GOING BEYOND LIMITS OF THE OUD
ile UD’UN SINIRLARINI AŞMAK
Music is the act of transforming abstract frequencies into emotions and expressions. Harmony, tunes, singing and playing are the means only. I continue what I do around this philosophy. Sticking loyal to it, I pass down my personal funds of experience and knowledge in life to my art and performance of music.
Hakan Emre Ziyagil's journey in music starts when he touches the keys of his father's piano at eight, and he has his first music education from his father, who has been a piano teacher. As the son of a Portuguese mother and a Turkish father, he enjoys the cultural diversity in his family, which clearly contributed to his rich vision. The syntheses and innovations that he will bring in the oud in the future are based on this cultural diversity. Different covers1 and unique arrangements2 on the oud reflect his versatile and multi-cultural DNA, so to speak. He begins to work as an arranger in his conservatory years, and tries introducing the oud to the digital music circles. Apart from oud, he also plays fretless guitar in many of his works.
After his master studies on the Turkish Music at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Ankara University, he goes on with his further studies under a doctoral program at the Department of Music Teaching at Gazi University. We are excited to hear about the artist's groundbreaking works.
Can you tell us a bit about the techniques that you did discover on the oud?
Having introduced an innovative modern technique to the classical Turkish performance of the oud instrument, I am trying to unveil the limits of the saz instrument and share it with the rest of the world.
Playing the oud merely in solo is not good enough for me, so I have carried out a number of works to go beyond limits. Immersed in thoughts at my studio, I asked to myself, "Why not making an arrangement (a piece, a work) by playing the oud only?". This is how I started making arrangements thoroughly with the oud. Maybe I wanted to make a difference, who knows?
I used the oud for the bass parts, solo parts, chord parts and even some rhythm beats3.
By making a number of arrangements (pieces) with all parts thoroughly played with the oud, I wanted to show how profound a vision the instrument has got to offer. “Çiftetelli Oud Cover” accessible at https://youtu.be/pltnqPzPQIE is one of the best examples for what I am saying.
After that and many other similar works that followed, I saw the oud not as an ordinary solo instrument but as a masterpiece instrument that gives out excellent tones when going beyond limits. You can find these works in my global-release album, “Passion Of Oud”, and also watch them for yourselves.
How do you convey these innovative techniques to your students?
In addition to Ud Metodu (Görüntülü), a video book written by me, I make and release videos, works on oud techniques on my web page and share my experience and knowledge with my students and anybody else who has an interest on the subject. http://www. hakanemreziyagil.com.tr/
When playing the oud, I aim to rely not only on the pick technique but also on the fingers to expand the performance style to a different dimension. I stress these techniques in all my teachings.
I practice all modern techniques that I discovered in addition to the conventional oud performance. That is one way of passing it down to new generations. I am willing to go anywhere on earth in order to introduce these techniques indeed.
In 2018, I represented Turkey as the first young oud artist invited as a jury member to the Carthage Music Festival, an oud festival in Tunisia.
I performed our national anthem to show an example of playing the oud without the pick.
Having performed Kapris, Koşan Çocuk, and Kanatlarım Olsaydı, the works by the well esteemed oud master Şerif Muhiddin Targan, in a note streaming system, I shared the video of these techniques with my students.
Is there any other instrument that you play apart from the oud?
I play fretless guitar, bouzouki, accordion, clarinet, cumbus and many more I have works played with a fretless guitar in huzzam, hejaz and other makams in Turkish music.
Do you teach anywhere else except Turkey?
Yes, I do. I have given workshops and concerts at the Beijing and Shanghai conservatories in China. I give workshops in the UK, Norway, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Vienna, Bosnia and many other countries, and try my best to share the different techniques that I discovered in the oud instrument with the people of any nation.
So, do you think the oud is eligible for use in different genres of music?
Of course I did realize it myself. That is actually what I have achieved. I aimed to play the oud not only in Turkish music but in all genres of it. I produced foreign synthesis and made covers, trying to enrich the oud perspective.
Just to give you a couple of examples; Ray Charles “Hit The Road Jack” Oud Cover, Gipsy Kings “Bamboleo” Oud Cover, The Pink Panther, Tico Tico.
In addition to numerous foreign synthesis, I have also given examples from western classical music pieces. The oud is a powerful instrument and I personally believe that I have shown and proven this in my works. The Turkish March by Mozart is the best example for this.