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Melancholic Modalities
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Today, teachers and performers of Turkish classical music intentionally cultivate melancholies, despite these affects being typically dismissed as remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Melancholic Modalities is the first in-depth historical and ethnographic study of the practices socialized by musicians who enthusiastically teach and perform a present-day genre substantially rooted in the musics of the Ottoman court and elite Mevlevi Sufi lodges. Author Denise Gill analyzes how melancholic music-making emerges as pleasurable, spiritually redeeming, and healing for both the listener and performer. Focusing on the diverse practices of musicians who deploy and circulate melancholy in sound, Gill interrogates the constitutive elements of these musicians' modalities in the context of emergent neoliberalism, secularism, political Islamism, Sufi devotionals, and the politics of psychological health in Turkey today. In an essential contribution to the study of ethnomusicology and psychology, Gill develops rhizomatic analyses to allow for musicians' multiple interpretations to be heard. Melancholic Modalities uncovers how emotion and musical meaning are connected, and how melancholy is articulated in the world of Turkish classical musicians. With her innovative concept of "bi-aurality," Gill's book forges new possibilities for the historical and ethnographic analyses of musics and ideologies of listening for music scholars.
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About the Author

Denise Elif Gill is an ethnomusicologist specializing in the musics of Turkey and former Ottoman territories. Her research engages music-making and affective practice, Islam, health, gender/sexuality, sound studies, and post-humanism. Her work has been funded by Fulbright and by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).

Reviews

"Denise Elif Gill's brilliant book, Melancholic Modalities, defines, describes, and ruminates upon an aesthetic sensibility of pain and melancholy of those Turkish musicians whose repertoire harks back to Ottoman courts and medieval Sufi lodges. A common Turkish blessing, 'May God increase your pain, ' becomes a focus for the creation of 'melancholic' music whose ultimate goal is transcendental suffering."-- Judith Becker, Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology at the University of Michigan "Melancholic Modalities is a beautifully crafted, meticulously researched exploration of melancholic affective practices of contemporary Turkish musicians. It is a powerful epistemological and theoretical contribution to the study of affect, selfhood, subjectivity, and collective identity formation through a practice-oriented approach. With deep theorization of her rich ethnographic evidence and by traversing the boundaries of diverse disiplinary lenses, Gill evocatively decenters troubling and long standing bifurcations of Islamic/secular, and West/Non-West. This book sets a new standard for interdisciplinary ethnography." -- Gul Ozyegin, author of New Desires, New Selves: Sex, Love and Piety among Turkish Youth -Denise Elif Gill's brilliant book, Melancholic Modalities, defines, describes, and ruminates upon an aesthetic sensibility of pain and melancholy of those Turkish musicians whose repertoire harks back to Ottoman courts and medieval Sufi lodges. A common Turkish blessing, 'May God increase your pain, ' becomes a focus for the creation of 'melancholic' music whose ultimate goal is transcendental suffering.--- Judith Becker, Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology at the University of Michigan -Melancholic Modalities is a beautifully crafted, meticulously researched exploration of melancholic affective practices of contemporary Turkish musicians. It is a powerful epistemological and theoretical contribution to the study of affect, selfhood, subjectivity, and collective identity formation through a practice-oriented approach. With deep theorization of her rich ethnographic evidence and by traversing the boundaries of diverse disiplinary lenses, Gill evocatively decenters troubling and long standing bifurcations of Islamic/secular, and West/Non-West. This book sets a new standard for interdisciplinary ethnography.- -- Gul Ozyegin, author of New Desires, New Selves: Sex, Love and Piety among Turkish Youth

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