Ottoman Turkish Mehterhâne Music as a Catalyst for Alaturka Constructions of Difference in Western Music and Alafranga Appropriations of Difference in Ottoman Turkish Music (18-19th centuries): Gestures of Expressive Alterity


This lecture sheds light on the exchange, representation, and implementation of musical conventions of Ottoman Turkish and European Others. It focuses on the impact of Ottoman military music on European society and composers, such as Lully, Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, as a marker of orientalist representations of exoticism and political strategy. It also explores Ottoman musical reforms of the 19th century when Italian bandmasters, musicians, and composers, such as Guiseppe Donizetti, were invited to train musicians in the newly-formed Western-style imperial band (Muzikayı Hümâyûn). The discussion concludes with an examination of the work of female composer Leyla “Saz” Hanım and the growing social prestige of alafranga culture.

Light refreshments will be served

This Seminar in Ottoman and Turkish Studies is made possible with the support of the Departments of History and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, and Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies