Ottoman classical music
Found in: Turkish music
Ottoman classical music developed in palaces, mosques, and Mevlevi lodges of the Ottoman Empire. Feldman, Walter. Music of the Ottoman Court. 1996. ISBN 3-86135-641-4 Above all a vocal music, Classical Turkish Music traditionally accompanies a solo singer with a small instrumental ensemble. In recent times instruments might include tanbur lute, ney flute, kemence fiddle, keman Western violin, kanun zither, or other instruments. Sometimes described as monophonic music, the variety of ornamentation and variation in the ensemble requires the more accurate term heterophonic.
As the Empire grew, musics of conquered peoples of the Balkans and the Mediterranean were incorporated into an increasingly diverse Ottoman music. The Ottoman Empire was a multi-ethnic state, and cultural influences, including music, were shared by groups including the Turks, Armenians, Greeks, Kurds, Arabs, Persians, Assyrians and Jews.
With the beginning of the decline of the empire in the early 19th century, one branch gradually evolved from serious artistic music to "urban entertainment music". But the essence of classical Turkish music a refined aesthetic, a vast repertoire, a sophisticated makam system of melodic modes, a variety of usul rhythmic modes, a rich body of Ottoman poetrysurvived throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and continues in the 21st century.
Though akin to today's classical Arab music, classical Turkish music has a broader repertoire, utilizes a wider range of makams and usuls, and enjoys a strong following of audiences, performers, and students. One can find more distant similarities with Azerbaijan, Uzbek, and other Turkic musics. Elsner and Janichen, eds. Maqam Traditions of Turkic Peoples. ISBN 3-89626657-8
Three of the best known composers of Turkish classical music are Buhurizade Itri, Dede Efendi, and Haci Arif Bey. Throughout its history until the late 20th century, classical Turkish music was transmitted orally from teacher to student via the mek system. Some compositions lost from the oral repertoire have survived in Hamparsum notation, developed by composer and musician Hamparsum Limonciyan by request of Sultan Selim III.
In 1934, the government of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk banned Ottoman classical music, though the ban was lifted the following year. Even though the Republic of Turkey has a considerably less multiethnic character than the Ottoman Empire, important performers and composers like Yorgo Bacanos and udi Hrant Kenkulian came from minorities, while favourite Turkish composers include Sadettin Kaynak.
Some of the important musicologists involved with this genre are Prince Cantemir, Cinucen Tanrikorur and Rauf Yekta Bey who wrote the first modern account of Turkish classical music available in a Western language. Yekta, Raouf. 1921. "La musique turque," Encyclopedie de la Musique de Conservatoire (Lavignac), v:2945-3064.
Modern Turkish singers of neo-classical music include Munir Nurettin Selcuk, Muzeyyen Senar, Zeki Muren, Bulent Ersoy and Emel Sayin. Safiye Ayla ranks as one of the great secular classical singers of the early 20th centery. Kani Karaca is considered one of the great singers of mosque music and Mevlevi music in the last third of the 20th century. Leading instrumentalists include Necdet Yaar (tanbur), Niyazi Sayin (ney), Ihsan Ozgen (kemenche), Akagunduz Kutbay (neydeceased).
Ottoman classical music comprises many genres, among which are the suites called fasil. A fasil typically includes many instrumental and/or vocal movements, including taksim, perev, arki, beste, and kar, among others.
Database of Turkish music, including the private archive of Ismail Baha Surelsan, a musicologist who specialized in Ottoman classical music
Neyzen, the most complete collection of Ottoman sheet music, available for free online. The long list of Turkish words on the screen are names of individual 'makam'. Each makam has its own quality and repertoire, click on any of these to get a list of the sheet music available to view and download.
TurkMusikisi, the premier Turkish-language website dedicated to Ottoman music. Highly recommended, regardless of Turkish ability.
Secular classical music: selection from gazel improvisation sung by Safiye Ayla mp3, 829 kB, 0:00:53 duration
Mosque music: selection from "Merhaba bahri" (Mevlit) sung by Kani Karaca mp3, 1.3 MB, 0:01:28 duration
Mevlevi music: selection from 4th selam, Beyati Mevlevi Ayini mp3, 793 kB, 0:00:50