Abstract

Türk müziğinin bugünkü teori, icra ve eğitiminin gelişiminde en belirleyici role sahip olan H. S.
Arel, bu makalede, Türk mûsikîsine yaklaşımında öne çıkan ütopyacı, Garpçı ve Türkçü söylemleri
üzerinden, eleştirel bir değerlendirmeye tabi tutulmaktadır. Buradaki ana amaç, bu üç yönelimin,
kültürel konumlanış ve ideoloji bakımından Arel’in söylemlerinde nasıl şekillendiğini tespit etmektir.
Arel’in Türk mûsikîsi üzerine yazılarının önemli bir kısmı, bizzat kendisinin sahibi olduğu popüler
mecmualarda yayınlanmıştır. Bu yazılarda kullanmayı tercih ettiği söylemlere göre o, her şeyden
evvel bir ütopyacıdır. Türk mûsikîsinin kendi zamanındaki ‘tecelliyat’ından açıkça rahatsızdır. Arel,
‘başka bir âlem’e mahsus bir Türk mûsikîsi hayaline sahiptir. İkinci temel yön, onun Garpçılığıdır.
Tipik bir Jön Türk olarak Arel’in medeniyet anlayışı tamamen Batı-merkezcidir. Söylemlerinde,
tekâmül, terakki ve inkişaf kavramlarını ısrarla kullanmaya özel bir önem vermektedir. Üçüncüsü,
söylemleri açısından en zayıf vurguya sahip olan Türkçülük yönüdür. Arel’in Türkçülüğü,
dönemindeki siyasi milliyetçiliklerden bütünüyle uzaktır ve hemen tamamen ‘dilde sadeleşme’ye
taraftar olmakla sınırlıdır. Sonuçta Arel, sadece, Garplılaştırmak suretiyle terakki ettirilebilecek
ütopik bir Türk mûsikîsine ilgi göstermiştir. Bu nedenle de Arel’in Türk mûsikîsiyle ilgili söylemleri,
ütopyacılıkla özdeş Garpçılık ve kendi kuşağındaki siyasi Türkçülüklerle ilgisi bulunmayan dil
milliyetçiliği temelinde şekillenmiştir.


The place of utopianism, Westernism and Turkism in H. S. Arel’s Turkish music perspective
Extended Abstract


Hüseyin Sadettin Arel (1880-1955) is the person who constructed the ‘westernized’ theoretical framework, which shapes the current performance and education of Turkish music. This study focuses on the intellectual foundations of Arel’s way of relating to Turkish music and aims at an analysis of how these ideas are shaped in his personal discourses. In this context, Arel’s discourses on Turkish music are examined from the standpoints of utopianism, Westernism and Turkism. It seems possible that the discursive analysis of these three orientations, which are seen to occupy an important place in the cultural position of Arel, can be considered as a key in making some determinations about his attitude towards Turkish music.


Discourse conceptually refers to the ideological and purposeful use of language as a practice of producing meaning. It is the basis of discourse studies to investigate how the language is used for what purpose and what is said. Therefore, it is important for discourse researches how a certain idea is conveyed to a particular community via language through rhetorical strategies. The use of language in the pragmatic sense might have some ideological purposes. These objectives are intended to ensure that the listener or reader locate himself in a certain range of reactions or thoughts. In this context, the discourse is revealed by the expression practices of a certain agenda. Discourse has the purpose of influencing and manipulating the media reader (verbal, written or visual), especially in the fields of communication, politics, news, advertising and law. The typical manifestation in the field of politics emerges in propaganda work. Therefore, critical discourse analysis, together with the rhetoric, is used as a method for understanding broader cultural and ideological impact of language on society. The case of Arel’s being both a jurist and a media boss make this theoretical framework special for him. The profession of law provides an education where rhetoric and discourse are taught as a course. Rhetoric, especially in law, is considered as an art of persuasion. Language practice, which aims to convince, is one of the basic topics of discourse research, naturally, in terms of effective speaking and rhetoric.
Utopianism as a special state of consciousness is not to be satisfied with the political, social, legal and administrative conditions that are experienced in it and to be in a conscious and willful intellectual and action struggle to change these conditions. It is possible to see Arel’s utopianism clearly in his writings, publications, activities and ideas directed at everything he feels uncomfortable in the Ottoman world where he was born and raised throughout his life. But Arel has put forward clearly the utopian way of his thinking, a year before his death, by publishing ‘This is another world’ series as five parts in the Musiki Mecmuası (‘Music Magazine’). In this long series of articles, Arel mentioned of an ‘island of utopia’ where all issues of Turkish music have been handled. He concludes his serial with following sentences: “Now, a node remains unresolved: Some of my acquaintances asked me where the country I was talking about. Some thought it was Cyprus or Spain. Let me tell them all that the name of the country I went was: UTOPIA”. In addition to this concrete statement, the clearest statement of his utopianism is seen in the following sentence: “I am passionate about the dream of Turkish music at future, not about the present state.” It is a fact that Arel’s generation understood utopianism as Westernism. For them, defending Western civilization means being revolutionist and utopian at the same time. Therefore, there is no possibility to make a sharp distinction between utopianism and Westernism in terms of his discourses.


Westernism, which has gained the qualification of being the strongest political movement in the Second Constitutional era, had been put forward in the publication policy of the Şehbâl Magazine owned by Arel. The writer staff of the Şehbâl was composed of leading Westernists of the period. As a typical Westernist, Arel himself looked at the Ottoman world in which he lived, in the framework of ‘Western conceptions of the Orient’, which Said emphasized in the sub-title of his famous book. The most important characteristic of Arel, who believed that the liberation of the Ottomans would only be possible by Westernism, in his relationship with Turkish music, is his admiration and severe desire for Western civilization. Arel believed that Turkish music was underdeveloped, poor, devoid of progress and evolution, couldn’t be evolved and had no power of development. He tries to spread his opinions into the whole of society through an effective propaganda language as a media boss and writer. For the salvation of Turkish music, he insisted on the necessity of utilizing the methods and techniques of the Western music. According to Arel, it was possible to internalize and adopt this benefit through seizing and arrogation as a utopian formulation. In this voluntary attitude, there is an acceptance, willingness and condemnation which invalidate resistance. His slogan for this situation was: “Western technique in the service of Turkish art!”


One of his discursive orientations, which may be considered the weakest, was the Turkism aspect due to the fact that it is full of uncertainties in various aspects and the delay in its emergence. First of all, it is not possible to consider Arel as a political Turkist. However, it is important that he began to define himself as a Turkist and published the Türklük Mecmuası (Turkishness Magazine) on the eve of World War II. Arel favored a political transformation based on the transition to the Western civilization. He is absolutely opposed to all of the traditional components that may constitute obstacles to this fundamental purpose. Even in situations where he appeared to defend Turkish music, he asserted that this music could ultimately exist only on the basis of Westernization. Therefore, Arel’s Turkism which consist essentially a kind of language nationalism is far from mainstream Turkist movements such as Turanism, Panturkism or Central Asianism. He advocates mainly the use of purified Turkish and move apart from the Ottoman language. His point of view of Turkish folk music is an important issue which makes Arel’s Turkism problematic in terms of the period. Turkists used ‘the national Turkish music’ discourse, which was invented in Edinburgh in the 18th century, against the Ottoman culture and identity. According to their claim, a music which has both national and international qualities at the same time would only emerge from the combination of Turkish folk music and Western harmony. Considering folk music as a primitive, rural and simple variant of Turkish music, Arel clearly underestimates the claims of the Turkists. According to him, the claim of the Turkists that a modern national music can only be made by harmonizing Turkish folk songs is in fact similar to ‘making a palace from the shack’.


The main theme of Arel’s writings on the imagined Turkish music was the necessity of evolution and progression of this music, which is in primitive, simple and underdeveloped form in its present state. In this context, he claimed that Turkish music, in fact, was ten times more capable of progress than the West. Arel believed that Western music has progressed through evolution and had superior techniques. His idea of composing a new and polyphonic Turkish music was based on a composition that could be described as neo-Alla Turca within the framework of Western music. The main purpose of this neo-style was the use of some advanced instruments besides Turkish perdes (pitches), makams (melodic modes) and usuls (rhythmic modes). All of Arel’s discourses were directed towards his dream of a new Turkish music that has been positioned within Western music and has been brought into a contemporary and civilized form with the participation of genius composers. As a result, the main discourse of Arel was built on the idea of progressing Turkish music in the axis of the Westernist utopia.