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date: 27 October 2020

Ottoman musiclocked

  • Walter Zev Feldman


Ottoman music may be defined as the dominant music of those urban areas of the Ottoman Empire (1389–1918) where Turkish was the secular literary language of the Muslim population; primarily in Istanbul, Edirne, Izmir, Thessaloniki and, until the later 18th century, the cities of south-east Anatolia. Elsewhere genres of Ottoman music were supported by certain social classes in a predominantly non-Ottoman musical environment, for example in Cairo, Baghdad, Belgrade and Sarajevo. Ottoman music emerged in the late 16th century (almost two centuries after the appearance of the Empire) and has continued in some form up to the present day. With the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, it was redefined as ‘Turkish classical music’ within the new state (see Turkey). Sources for Ottoman music are unique among West Asian maqām musics as they contain musical notation and a theory based mainly on practice, enabling the music to be discussed historically. All the composers mentioned in this article are associated with surviving repertory. However, most of the repertory has been transmitted orally and the task of analysing it using the musical principles found in the notated documents is still in its infancy....

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A. Lavignac and L. de La Laurencie, eds.: Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire
Asian Music