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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Music of the Minarets

I actually don't mind being surrounded by singing spires. It's like the church bells in the West. And so what, if the iman gives his first (recorded?) call to prayer at 6 am, Sundays and weekdays? It's nice to know that you still have an hour or two in bed.

I was listening to them a bit more this time in Istanbul; at least partly because I often found myself in hearing distance of more than one mosque. They obviously have their watches set differently and so they go off slightly after each other. Which would sound like a canon, except that different Imans obviously have different voices and thus can sing only at the pitch which is comfortable to them.

I assume the calls to prayer are different for each prayer. However, at least in the same neighbourhood they all used the same tune for each prayer time. Couldn't exactly memorise it yet, but it would be nice to write it down and then check against it. Or just ask a knowledgeable Muslim....

In western liturgical tradition there are, I think, many ways to kill a cat, and the standard liturgy of, say, the Anglican church can be sung in different ways (though perhaps here also many people stick to the same sequence of notes).

Once written down, it would be interesting to see if such a 'tune' could be written in the style of Bach, Mozart (alla turca....) etc. Or would that already be blasphemy? From what little I understand about Islam, we all worship the same God...


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3 comments:

Helene said...

But only some of us can call our teddy Mohammed.

R said...

hi there.
As far as I know, generally the musical style (=makam) for each call to prayer is supposed to be different. of course the quality of the ezan depends on the musical training and talent the local imam has.

Sabah (morning) Ezanı : Saba makamı

Öğle (midday) Ezanı : Rast makamı

İkindi (afternoon) Ezanı : Hicaz makamı

Akşam (evening) Ezanı : Eviç, Segâh makamları

Yatsı (night) Ezanı : Uşşak, Beyâtî makamları

violainvilnius said...

Wow! That's really interesting and informative!

Thanks!