Exposition of Usuls as cycles

with düm-tek syllables & note durations


On this page, we propose a method to display usuls pertaining to Turkish maqam music as double-layered cycles containing both note durations, and düm-tek syllables. The MS EXCEL macro code which serves to draw cyclic graphics is developed by M. Sci. M. Uğur Keçecioğlu according to demand and provided instructions. With the suggested method, it is claimed that usuls (akin to how they are shown in historical treatises, but hereinafter supplemented with Western notation) can be executed with comparative ease.

24 February 2016

Dr. Ozan Yarman

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Click for the zipped EXCEL file that draws usuls as cycles as given by İsmail Hakkı Özkan.

Particulars of the cyclic exposition shown in the above graphic is as follows:

  1. 1.Beats are in the clockwise direction, and our usul begins at 12:00 o’clock.

  2. 2.“Düm-tek” syllables are matched with note durations in the adjusted pie chart slices.

  3. 3.Bold font style (bold) indicates the right hand, normal font style (regular) indicates the left hand, italic font style indicates both hands.

  4. 4.Paired beats such as “Te-ke” and “-me” are hypenated. These can never be conceived as independent.

  5. 5.If all letters are capitals (DÜM) the beat will have a forte dynamic, if only the first letter is a capital (Düm) the beat will have a mezzoforte dynamic, if every letter is uncapitalized (düm) the beat will have a piano dynamic, and if all letters are seperated with a space character (d ü m) the beat will have a pianossimo dynamic.

  6. 6.For (long) usuls which require a plethora of beats that cannot fit into a single circle, more than one cycle can be drawn (using different worksheets).

  7. 7.Alternative beats can be indicated between parantheses just as shown in the picture.

  8. 8.In some special cases, in order to indicate that both qudum (drum) mallets are to strike on the left qudum together, the beat is underlined.

  9. The MS EXCEL macro code in the downloaded file transforms fractional values pertaining to note durations in the “A” column into cyclically distributed notes. It moreover formats the düm-tek syllables entered into the “B” column as font styles defined by the user. If you wish, you may enter “ten-nen-ni” syllables into the B column according to the method explained herein.

  10. In column “A”, number 1 signifies quarter note, number 2 signifies half note, and number 4 signifies whole note. As per this logic, 1/2 value indicates one eighth note, 1/4 value indicates one sixteenth note, and 1/8 value indicates one thirty-second note.

In light of the application specified thus far, you can variate any usul by a doubling or halving of its note durations.

NOTICE: If the OPUS TEXT font is not present in your system, you can obtain it by downloading and installing Sibelius Scorch on your computer.