Special Children's Instruments from Our Conservatory
Feb 23, 2017

When it comes to music, ability, which part of the music will feature the instrument, harmony throughout the work, and the performance of the commentator or the performer are key but so is the holistic relationship between the person and the instrument. Especially since it is so important to start at an early age for a future career in music, children becoming accustomed to their instruments, not only physically but also spiritually is of the utmost importance. With this in mind, Ahmet Tunç, head of The Turkish Music State Conservatory (ITU TMDK), Department of Music Technologies, based on his art proficiency thesis project, makes musical instruments for children in sizes appropriate to their age group and anatomy, especially ITU TMDK Music Secondary School students. Thus, children are able to become more familiar with these two valuable pieces of classical Turkish music instruments while they are still young.

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Mr. Buyruklar, who shared the details of the project, reminded us that the sooner children are introduced to an instrument and start to play it, the more they will be able to develop themselves. Our instructor, who informs us that this point is very effective both in the progression and in the improvement of skill, shows the violin, guitars and other small-sized instruments made in Europe suitable for children's physical structure as an example of the project’s purpose. Mr. Buyruklar, whose 2014 thesis focuses on problems of artistic proficiency, states that the idea of the work originated from his own childhood, explaining that although he was interested in playing the lute while he was a junior high school student, he started to play the banjo instead because he could not find an appropriate lute for his age.

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Instructor Ahmet Tunç Buyruklar stated that the small size of the instruments with proportional scaling is planned in accordance with Turkish children's development standards, emphasizing that this will be done on the basis of the students attending the ITU TMDK Music middle school, newly opened within the context of our conservatory.

In the preliminary studies conducted at ITU TDMK, size reductions were applied at 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%; the most suitable reduction ratio was found to be 15% for lutes and violins, so, in order to produce half-length size instruments first three-quarter lengths were used, then these three quarters were reduced by 15%.

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 Our academic cited the most difficult points in size reduction as the stem and therefore the length of the neck of the drum, the lute, which is difficult to grasp because of its large body, and the zither, which is may lead to poor posture due to its large structure. Emphasizing that, this way, the classic violins were produced as three and four strings, Mr. Buyruklar conveyed that the folk music instruments played on the chest will also be produced in three quarter and half sizes.

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What is the difference between an instrument produced for an adult vs a child's scale?

Within the project scope, instruments produced for our ITU TMDK Music middle school students have no frequency difference since the tuners give the same frequency as the standard size, and the same materials are used with equal wire counts. The most important difference between the two dimensions is that reductions of other measurements at certain ratios must be done in parallel to the proportional scaling in order for the produced sound to be harmonious. Our academic, who initiated this project as an art competence study, will be working on the instrument production section of this project with the Deputy Head of the Department ITU TMDK Music Technologies, İbrahim Coşkun. The project is expected to not only benefit the middle school but will also enable children who play instruments to start Turkish music at an early age.