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Atatürk's Understanding of Music

"Sirs!. You can all be deputies, representatives, even presidents, but you can't be artists, let's love these children who dedicate their lives to a great art..."

This is one of ATATÜRK's words that show his great love for art and artists.

The great ATATÜRK has many more words that honor the art and the artist.

"The artist is the first person to feel the joy of light on his forehead, giving long efforts and studies in the society."

"If a nation lacks art and craftsmen, it cannot have a full life."

Great ATATÜRK, because he knew that art, which is an important part of national culture, should be highly valued, encouraged and appreciated the artist.

"The development of national culture and art, which is the main element of movement in the elevation of the Turkish nation" was ATATÜRK's main desire.

ATATÜRK, in his various speeches on this subject, always pointed to the importance of the Turkish nation, and therefore Turkish art, in the life of the nation, and emphasized that Turkish art should reach the level of contemporary civilization with further moves.

ATATÜRK wanted all changes in the existence of the Turkish nation to be based on national and civilized foundations.

The Turkish nation, which has a deep-rooted history in art and culture, has been its main aim and ideal to reach the level it deserves.

Since ATATÜRK believed that all the changes that should be made in the life of the nation would not be forced, and should be created with an accustomed and convincing attitude, he found it necessary to implement this system, especially in Turkish music.

After a concert of the Presidential Orchestra, which was established by ATATÜRK's orders, ATATÜRK said:

"It is necessary to think about the musical needs of the people. A deep-rooted musical education is needed in order for the people to get used to and enjoy this music (Western music) in order to develop their musical taste."

As a matter of fact, the music teacher's school (1925), which was the foundation of the State Conservatory, was realized upon this sign of the great ATATÜRK. The aim of the music teacher schools was to train teachers for secondary education rather than artists. The second step was the establishment of a national music and performance academy. ATATÜRK emphasized the development of music not only as a theoretical (didactic) pursuit, but with a practical and practical system.

The aim of the established music teacher school was to train teachers rather than artists, and to provide a musical education throughout the country with the help of young teachers. Great ATATÜRK: While saying, "One of the historical characteristics of the Turkish nation, which is a high society of people, is to love the fine arts and to rise in this field", he expresses his trust in the high character and hard work of the Turkish nation, national unity and brilliant intelligence, commitment to knowledge and integrity of heart. He was pointing out that it is our national ideal to develop it by feeding it with all kinds of means and measures and that it should take place in today's world, in a fully civilized society.

ATATÜRK expressed his thoughts on every subject with a clear flow. ATATÜRK, of course, was not a musician, but he had a deep understanding of music and superior taste. These words describe it:

"Many times we cannot find the full dignity of this music (Turkish music). The music we listen to is genuine Turkish music and undoubtedly the music of a high civilization. The world must understand this music. In order to explain it to the whole world, we as a nation need to rise to the level of today's civilized world. "

While ATATÜRK pointed out that we should rise to the level of the civilized world as a nation in order to explain our music to the whole world, it is for us to reveal the true values ​​of a rich music culture that has remained in the darkness and depths of history, especially to convey the musical consciousness, emotion and knowledge to new generations with the same vigor and enthusiasm. They wanted to point out the need for transfer. As a nation with an old and deep-rooted past, ATATÜRK also has a vicious conflict in the fact that music, which is important for our national and social life as well as culture, continues to be a Turkish-alafranga issue for us; On November 1, 1934, in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, he idealized it with the following words from the parliamentary rostrum.

"Friends! I know how you want the youth of the nation to be promoted in all fine arts. This is being done. However, in my opinion, Turkish music should be brought to the fore quickly. The measure for a nation's new change is its ability to perceive and comprehend the change in music. Music that is attempted to be listened to today will make a face. It is far from being valuable, we should know this clearly. It is necessary to collect the high sayings and sayings of the nation that express their thoughts, and to process them according to the general music rules, but Turkish national music can rise in this way and universal music can take its place. I hope it helps him."

With these words he said many years ago, the great ATATÜRK identifies the basic principle in the development of Turkish music policy on solid foundations, knowing that the Turkish nation has a strong musical potential, he wants this music to be developed as it deserves, according to the rules of contemporary civilization. and bright horizons opened.
ATATÜRK also stated that it is possible to achieve a world-class innovation and success in our cultural and artistic existence, as in all national affairs, and that it is important to benefit from folklore values, which is one of the basic elements of being national in music. As a matter of fact, he said at another time: "Our music can be made from the Anatolian people."

With these words, ATATÜRK was emphasizing that folk music, which is the national cultural treasure of the country, should be researched and presented with cultural vitality with scientific principles and methods.

ATATÜRK was not one of those who left his mark on Turkish music, and he did not approve of the view that he was influenced by Arabic, Persian and Byzantine music.

Although Alaturka means something peculiar to Turk, like Turkvari, there are those who are accustomed to use it in a way that is embellished. It is desired to be used in the meanings such as headache, retardation, drowsiness. In fact, it is an extremely commonplace to characterize Turkish music with this understanding.

Some of the words said to belong to ATATÜRK were mistranslated, or they were quoted and interpreted as they liked. One of them is this: "The main music is western music, we should see this music as normal for our nation."

Those who do not like Turkish music, or rather those who do not know it, have completely despised our music. According to them, Turkish music; He was influenced by Byzantine, Arabic and Persian music. It is primitive because it is monophonic. Going further: "It has a cosmopolitan and exotic, melancholic air, so it should throw this music away and take western music."

If these words attributed to ATATÜRK are as interpreted by the narrators, there are also documented statements on the same subject, which means that there is a complete contradiction. A person like ATATÜRK would not fall into such a contradiction. In that case, these words are either incomplete or misrepresented, or ATATÜRK said them for another purpose.

Some extremist conservatives also claimed that ATATÜRK did not like western music and did not like to listen to it. Both are not true. ATATÜRK never made any slander, slander or vilification of Turkish music, on the contrary; "It is the music of a high civilization." he said.

ATATÜRK: "When I talk about a national education program, I mean a culture that is free from foreign thoughts, all the influences that can come from the east and the west, and is suitable for our national unity, tradition and history. Any foreign culture can repeat the destructive results of foreign cultures that have been followed up to now. must be harmonious. This environment is the nation's self." says. (July 1924)

Saying this, ATATÜRK directly said: "The main music for us is western music, we should see this music as normal for our nation." Could it be said in a way that interprets the word?

ATATÜRK wanted Turkish music to be preserved and developed under the best conditions, he also loved western music and listened to it with pleasure.

Appreciating the importance of musical products in the western-oriented studies, the stages of reaching the level of contemporary nations, taking into account our national integrity, taking into account our cultural values ​​and traditions, making use of national and universal literature, and strengthening the power of Turkish music in the western world. He believed that it was necessary to introduce and show the world. This means to introduce the Turkish feeling and national excitement to the whole world by processing them in western standards and techniques.


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