Classical music

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Most Turkish music share the makam, a system of modes or scales and other rules of composition, as well improvisatory pieces called taksim. Taksim are part of a suite of music consisting of a prelude, postlude and a primary section which begins with and is punctuated by taksim. Songs are a part of this tradition, many of them extremely old, dating back to the 14th century; many are newer, however, with late 19th century songwriter Haci Arif Bey being especially popular. Commonly used instruments in Turkish classical music are the oud, tanbur, ney, kanun, and darbuka.

Turkish classical music is taught in conservatoires, the most respected of which is Istanbul's Üsküdar Musiki Cemiyeti. The most popular Turkish classical singer is Münir Nurettin Selçuk, who was the first to establish a lead singer position. Other performers include Bülent Ersoy, Zeki Müren, and Zekai Tunca.

20th century classical history

Parallel to this, some radical and practical actions were taken, such as the transfer of the former Mizika-i Hümayun (Imperial Orchestra) from Istanbul to the new capitol of the state Ankara, and renaming it as Riyaset-i Cumhur Orkestrasi (Orchestra of the Presidency of the Republic. The name would later be changed to Cumhurbaskanligi Senfoni Orkestrasi or Presidential Symphony Orchestra) in 1924; founding of a new school for the training of Western style music instructors in 1924, renaming the Istanbul Oriental Music School as the Istanbul Conservatory in 1926, sending talented young musicians abroad for further music education (these students include well-known Turkish composers such as Cemal Resit Rey, Ulvi Cemal Erkin, Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Necil Kazim Akses, Hasan Ferit Alnar), and finally the founding of the Ankara State Conservatory with the aid of the German composer and music theorist Paul Hindemith in 1936. Again on Atatürk's order, a wide-scale classification and archiving of samples of Turkish folk music from around Anatolia was launched in 1924 and continued until 1953 to collect around 10,000 folk songs. Hungarian composer Béla Bartók visited Ankara and the south-eastern Turkey in 1936 within the context of these works.

Atatürk's restriction of Arab and Persian influenced music policy in 1934 was misinterpreted by the bureaucrats, and turned into a full-scale ban on the Ottoman classical music, which was abolished about a year later by Atatürk himself. By 1976, sanat (a form of classical art music) had undergone a renaissance and the State Conservatoire in Istanbul was founded to give classical musicians the same support as folk musicians. The 1980s saw President Turgut Özal liberalize media regulations, and pop, rock, hip hop and arabesk music made inroads into mainstream Turkish music. Kurdish language music was also allowed for the first time, and religious Sufi music, especially Mevlevi ayin (whirling dervishes).

Turkish influence on Western classical music

European classical composers in the 18th century were fascinated by Turkish music, particularly the strong role given to the brass and percussion instruments in Janissary bands. Joseph Haydn wrote his Military Symphony to include Turkish instruments, as well as some of his operas. Turkish instruments were also included in Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony Number 9. Mozart wrote the "Ronda alla turca" in his Sonata in A major and also used Turkish themes in his operas. Although this Turkish influence was a fad, it introduced the cymbals, bass drum, and bells into the symphony orchestra, where they remain.

Jazz musician Dave Brubeck wrote his "Blue Rondo á la Turk" as a tribute to Mozart and Turkish music.

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