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Thread: Learning to play the cura saz

  1. #1

    Default Learning to play the cura saz

    I normally play the mandolin, but I recently bought a cura saz to learn more about Turkish music and its quarter tones. I bought the cura rather than the better known baglama because its size is similar to that of a mandolin.

    However, I'm having difficulty getting started as I have not been able to find any instruction materials for it. As far as I know there are no books for it in English, Turkish or any other language that I am aware of it. There are also few videos featuring a cura on YouTube.


    One of the things that has got me stumped in the tuning: g4g4 d4d4 a4a4. This means the middle course is the lowest (d), followed by the top course (towards me) in g and the bottom course one note higher than the top course in a. This leave very little range for playing melodies compared to a mandolin. I'm guessing the d and a courses are for melodies and the g coures for chords and drones.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for learning how to play it?

  2. #2
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play the cura saz

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven_bxl View Post
    One of the things that has got me stumped in the tuning: g4g4 d4d4 a4a4. This means the middle course is the lowest (d), followed by the top course (towards me) in g and the bottom course one note higher than the top course in a. This leave very little range for playing melodies compared to a mandolin. I'm guessing the d and a courses are for melodies and the g coures for chords and drones.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for learning how to play it?
    First, the pitches are relative - they are written as GDA but can be any actual pitch - CGD, BbFC, DAE, etc.

    Second, the cura can be set up either so the the outside strings are in octaves, or not. Either way the tuning is re-entrant.

    Next, many players use "baglama" tuning, which is EDA, the G dropped down. This is a very special tuning and quite popular.

    Saz plectra



    Here are some links:

    https://www.oscarvandillen.com/wp-co...T%C3%BClek.pdf

    about the "tapping" and fingerstyle saz playing

    https://vdocuments.site/download/113...baglama-metodu

    basic baglama book

    https://www.amazon.com/Baglama-Metod.../dp/9944396648

    expensive but great book by Arif Sag.

    https://www.gittigidiyor.com/arama/?k=baglama%20metodu

    lots of Turkish books on saz

    https://www.scribd.com/document/2348...d-Sekilleri-s3

    scribd - tuning chart

    https://www.scribd.com/document/2524...glama-Metodu-1

    scribd - method in Turkish

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/175136763...ng-Baglama-Saz

    English beginner book

    https://www.baglamanotalari.com/

    website for saz

    https://turuz.com/en/book/title/Ba%C...%87etin+Tuncer

    free books on saz - use blue button

    https://docplayer.biz.tr/9673802-Guz...-yazarlar.html

    other sources

    http://www.baglamist.com/

    another saz site

    https://www.turkuler.com/

    more

    https://www.ebay.com/usr/unosell_music_instruments

    reliable turkish music store on ebay

    https://archaeopress.wordpress.com/tag/baglama/

    good article

    I hope this is a start.

    Also, get ready to use your left hand thumb to fret notes!

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Learning to play the cura saz

    Wow! That's a lot of information. Thank you very much!

  5. #4
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play the cura saz

    I'm happy to help. I've been playing sazes on-and-off for decades, and am hoping you have as much fun with the instrument as I do.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Learning to play the cura saz

    Thanks! I look forward to learning it.

    So in what context is the cura saz normally used? Is it a solo instrument or is it usually played alongside the baglama? Is it true it's a fairly recent instrument? There seems to be a lot of information about the baglama, but little about the cura.

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  8. #6
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play the cura saz

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven_bxl View Post
    Thanks! I look forward to learning it.

    So in what context is the cura saz normally used? Is it a solo instrument or is it usually played alongside the baglama? Is it true it's a fairly recent instrument? There seems to be a lot of information about the baglama, but little about the cura.
    Often it is played solo, but it is also used in saz ensembles.

    It's not that new, I've seen them for at least 50 years. Supposedly it was often played on horseback in the old days.

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