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Christos Barbas – Mevlevi Ayin 13-17/04/2022

The Ayin is the largest compositional form in Ottoman Classical music, about one hour long, and its liturgical function is to accompany the Sema, the ceremony of the whirling dervishes of the Mevlevi order. The lyrics are written in Persian language, mainly from the poem books Mesnevi & Divan-i Kebir of Rumi – Mevlana, but also other Sufi poets. 

From a musical point of view the music of the Ayin provides an excellent opportunity for an intricate study of the world of makam as forms, rhythm changes, modulations, variations have plenty of space to evolve and manifest. Furthermore the development of those elements around a single makam (as each Ayin is composed normally in one main makam) provide the space for the musicians to ‘dive into’ the character of the specific mode. 

From the first written Ayins by unknown composers – prior to the 17th century – to the first known written source, back in 1795, and a continuous production of compositions in different makam (musical modes), up to the 21st century, the genre is a creative artistic field where oral transmission, continuity and innovation are intertwined.


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