Ottoman Classical Music
The form of music today generally known as Turk Sanat Muzigi, or Ottoman Classical Music, matured, developed in form and aesthetics and came to assume the identity of a form of classical music in parallel to the establishment, growth and increasing strength of the Ottoman state itself. This variety of music furnished products dealing with many subjects, such as religion, love and war. Each of these then came to develop its own varieties, styles and communities. Ottoman music was influenced by other musical cultures as new nations became absorbed into the empire, giving and receiving various elements. From the beginning of the 19th century, however, as the empire began to recede and collapse, increasing shallowness and laxness can be seen in Ottoman music. While rich modes and styles had been employed in the past, this concept gradually faded and turned into metropolitan entertainment music. That process has continued to the present day, and the ‘popular song’ has become increasingly popular and popularised, effectively taking the place of the other forms.
A great number of works were actually forgotten and disappeared as less importance was attached to notation in the middle of the 19th century. The number of works that were written down and have survived down to the present day is some 3,000 for works composed between the 15th century and the end of the 18th. The number produced during the 19th century is around 5,000, giving a total of 8,000. A number of works from the first quarter of the 20th century can also be added to those works, which from the point of view of mode, style, means and methods of vocalisation go back to the very earliest times within a framework of their own distinct rules. Ever since then, the music that has continued to be produced under the name of ‘Turkish Classical Music,’ and which has grown ever more popular, can be seen as an extension of Ottoman music adapted to present-day norms.
Ottoman music is a synthesis, carrying within it a great many historical riches. It emerged as the result of a sharing process between the Turks and the minorities living alongside them, the Byzantines, Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Jews, Armenians etc. It reached its golden age in the private school in the Ottoman palace. No country that employed that system was able to reach the level of artistry attained by the Ottomans.
Ottoman music was formed and given voice in the "Fasil", itself based on unity of mode.