The Tanbur lessons with Meral Cihan are suitable for beginners and advanced students. Young people as well as adults have the opportunity to learn the instrument. Everyone who is interested in this wonderful instrument is welcome.
Lessons for beginners
In the first lessons we learn how to hold the Tanbur and the Bağa (plectrum), with which the strings are played. We will concentrate on the practice. We will exercise the most common melody phrases in classical Turkish music together, not paying attention to keys (Maqams) at first.
In our experience, individual lessons are more appropriate at this stage. This allows us to work more intensively and in more detail and to address any problems that may arise. For example, it takes some time to be able to hold the instrument properly without slipping off your lap while playing. The Tanbur has a very long neck and the body is comparable to the shape of half an apple. For this reason it takes some time to hold the Tanbur firmly.
Lessons for advanced students
As soon as the student can hold the Tanbur correctly and can move his/her fingers confidently on the long neck of the instrument and has internalised where the individual notes and the comma tones (microtonality) are located, we begin to play by notation. A lot of space is given to playing by notation. This ability is essential for instrumentalists.
As soon as the playing and reading of musical notation has reached a certain level, we start to pay more attention to theory. We get to know the world of Maqams (keys). The knowledge of Maqams is of central importance, because this is what constitutes classical Turkish music as well as Mediterranean music in general. Tanbur players must be well acquainted with the world of Maqams, because Tanbur is the only instrument in classical Turkish music where all notes are tied at the long neck. Therefore it is very easy to see and play the individual notes at first sight.
In the course of the lesson you will get an insight into the most common Maqams. After two semesters, the student should know the most common Maqams, such as: Acem, Acem-Aşiran, Evç, Hicaz, Hüseyni, Hüzzam, Kürdi, Kürdilihicazkar, Mahur, Muhhayer Kürdi, Nihavend, Rast, Segah, Saba, Uşşak etc. Furthermore, the objective is to play a Saz Semai, Peşrev, Sirto, Longa, Oyun Havası, Beste and Şarkı with confidence.
This requires of course a certain degree of diligence. Practicing individually at home is indispensable. You are welcome to record lessons for this purpose, so that you have the opportunity to listen to the lessons again and again. It is also advisable to record yourself while practising to document your progress.
Learn more about the instrument
Tanbur is a plucked long-necked lute with frets. It is widespread in the Mediterranean area and especially in Turkey. In classical Turkish music, the Tanbur enjoys more popularity than ever before and is also used and played in other musical styles.