MEHMET ALI SANLIKOL

VecD

In Mehmet's own words:

"Vecd (wajd in Arabic) refers to being in a state of rapture or ecstasy. In Islamic mysticism Sufi dervishes would try to attain the state of vecd during their ceremonies in which music plays a central role. Since vecd is the essence of sufi ceremonies in this composition I have tried to capture the essence of several different kinds of Turkish sufi ceremonies. When doing this I refrained from incorporating the sophisticated modal characteristics (or the so-called “microtones”) of Turkish Sufi and Ottoman/Turkish classical music since this piece was being composed for a Western string orchestra. Instead, I decided to base the composition on zikir, the practice of singing repeated rhythmic phrases by Sufi dervishes.

Typically, Turkish sufi ceremonies would feature one ostinato in a simpler meter and would speed this ostinato up throughout the course of 5 to 10 minutes, if not more. During the speeding up of the ostinato often a hafız (Koranic chanter) would improvise on top of the ostinato using devotional poetry. In this composition instead of using a single ostinato in a simple meter I used multiple rhythmic cycles ranging from 16 beats per measure to 4 beats per measure. The melodic phrases which develop throughout the piece replace improvisation and these phrases together with the ostinati resemble another kind of Turkish Sufi ceremony: the Sema ceremony of the Mevlevi (whirling) dervishes."