Applying “Aqsaq” Rhythms To Jazz Improvisation: “アクサック” リズム

September 30, 2014

Daniel Schnee

“アクサック”リズムは何ですか?

Though a great many jazz musicians have undergone some kind of training in the traditional or classical music of Asia or the Middle East, the music of Turkey and surrounding countries is usually not discussed or adapted as much, at least until now.

One such tradition is the use of odd numbered beats known in Turkish music as aqsaq (“stumbling”) rhythms. Though many types of Western and Eastern music contain odd numbered time signatures such as 7/4 or 5/8, the Turkish aqsaq rhythm is divided into a set of two or three counts in a repeating chain, e.g. 2 + 3 + 2, or 3 + 2 + 2, for example. Thus, rather than feeling like one set group of 7 equal beats, the aqsaq rhythm ‘wobbles’ and skips between two and three which gives the music a rather pleasurable bounce, often figuratively compared to a young woman carrying…

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