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9/8 Rhythm

A Rhythm article


Amidst much politicized discussion on origins and names for this meter, the dances remain. Here is a list.

Do not confuse the slower 9/8 rhythm, accented as S-S-S-S-Q, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1,2-3, with the faster 9/16 rhythm, accented as S-S-S-Q-S, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2,3. Examples of the slow occur below. Examples of the faster occur at another web page: 9/16.

Creation theories

Spread from urban, Turkish musical forms to rural areas:

mehter music: possibly but not likely

sarki music: possibly. E.g., Ne si go prodavaj ciflikot

kocek and cengi music: possibly.

E.g., Macedonian Ajde Vodenicare came from Turkish theater, perhaps kanto.

A listing of slower, 9/8 dances

Aksak in Turkey refers to 9/8. Aksak also refers to the art music 10/8 called aksak semai.

Chochek / devetorka / karsilamas/cocek

Cifte cifte (= devetorka), done by Prespa Albanians to the song Sıra Sıra Paytonları or Cifte Cifte Paytonları

Devetorka (the nine-some), most often danced to the Macedonian tunes Shareni Chorapi and Tri Godini. The name is said to be a recent invention.

Karsilama, The 9/8 face to face Karsilamas travelled east with the post Balkan Wars Muslim refugees and is now incorporated in the repertoire of the folk dance groups of Edirne, Turkish Thrace and known as Drama Karshilamasi.

Kavrak Eleno, a Bulgarian dance, equivalent to a 9/8 line dance to the specific tunes: Aidin, Selanik, Ormanli, Kambana.

Kyuchek, "slow tempo melodies of the Kjuchek type which are very erotic in character" which "came to us from the East primarily through Gypsy dancers" Stojan Djudjev, Balgarska Narodna Horeografija, Sofia, 1945, p. 262

Vasil Hadjimanov, Makedonski Narodni Pesni - Momi Tikvesanki, Skopje 1968, p. 139: In the Tikves district there is also a small number of songs in the 9/8 (aksak) meter which came from the East and resembles Cocek/kyuchek.

Stoyan Djudjev, Rythme et mesure dans la musique populaire bulgare (PhD thesis), Paris, 1931: the slow 9/8 measure may be a derivative of a rhythm found in India known as rangabharana which in Turkey has been known as ousoul akcak, e.g., "Na srce ma ja de mamo" and "Gradil Todar vita Kula" which were popular urban folk melodies in Macedonia and Bulgaria in the early 20th century. Djudjev also uses the Turkish term "Kjochek" to describe slow tunes in 9/8.

Alexandar D. Motsev, Ritam i takt v Balgarskata Narodna Muzika, Sofia 1949: quoting Dobri Hristov, Ritmichni Osnovi:

slow = agar aksak

medium = orta aksak

fast= yuryuk aksak

Hristov says Turks call very fast 9/8 tunes Chifte Sofyan

Nishka Banja (9/8) rhythm occurs predominantly in urban areas of south Serbia, perhaps from Turkish influence, although neither 9/8 nor 18/16 (used interchangeably for faster tunes) are common in Bosnia, also strongly Turkish influenced.

Bosnian "aksak" songs:

9/8 - Prosetala Suljagina Fata

12/8 - Oj djevojko djindjo moja (5+7)