Scaling Refrains
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Sound Studies
Turkish Studies
Political Ecology


Within and beyond the 1950s environmental framework, the global awareness toward the anthropogenic environmental impact and risk has stimulated critical discussions of the interrelations of human, nature, and material productive forces with an expansion of the planetary scale interrelations and place imaginaries as multiplicities. Parallel to the global transformation of risk societies, Turkiye has been dealing with environmental risks that transform its ecologies in acoustical and political senses. However, the historical and recently manifested discourses about sound and soundscapes have remained contingencies of the national singular narratives. By attending to the rhizomatic multiplicities in soundscapes along with the changing environmental definitions of sense of place, in this article, I examine refrains and investigate the fundamental question of why a particular acoustic ecology is recognized in singular forms and monophonies that are representative of this place imaginary independent of the forces in a material sense. Via the new terms that I coin, origin-essence and impetus, I further analyze refrains’ role in constructing communal imaginaries centered around inter- and intra-nationality to present the ongoing modern silences, narratives of Islamic and secular binary divisions, and the monophony of soundscapes of Turkiye. In doing so, I examine post-Covid-19 mosque recitations and broadcasts in Ankara in relation to the mosque calls’ role in preventing the July 15th, 2016 military coup d’etat attempt, the historical dichotomy of makam and scale in relation to European colonialism and Turkish cosmopolitanism, and the significance of refrains in Béla Bartók’s and Adnan Saygun’s ethnomusicological research in Central Anatolia.
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