Gramophone Repirer

138One day in 2001, Iate Rifat Dedeoğlu came to my shop in Cebeci Inn, canying a huge gramophone. I loved d1e gramaphone fue moment I saw it. After listening to it, I kept it for myself and he had to visit his fıiend Mehmet Gültekin to buy a new one. TI1ree years later when I took a joumalist, who wanted to find Master Mehmet, to his shop, we could only have a smail talk. At d1at time, I was running away from everyd1ing d1at reminded me of Rifat Dedeoğlu. When I entered d1e shop, a natty, good looking and stylish man was sitting inside. I asked if Master Mehmet was iliere and he replied: “He is hereabout, about to come”

Master Mel1rnet didn’t recognize me when he entered in. When I said “I am Atilla from Grand Bazaar Magazine”, he shook my hand  intimately and replied “You haven’t been around heresince late Rifat”. After ordeıing our tea, we talked about Rifat. “He was a veıy special man. He was always lacking sameiliing in his life. He found everyd1ing fuat is in his mind in fue Grand Bazaar. He loved here so much. I knew him for a long tiıne. He always reproved fuat I didn’t find 11in1 a good gramophone. In fue end I found a veıy good one and gave it to him. The next day, he came and said “They took it from me, I want anofuer one” I laughed at him.”  ”As I said, Rifat was veıy special. He cared about values. In printed media, ratings are always more impoıtant. However, he always gave more in1poıtance to values fuan ratings.” We were just at fue beginning of fue conversation d1at I always dreamed of. His fıiend, who was a gramophone !over and came from Kütahya just to see him was sitting wifu us. We  were ina tiny shop in Grand Bazaar’s Lütfullah Street. On fue shelves, d1ere were various kinds of gramophones along widı gramophone parts. His grey beard was giving Master Mehmet a different look which suited him well. On d1e walls, there were some news and photos of him, cut from newspapers and joumals, along wifu vinyl records .. “There are not many of us doing fuis job. I know a new one in Ankara who has been doing it for eight years. There was anod1er one in Kocamustafapaşa, İstanbul.” I spent my whole childhood in Cerrahpaşa and Kocamustafapaşa. However, I never saw a gramophone or gramophone repairer d1ere at fuat tine.

“I have been in d1is job since my childhood. Nowadays, people make plans and go on vacations in summers. Our childhood was different. When we staıted primaıy school, we were 6-7 years old. Duıing summer vacations, we weren’t allowed for more fuan one week to play outside. My fafuer was in fuis business as well. He was my master. I was working wifu him every summer. I didn’t d1ink it would be my occupation but it happened to be.” “For forty two years, I have been actively in d1is business. It was not an ideal profession to make good money at d1at time, but gramophone, itself, was very important.” “After 1985-86, d1is job stopped to yield no eamings; rafuer it had become a different responsibility for me. There was a reason that I suıvived all those years.

139There was demand. What is the reason of this demand?” “People used gramophones until 1965 in Turkey. Europeans left this tradition long before us, in about 1945-50. They began to use record and cassette players. In the mean, time the style of music had changed. Turkish Classical Music was replaced by arabesque music. The Turkish folk music was transform ed.” The corruption started to be seen in 1980′s and it was completely corrupted in 1990′s. Unfortunately, this is just my opinion but, today this corruption is in its heydays. People !ike artists, musician and sculptors all have a gift given by God. Everybody can sing but not everyone can be !ike Harniyet Yüceses and Müzeyyen Senar. While Harniyet Yüceses was singing in open air, she didn’t need to use a rnicrophone for 50 meters distance. She had such a poweıful voice that no one can even tıy to sing !ike her nowadays. People are deceived by these stupid video clips now. These new singers find a way to attı·act people by taking their dothes off and dance since they do not have well of a voice to irnpress them with. In other words, music has changed its form.”

“It’s my duty to teli that the gramophone must live. AB long as it is played, the difference will be perceived significantly.” “What is music? It is the same all over the world. When you listen to music, you must feel a movement in your soul. What we watch on TV nowadays doesn’t move our souls. There are three beauties in Turkish music: lyrics, melody and sound. You have to have good lyrics which you will embellish by lovely melodies, and these melodies must be performed by the right voice. In the last few years, there is some movement. My advantage was to grow up with gramophones as a child. Otherwise, I would never realize the difference between the past and the present in music.” “At one time there were night clubs. The quality of music started to fall at that time. . People began to listen to music while they were eating and drinking alcohol. The main reason of the performer’s quality decrease is caused by tl1e low quality demand of the audience.” “There was a night club called Anatolian Night Club near the mosque in Sirkeci. The lowest people in İstanbul used to go there. The program in the club used to start with a 20-minute long opening music.”   At tl1is time, Master Mehmet put a record on the gramophone to make me experience this beauty. A wind full of peace filled the air inside with a beautiful voice. I put my pen down and surrendered to the flow of the song. “We came to .Kalaıruş to find a sweet peace.” Then, he searched the cabinets and brought another record to make me understand the three beauties that he mentioned earlier. “You will see the three beauties in this piece. The song’s lyıics are by Yahya Kemal, and it is composed and performed by Munir Nurettin. We are at the horizon of an umetumable night

The time is too Iate. This is the last part, oh my life, Pass however you !ike. Even if it could be dreamed, To come into the world again. We don’t want to be comfoıted With such a consolation. “My children didn’t want it. They clid not !ike it, either. Just !ike one would not !ike to eat the same meal everyday, they felt the same way, I guessu He actually didn’t believe what he said about his children but he couldn’t find any other reasons, either. He has had thousands of gramophones and listened to thousands of records in and out of Grand Bazaar for more than fouıty years. He couldn’t live without them. Gramophones, which he deseribed as “a passion” for himself, were the most precious value of his life. He has kept these beautiful voices for years and he provided these songs for us.

“Let me teli you about the history of the gramophone a little. T11e first step of recording technology was the gramophone, namely phonograph. The gramophone seerrıs so sirnple when you compare it to the current technology. But, think about those years. In 1870′s, it was unirnagined for people to record, cany, keep or replay the sound. I am saying this to emphasize the irnpoıtance of the gramophone at the time. The sound was fırst recorded by a pıinting house employee nameel Leon Scott in 1857. This man’s first inspiration was the midelle ear. What he made consisted of a tight lamina, in the midelle of which a pointed nib was mounted and a smoked glass, to which this nib touched. When he talked, as his voice touched the lamina, a mavement occured, and depeneling on the quake of the sound the pointed nib moved and formed a mark on the smoked glass. This was the fırst record in the world; however it is not possible to listen to it. But, you can see the sound’s movement, which is the fırst shape of the sound.”

“Twenty years later, Thomas Alva Edison got irıspired from this incident, but changed system. He used a cylinder shaped wax mold instead of the smoked glass. Once the mouth makes the sound, it is shaped in the wax mold, which is cylinder shaped and turns round and round. When the cylin- der is flipped over, the actual sound is heard. The fırst record- ed sound in the world was a nursery rhyme nameel “Mary has got a little lamb.” The first recorded human voices were Queen Victoıia’s and Lord Tensin’s.” “The cylinder got fiatteneel and manufactured. The manufactur- ing companies in 1900′s used these gramophones for adveıtising pur- poses.” I want to share the infor- mation I have attairıed from the newspaper clips, which were handed to me by Mr. Mehmet as he was teliing the history of the gramophone: TI1is nursery rhyme becomes the fırst recorded human sound on tin plates by a phonograph, which was invented by Thomas Edison on August 12th, 1878. In 1881, A. Graham Beli uses a wax mould irıstead of tin plates. T11e most irnpoıtant development in the restraining of the sound was invention of the gramophone by Emi! Beriiner in 1887. The key feature of the invention of Berlirıer was that the sound and music were foımed on a fiat suıface instead of a cylinder.

“One of the first places at wl1ich gramophone arrived in Turkey was the Grand Bazaar. The gramophones were sent to clifferent places in Turkey. However, people in Grand Bazaar had a bad reaction to gramophones. Moreover, a tradesman nameel Crazy Mustafa playeel the dıums so that he could stop the voice of the gramophone.” “T11ey wanted to record a sound in Turkey as well. But, they had a lot clifficulty in recording women’s voice.” “After phonograph switched to gramophone, it reached its real quality. The gramophone has a higher clistinction than the new technology. Its sound is totally natural.”

“In Turkey, the first sound was recorded in 1909. The history of the gramophone in Turkey is very unique. These are my personal information. For the memory of Rifat Dedeoğlu, you are the first one I am shariiıg them with.” “I have been repairirıg gramophones for years. Before 1980′s, all of the gramophones were coming from Geımany, Italy or a few from France. What was the clifference irı Turkey? Even if just a few, I fixed some gramophones from Turkey in those days as well. There was a difference between the gramophones from Turkey and abroad: a missing peıiod of time. The models manufactured between 1910 and 1923 were unavailable in Turkey. Even though technology had irnproved in the world in those years, why was not there any of the gramophones of that period in Turkey? It was because, at the time, the WWI and then the War of Independence broke out. Nobody in Turkey thought about the sound or the gramophones. The histoıy gives an answer to this question. You can not find any gramophones in Germany after 1935. They even had used the neeclle of them for the war technology.”

“In the following years of war, one couldn’t have found any gramophones in Turkey, either. Only the ones who could travel abroad had a gramophone. It was found as rare as one in each street.” ”There is also a clifference between the years when gramophones were stopped to be used in Turkey and the world. The world stops using gramophones in 1940′s. And in 1950′s, they were completely gone. In Turkey, however, the production of grarnophone records continued until 1965. Gramophone records haven’t been manufactured irı o ur country un til 1917. Between 1917 and 1965, the records were manufactured in Turkey. However, the gramophones were never manufactured here, but rather were only assembled.

The reason why gramophones were kept being used in Turkey until 1965 is veıy interesting. TI1e electric voltage in İstanbul was 110V and 220V. In some neighbourhoods of İstanbul, there wasn’t any electricity at all. Comparing to İstanbul, Anatolia was mud1 worse. Since the gramophones did not require any electiricity to work, it was more popular and lasted langer in Turkey.”

“We have a richer selection of music records in Turkey as well. We have Turkish, Arrnenian, Greek and Arabic..etc. people here. All these people had their own unique music, voices and records. This diversity resulted in a wide selection of different kinds of sounds. In England, for example, the music is only in English whereas in Turkey there are different languages, cultures and sounds.” “I have a calleetion of 2000 records. As I was collecting these records, I catagorized them into 2 groups. One was my favorites and the other one consisted of the ones that were worth to archive. I gave a lot of importance to the theatre, especially to storytellers and street theathers. I also gave importance to non-Muslim compasers (Greek or Arrnenian) and performers who had made a huge contribution to classical Turkish music. Because we were multi-cultural country, we created a new and different culture.”I have a very special calleetion of forty seven gramophones. There are many types of gramophones. We can group than as portable and immobile ones. The immobile ones have pipes. You can cany the portable ones wherever you want.

We can call them “picnic gramophones”. There are also gramophones for u·aveling. TI1ose are much smaller.” No matter what I asked to Mr.Mehmet, he brought the word back to gramophones each time. It was really hard to make him talk about himself. Because, he existed with his gramophones, without them he was not alive. “All I know is that I was bom in İstanbul, just !ike my grandfather and his grandfather as well. I have been in and araund Grand Bazaar for about fifty years. At the time there used to be many fuıniture shops here.” “There were big d1anges here after 1980′s. W e were seeing a culture massacre. There was corruption everywhere. Coppersrrıiths tuıned into shops that seli jeans. That brought the end of the Coppersmith Su·eet.” “I usually come here at 9.30 a.m. but I don’t come here every day. I retired. It was both for pleasure and making a living in the past, now there is only a passian for me. I leave araund 5 pm in the evening. I have never wakened up after sunrise in my life. I wake up araund 6 am. I don’t watch TV. What is there to watch? There are only a few TV programs that are woıth seeing. The only thing that one cannot bring back is time.”

“I have a little workshop in my house. I continue working there. My wife is a very thoughtful woman. If she didn’t love in gramophones as much as I am, we wouldn’t have my big gramophone collection which basically covers the most of the house. I have 2 children. One of them is a dentist and the other one is a tourist guide. I had very special pieces  which I loved. However, I had to seli them because of my responsibility towards my children.” “One day, I was asked to rnake a speech in the Joumalist Community and play some records for them. After the speech, I had them llsten almost twenty fıve records. Participants were all older than middle-aged. They were responsible from all the unhappiness in Turkey right now. They loved the conceıt veıy much. They were overwhelmed with excitement. I was looking for that moment. I asked them, “Was it nice?”. They all answered “Veıy nice”. I asked them again: “Teli me! Was it you who left the gramophone or was it the gramophone who left you?” All of them were shocked. One of them said that the gramophone left them. I said “Are you saying dut d1is gramophone wruch has no arms or legs left you? How could a gramophone lock itself up to d1e attic or to d1e basement? Some people had buried gramphones to the ground along with the memories. It contained your history, wedding, sadness and destiny. How dare you leave it alone! ” “I fınally wanted to say something. The gramophone records started as 78 rpms and then 45 rpms came out. After that, 33 ıpms were popular. Later on, cassettes and CDs were out. However, ilie singers in iliose old records had never come again.” “The years in wl1ich gramophones dissapeared, are the ones in wl1ich other beauties had diseppeared as well. When there were seven housed in each street, apaıtments filled the streets. TI1e neighbours dunged the gardens clissapeared, ilie whole shape of life changed. The smell of seas and ilie sound of the voices changed.” “A record isa proof. It is the sound of the past for you.”

Mehmet Öztekin

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