Rast is a truly beautiful makam with a large and often played repertoire.  Rast has an ascending seyir, with important focal points at the first [rast], the fifth [neva], and the eighth (upper octave) [gerdaniye].  In addition the second [dügah] and fourth [çargah] are also notes that you will find are rested on often in taksim and many compositions in Rast. The third, [segah], is often stressed as well, but I would argue that this is more a modulation to the makam Segah or Hüzzam rather than a focal point in Rast, though I could be wrong.

Typically the movement will begin by revolving around the first (tonic - [rast]), often falling to the lower fifth [yegah], and hinting up into the 'territory' of [neva], the secondary focal point, and working back to the tonic. In the very beginning, the tonic will often but not always be stressed a great deal.  The next step is to the secondary focal point, in which we revolve around [neva] and hint at the upper octave, usually without ever resting there for too long.  Modulations often occur here (Segah, Nikriz, Hüzzam, as well as other makam modulations).  At the end of this second step we typically fall back down to the tonic.  The third step is where we ascend (or jump) into the upper octave and beyond, typically modulating here and often moving up to [tiz neva] (upper octave fifth). Common modulations move to Segah in the upper octave, Eviç, Hüzzam, and Uşşak with the tonic on [neva] (the Uşşak on [neva] often happens during the prelude of our descent back to the tonic, but again, not always).  At the end we fall back down to the fifth [neva] and finally to the tonic again [rast]. Notice that in different instances throughout the makam's movement the fourth and second are stressed, which I find very beautiful. When the second [dügah] is stressed in a piece, it often leads to a 'secondary' Rast with tonic on [yegah] - this happens often in the Rast Yürük Semai below.

You will find that there are many changes that occur within any given taksim or piece, which change or reorganize the notes in a makam. An example is noted in the diagram above, in which Rast, when descending, often will exchange the note [eviç] for the note [acem].   This makes sense because this position in the scale is like a trap door which when we want to move up pushes us up, and when we want to move down, drops down and lets us pass. This is a very simplified way of looking at this, and is often but not always the case. It should also be noted that generally when descending, microtonal notes will be played a little flatter, dragged down in a way, which is fluid and not abrupt. The difference is subtle, so in your enthusiasm to execute this don't overdo it! 

Another commonly seen change is the way that Rast goes to other related makams and then returns again. Modulations to the makams Segah, Hüzzam, Nikriz, and others mentioned above are very commonly found in Rast taksims and compositions, and you will certainly notice this in the pieces below. 

One more thing to remember, when it comes to taksim. Taksim is a composition, just like a saz semai or any other type of piece.  The difference is that it is only half written. You have the basic outline, and many possible places you could take it (found in the repertoire and taksim recordings).  It is your job to not only be true/authentic in your playing of a taksim, but also to be innovative and make an interesting musical composition. In the beginning it makes sense that we need to copy other, more experienced players to get the hang of this. But as you progress and become more comfortable in the makam, you should not fall into the trap of repeating yourself and others, when you could be creating something very interesting and unique which still falls within the borders of a traditional taksim. The example of Udi Yorgos Bacanos is perfect here, because though he was born more than 100 years ago, he was able to be extremely innovative while staying entrenched in the tradition of the makams and taksim form.


Now for the fun part!  Below I have some musical selections which will illustrate for you how Rast is performed in various musical forms. Notice that in the şarkı (vocal) selections, we usually play the instrumental part in the beginning, even though it is notated at the end (Aranağme). As an exercise, see if you can find every instance in which a piece modulates to another makam, even for a very small moment in the melody. Pay close attention to melodic changes in each piece, and make note of them to compare with others. You will see some differences from piece to piece in the ways Rast is used, and you should explore the repertoire to get even more taksim and compositional ideas for your own use.

Typically in a Turkish gazino or meyhane, a longer cycle of compositions in the same makam would be performed, starting with a Peşrev and then move on to vocal pieces in various rhythms, and then usually end with a Saz Semai or other instrumental piece.  A taksim or two would usually be thrown in at the beginning or middle wherever it was felt appropriate. Here, I am not doing this exactly, instead giving you some variety so you can get a better overall feel for the makam. Please use my performances on this site only as the well-meaning yet imperfect examples that they are, nothing more. I hope that they are helpful to you.


Rast Taksim Example Audio


Rast Peşrevi by Kemani Tatyos Efendi


Clips of above piece:

Rast peşrev 1st hane & teslim

Rast peşrev 2nd hane & teslim

Rast peşrev 3rd hane & teslim

Rast peşrev 4th hane & teslim


Above are very simply played clips I recorded in an earlier version of the site. For a very intensely ornamented version of this piece, listen to Sedat Oytun's rendition (make sure to fasten your seat belt).


Rast Yürük Semai by Hafız Post

Rast Yürük Semai Audio

It might be a little confusing here since I am playing everything instrumentally, but I am following the notation exactly as if we were singing along.

The first section repeats, then we move on and repeat the short second section, then continue on to the segno sign and go back to the beginning for one more verse and end.


Rast Sirto

Rast Sirto Audio


There are at least two very fun recordings of this out there, including one with Udi Yorgos Bacanos. The other I know of is with Göksel Baktagir and Yurdal Tokcan.


Rast şarkı by Kemani Tatyos Efendi


Rast Şarkı Audio


Rast Zeybek

Rast Zeybek Audio


I have also heard a wonderful recording of this piece with Udi Yorgos Bacanos


Rast Saz Semaisi by Kemani Tatyos Efendi


Rast Saz Semaisi Audio

Usually the Teslim is played twice every time in this piece specifically, but here I only repeated it at the end to be brief. There are many wonderful recordings of this piece out there.




Copyright © Mavrothi T. Kontanis. All rights reserved 2008