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Lego Guitar and Turkish Rhythms!

Turkish microtonal guitarist Tolgahan Cogulu shares insights on the importance of rhythm and practicing with the metronome.

Inspiration by Metronome Online with

ARTIST FEATURE: Musical innovator & inventor of Lego guitar, microtonal music protagonist, awarded guitarist and social media phenomenon – meet Tolgahan Cogulu from Turkey! This week he shares his insight on rhythm and time in music!

1) Why is rhythm important?

I cannot think music without the rhythm. It is such an essential element of music. Even in free forms like the Turkish music form Taksim or a free improvisation, there is an inner rhythm that serves as a construct of music.

2) How do you practice your rhythm and sense of time?

In Anatolian folk musics, we have several irregular rhythm such as 7/8 or 10/8. In Turkish makam music, we have usuls which are rhythmic cycles. One famous usul is zencir which is in 120/4. I grew up with the irregular rhythms so I feel them when I play. However, long usuls are so complicated therefore you have to work on them. For all of these rhythms, I always work with the metronome. Without the metronome, I realize that I sometimes loose the sense of beat, sometimes getting faster and slower.

" Even in free forms like the Turkish music form Taksim or a free improvisation, there is an inner rhythm that serves as a construct of music. "

3) What are your favorite rhythmic exercises?

I love the Polyrhythmic Studies by Dusan Bogdanovic. I practice those with the metronome first very slowly and getting faster by 5 bpm. I also love Abel Carlevaro’s etudes.

4) Can you name one thing that you like about the metronome on Metronome Online?

Nowadays your cell phone is with you every time. It is with me while I am practicing the guitar too and I always use Metronome Online whenever I need it to improve the pieces I play. I even use it during the courses at Istanbul Technical University Conservatory I am teaching.

VIDEO: Check out Tolgahan’s revolutionary Lego microtonal guitar in the video below!

Lego Guitar and Turkish Rhythms!

Tolgahan Cogulu

The first prize winner at Georgia Tech Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition in 2014, Tolgahan Çoğulu, designed his "Adjustable Microtonal Guitar" in 2008. His first CD with microtonal guitar, Atlas, was published by Kalan Music in 2012. His microtonal guitar has taken him to many festivals and universities in 34 countries. Tolgahan is building a repertoire for microtonal guitar with more than 40 composers involved at this point.

He became an Associate Professor in 2013 and Professor in 2019 at Istanbul Technical University Turkish Music State Conservatory, where he had founded the classical guitar department in 2010 and the world's first microtonal guitar department in 2014. His second CD ‘Microtonal Guitar Duo’ has been published by Kalan Music in June 2015. His recording of William Allaudin Mathieu’s three-movement ‘Lattice-İşi’ in just intonation was published in the US by Cold Mountain Music in 2016.


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