued to type (I guess I have lots to say, eh?) what I decided to post instead is the first of a new weekly blog series focusing on the cello as it’s used in non-Western contexts. I almost began with one of my favorite non-Western cello figures, Mesut Cemil (son of the more famous Ottoman Classical musician Tanbûrî Cemil Bey), but decided I might end up writing a post that would be just as long and involved as the previous one. So instead, I present to you some cello taksims in lieu of me getting long-winded.
A brief note about taksims
Taksims (the Arabic version is usually transliterated taqsim) are instrumental improvisations in Turkish Art Music. Usually unmetered, the instrumentalist will play a taksim within a specific makam (Arabic transliteration: maqam) which, for lack of a better way to describe it, consists of a scale (dizi) and rules for melodic progression (seyir).
Notice the usage of a drone under the cello taksims below. This is a technique attributed to Mesut Cemil (1902-1963) during a time he started to incorporate a number of revolutionary changes in Turkish Art Music around the time of the Congress of Cairo which he participate in around 1932. Rather than fill this post with a long rambling historical text though, I present you with some beautiful cello taksims–enjoy!!