Terâneler (2006) by Tolga Yayalar
for violin, viola, and cello
West Coast premiere; 2009 Earplay Donald Aird Composers Competition winner

I have always found it difficult to work with short forms. As I set out to write Terâneler, I took inspiration from shorter forms of poetry. In this piece, I took as my starting point a Persian verse form often made up of four line verses, called Terane. This form, made famous by the 12th century poet Omar Khayyam, has a very specific meter and rhyming scheme, which is often AABA.

Instead of simply carrying this form to music, I made use of the double meaning of Terane which means melody in Persian and tedious repetitiveness in Turkish. The two movements take up each of these meanings. The first one grew out of harmonizing a simple chant-like melody with the harmonies derived from ancient Greek tetrachords. This movement is quite homophonic. The second movement takes from where the first one has left, but this time adding some heterophony and polyphony to the texture but this texture is disrupted by constant repetition of perfect fifths. Each movement also uses the idea of repetition in different ways. While the first one has a very subtle ABAB form, in the second one, the contrast between sections (A and B) are much more dramatic and disconnected from each other.

This piece is written for Gabriela, Wendy and Alexei and dedicated to them.

— T. Y.    

[from program for May 24, 2010 concert]