Abdulkadir Merâğî

Bilgin, Müzisyen

Scholar and composer (B. 1360, Meraga / Azerbaijan- D. 1435, Herat / Afghanistan). He is one of the most reputable figures in national and international sources after Farabî and Avicenna. He is also known as Meragalı Abdülkadir, Meragalı, İbn-I Gaybî, Hoca Abdülkadir, Hace and Abdülkadir bin Gaybiyü’l-Hafız el-Meragî. His father is one of the learned men of his age, Gıyaseddin Gaybî. When he mentions his father, he says, “He had a superior knowledge in numerous branches of science, he was especially master in practical and theoretical branches of music”, which shows the environment he was raised in. After Meraga he went to Tabriz and served Ilkhanids. There, he became a conversation friend of Sultan Hüseyin and later of Ahmed Celâyerî. At that time, he won a music competition organized by the musician Rızaeddin Rıdvan Şah and gained reputation. Even if there are uncertainties about his life, it is possible to find certain information in indirect sources. It is not correct that Western researchers persistently call him a Persian scholar and musician.

Abdülkadir Meragî was taken captive by Timur during his invasion of Azerbaijan. He entered his service and was sent to Samarkand. Until the year 1397 he served as the chief singer and stayed in the palace as a conversation friend of Timur. Meanwhile Timur began to hold physicians and scholars around him responsible for the death of his mentally ill son who was being treated in Samarkand Palace and to kill them. Meragi escaped to Baghdad upon this (1399). However, he was captured by the men of Timur and condemned to execution. Sources claim that Meragi started to recite a surah from the Holy Koran at that moment and in a very emotional way which impressed Timur and made him forgive Meragi. Meragî asked for Timur’s permission to go to Samarkand after a while. Timur gave him a document of permission and sent him off.

Meragî came to Bursa after Samarkand in 1421. He presented a musical work to Murat II who just came to the throne. Murat II who was also a musician appreciated and complimented him, but since the Ottoman state was quite chaotic at that time, he returned to Herat. He was protected by Sultan Halil Mirza who took the rule from Timur when he died and from Sultan Şahruh Mirza when Halil Mirza died. Using the name İbn-u Gaybî, the great composer and scholar of music Abdülkadir Meragi produced magnificent works of first classical period. In the same time he is regarded as the pioneer of classical period in Turkish music. He was primarily known as an oud player and his beautiful voice made him famous in the whole Islamic world at a young age. His young son Abdülaziz presented to Fatih Sultan Mehmet his book on music theory titled “Nakavetü'l-Edvâr” and his grand child Mahmut Çelebi to Bayezid his book in the same field titled “Makasıdü’l-Edvâr”. Numerous works are attributed to him, but some of them belong to Turkish composers of following periods. At the moment, there are about 30 compositions, which are known to belong to Meragi.

Meragî, aside from his native language Turkish also could speak Arabic and Persian very well. Sources prove that he was also known as composer, singer, theoretician, poet, painter, hafiz and calligrapher. His works show that he was mainly influenced by and nourished from Farabi. His thinking the art of music like a modern physicist deeply impressed a Western scholar called Helmholtz who lived about 500 years after him. Helmholtz in his great work titled “Physiologie der Tonempfindungen” says that he read all works of Meragi, analyzed them deeply and benefited from them a lot. The famous historian Hammer also benefited from works of Meragi. Thanks to his skills in the field of music all authors and researchers who mention his name used expressions such as; “A person to exalt past times” or “The most competent person in the theory of music”. 

 “Urmevî School” is the first school to analyze our music in the field of theory in a systematic approach. We see that there was not any theoretical system in our music before this school. The second great architect of this system which was established and started by Safiyüddin Abdülmümin Urmevî was Abdülkadir Meragi who came about 70 years after him. With him, fundaments of the school were constructed according to the essentials in the application and the system turned into a perfect monument. This perfection was so influent that our music continued its life for about 700 years within this system.

Meragi also invented certain music instruments. He recorded his works using “Ebced Notes” and made it possible that they reached the present. However most of these records are missing because Meragi did not pay enough attention to his records and sources could not be protected in the required manner until the present.

The main ones between his compositions are following: Rast Sofyân Kâr-I Hayder-Nâme, Rast Devr-i Hindi Kâr-I Muhteşem, Rast Muvaşşah, Rast Fer Nakış Beste, Rast Devri Hindi Nakış Beste, Rast Hafif Nakış Beste, Rast Nakış Aksak Semai, Rast Nakış Yürük Semai, Pençgâh Hafif Kar-I Murassa, Pençgâh Aksak Semai, AcemYürük Muhammes Kar, Acem Nakış Yürük Semai, Irak Düyek Kar, Irak Yürük Nakış Semai…

He also has works on music theory. A manuscript sample of his book “Cami-ül Elhan (1405) he gave to his son Nureddin Abdurrrahman as a present is in Istanbul Nuruosmaniye Library.This work which was written in Persian contains some notes of his compositions. Abdülkadir Meragî passed away because of plague disease.


Kenzül Elhan (Treasure of Songs), Cami-ül Elhan (Collection of Songs, 1405), Mekâsıd ül-Elhan (Purpose of Songs), Şerhül Kitab-ül Edvâr (Main issues of music), Kitabül-Edvâr (Music Book).

             REFERENCE:  Murat Bardakçı / Maragalı Abdulkadir (1986), Vural Sözer / “Müzik ve Müzisyenler Ansiklopedisi”  (1986),Yılmaz Öztuna / Büyük Türk Musikisi Ansiklopedisi (1990), Faruk Yener / Müzikte Kim Kimdir? (1987), M. Nuri Uygun / “Safiyyüddin Abdülmü’min Urmevî ve Kitâb’ül Edvârı” (l 1999), Uğraş Ozan Yarman / Türk Musikisi ve Çokseslilik (s. 303, 2001), Cinuçen Tanrıkorur / Osmanlı Dönemi Türk Mûsikîsi (2003), Timuçin Çevikoğlu  (Mostar, Sayı: 10 – Aralık 2005), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Sanatçılar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 1, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013). 



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