Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ottoman Music

I think I knew this once, but had forgotten about it. The following quote is from Donald Quataert's The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922:
"During (the 18th century) the Ottomans made important contributions in the realm of European classical music, adding to it the percussion sections of the modern orchestra. From the 1720s until the 1850s, so called 'Turkish music' - a term once used for the percussion instruments in the orchestra - became the rage in Europe. European courts vied with one another to produce the Ottoman percussion sounds - cymbals, the single kettle drum, the side drum, and the base drum, plus triangles, tambourines, and the 'Jingling Johnny,' a pavilion-shaped instrument of bells. This music had originated with the Janissary band that marched with the Ottoman armies to inspire the troops and strike terror into enemies' hearts...One survival of this Janissary band craze is the mace thrown by drum majors. Over time, the mace became ceremonial, carried by the head of the Janissary band to keep time. This finally evolved into the baton of the drum majorettes, thrown into the air in parades and at football games everywhere in the United States."

I have a picture of a Janissary band re-enactment I saw in Istanbul in 2006. I may look for it tomorrow.



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