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saz

Here are some of my tunes, played by me on the saz (as seen above). I've also just added one done on the ukulele, and a spoken-word piece.

Each entry lists the name of the scale used, mostly based on the Turkish makam system; note that Hicaz, Bayati, and the Rast scales include tones you won't find on any piano!

Also note that these tunes are inspired by the makams, in that they use the scales upon which those makams are based - but a makam is more than just a scale; it includes typical cadences and compositional idiom that my tunes don't necessarily aspire to. That is why I am careful to say, for example, "in the Bayati scale" rather than "in makam Bayati".

Finally, please note that these aren't performance-quality takes; they are just bare-bones archival recordings for my own reference.

Newest tunes are marked with a ">"

  1. >20060406 (Hicaz) — Doesn't even have a name yet. This is the first ukulele piece I've put up here. The occasional tambourine in the background is actually Rufus shaking his dog tags.
  2. Anatolian Wood* (Rast scale) — One of my favorite crossover mutations.
  3. Caravan of Love (Rast scale) — The text of this is from an Arabic poem by ibn 'Arabi, which you can read here.
  4. Chili Peppers (Hicaz scale) — This is one of my earliest pieces. I was playing for some Middle-eastern dancers and needed some more tunes in Hicaz, so I composed this little ditty. The name derives simply from the fact that I wanted something kinda spicy.
  5. >Din al-Hubb (Spoken) — I had this inspiration for a rhythmic spoken-word rendition of the Arabic poem played on saz as Caravan of Love.
  6. >Dodi Yarad (Neveser) — These are selected verses from the Song of Songs, set to a lovely Turkish Sufi melody.
  7. Friend of My Heart (Rast scale) — Dedicated to my first partner, Gayle.
  8. Gilgul (Neveser scale) — Another friend told me this sounded like a Mevlevi turning-song. Gilgul is a Hebrew word meaning turning or revolving, and is a common shorthand term for gilgul ha-nefesh, or reincarnation.
  9. The Greenway (Mixolydian) — Gayle thought this sounded like a travellin' song. Since I had Tolkien on the brain at the time, I thought of the Greenway, which is the old road leading north from the crossroads at Bree, now covered in grass, and leading to who knows what adventures? Gayle riffed on that, and she composed words for it. Note that this was originally composed in the Rast scale, and you can hear the first version by clicking here.
  10. Havaya Hamishim* (Nihavend scale) — The name of this one is a rather awful multi-lingual pun; if you can't figure it out, you can ask me in email.
  11. Longing (Nihavend scale) — A song to an unrequited love.
  12. Merkaz al-Waheed (Nihavend scale) — This song came by experimenting with using the center course of strings on the saz, which has two strings tuned in unison. This gives a leaner, cleaner sound than the usual melody course of strings, which has two in unison and one an octave lower, and it made me think of unity, and of centering. Merkaz means "center" in both Hebrew and Arabic; waheed means unity, aloneness, uniqueness in Arabic.
  13. Deshe T'khelet (Acemli Rast scale) — This one is the most banjo-like tune I've done, and it makes me think of bluegrass. T'khelet is Hebrew, from the word for "blue", and it is the word for the blue thread the Torah says we should wear in the fringes of our garments. Deshe means "grass".

*These are not my own compositions. You can probably figure out whose they are. :-)

Except as noted above, all of these are written by Lev Koszegi, ©2001-2010.