Aksak

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In Ottoman musical theory, aksak is a rhythmic system in which pieces or sequences, executed in a fast tempo, are based on the uninterrupted reiteration of a matrix, which results from the juxtaposition of rhythmic cells based on the alternation of binary and ternary quantities, as in 2+3, 2+2+3, 2+3+3, etc. The name literally means "limping", "stumbling", or "slumping", and has been borrowed by Western ethnomusicologists to refer generally to irregular, or additive meters (Brăiloiu 1951; Fracile 2003, 198; Reinhard, Stokes, and Reinhard 2001, §II, 4).

In Turkish folk music, these metres occur mainly in vocal and instrumental dance music, though they are found also in some folksongs. Strictly speaking, in Turkish music theory the term refers only to the grouping of nine pulses into a pattern of 2 + 2 + 2 + 3 (Reinhard, Stokes, and Reinhard 2001, §II, 4).

Examples[citation needed]:

Units Subdivisions
5 2+3 (türk aksağı [Bulg: Pajduška]), 3+2
7 2+2+3 (devr-i hindi [Bulg. Račenica]), 3+2+2 (Bulg. Lesnoto) Četvorno, 2+3+2
9 2+2+2+3 (aksak [Bulg. Dajčovo]), 3+2+2+2, 2+2+3+2
11 2+2+2+2+3, 2+2+3+2+2 (Bulg. Gankino)
13 2+2+2+2+2+3 (?Bulg. Elenino horo), 2+2+2+3+2+2 (?Bulg. Krivo Sadovsko horo)
15 2+2+2+2+3+2+2 (Bulg. Bučimiš)
18 3+2+2 + 2+2+3+2+2 (?Bulg. Jove male mome)
25 3+2+2 + 3+2+2 + 2+2+3 + 2+2 (?Bulg. Sedi donka)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Brăiloiu, Constantin. 1951. "Le rythme Aksak" Revue de Musicologie 33, nos. 99 and 100 (December): 71–108.
  • Fracile, Nice. 2003. "The 'Aksak' Rhythm, a Distinctive Feature of the Balkan Folklore". Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 44, nos. 1 and 2:197–210.
  • Reinhard, Kurt, Martin Stokes, and Ursula Reinhard. 2001. "Turkey". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.

Further reading[edit]

  • Arom, Simha. 2004. "L'aksak: Principes et typologie". Cahiers de Musiques Traditionnelles 17 (Formes musicales): 11–48.
  • Cler, Jérôme. 1994. "Pour une théorie de l'aksak". Revue de Musicologie 80, no. 2:181–210.