Classic Turkish Music

The trend of nostalgia in the consumption of contemporary culture has been experiencing intense popularity in recent years. The styles of past times are sought in many scenes, from clothing to artificial architecture to music. In this respect, Classic Turkish Music draws attention with both its source and its inhabitants. Though historians and musicologists cannot agree on many points, the main source of Classic Turkish music is always Anatolia.

What is Classic Turkish Music?

The music that is performed with its own modes is called Classic Turkish Music. This name was mostly used after the republic. With the establishment of the Republic, old-new, West-East debates have taken place; one of the topics in the discussion of these debates is music. The concept of “Ottoman music”, has been preferred by some musicians, while some of them preferred the name of Traditional Turkish Music after the declaration of the Republic. Between 1934 and 1936, as a state policy, the broadcasting of Turkish music on the radio was ideologically banned. Classic Turkish music, which is still very interesting, was not studied in the conservatory until the 1970’s.

Classic Music in Turkey
The music that is performed with its own modes is called Classic Turkish Music.

The Source of Classic Turkish Music

The most intense debates about Classic Turkish Music focus on the source of the music. The history of Turkish music, which was formed in 6 periods with its main lines, goes up to the 10th century. In this time period, which we can call the Formation Period, there are great musicians like Abdulkadir Meragi. Later, respectively the transformation period, the classical period, the last classical period, the romantic period and the contemporary period are experienced.

Both historians and musicologists have not allied on the topic of the source of Classic Turkish music. According to some, Turkish music evolved from Central Asia. According to others, it was fed from Indian music. According to a very different opinion, East Roman (Byzantium) music is a source of it.

Classic Music in Ottoman Empire
The concept of “Ottoman music”, has been preferred by some musicians, while some of them preferred the name of Traditional Turkish Music after the declaration of the Republic.

However, when we bring them all together, the musical genre that we call classic Turkish music was shaped especially after the 16th century in the Anatolian geography. Moreover, it achieved to synthase all of Central Asia Turkish music, Indian music, Iranian music and East Roman music and reached its original structure and entered the world literature as one of the longest-running classic music styles all over the world.

Relation of Classic Turkish Music – Eastern Rome Music

Recently, the debate about the use of Chopin’s funeral anthem music in the official protocol in our country has once again created another debate about the relationship of Classic Turkish Music – East Roman Music. One of the sources that it feeds, as we have mentioned above, is Eastern Roman music. The style we call Eastern Roma music that emerged in these lands is actually the hymns that were played in the churches. During the Eastern Roman times, the songs of the Greek Orthodox princes were feeding the Uşak mode in today’s Turkish art music. Likewise, Hijaz and Segah are lower branches that are fed from the Greek Orthodox tribes. The famous tekbir is still performed in the mosques during Eid-al-Adha Feast of Itri is the seqah mode.

Classic Music in Ottoman Empire
The history of Turkish music, which was formed in 6 periods with its main lines, goes up to the 10th century.

Classic Turkish Music Artists

Its performers are divided into composers and performers as main lines with over 20 different instruments such as Ney, tambour, oud, cumbush, qopuz. In addition, a separate parenthesis is needed to introduce the saz performers.

Sadettin Kaynak, Şerif İçli, Avni Anıl and Selahattin Pınar are the most prominent figures in the composition of the most important element of Turkish Classical Music.

The performers of Turkish Classic Music consist of artists, many of whom we are very familiar with. Safiye Ayla, Hamiyet Yüceses, Müzeyyen Senar and Zeki Müren are important artists whose music is written in gold letters.