Turkish Influences in Classical Music

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Turkish Influences in Classical Music
The intersections between cultures and musical traditions can result in interesting and/or drastic changes in one’s music compositions. Significantly, in the mid-18th century, this was called The Age of Enlightenment or The Age of Reason. It was due to socio-political changes, the Turkish Influence caused a dispute between religion and a mind that is curious to want to know and understand through reason based on evidence and proof. It was also in this period that the usage of Turkish elements by composers like Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Beethoven in classical compositions was in vogue. This essay explores how the Turkish influences penetrate into classical music, when it started and what are some music elements that these composers like Mozart and Beethoven choose to implement into their classical compositions.

In the early 20th century, a group of Turkish musicians who called themselves ‘Türk Beşleri’ (The Turkish Five) , consisting of Necil Kazım Akses, Hasan Ferit Alnar, Ulvi Cemal Erkin, Cemal Reşit Rey and Ahmed Adnan Saygun had studied music in Europe and were considered the five pioneers who introduced western classical music into Turkey. They were renowned composers with political connections in their time who had composed some of the most excellent Turkish classical pieces during the early age of the Republic Of Turkey. They introduced the mix of Turkish and Classical music in which the traditional themes of old Turkish music were used together with the elements from Western Classical music that they had studied to produce interesting new compositions with a polyphonic structure. Some of their compositions consists of five symphonies; four operas; concertos (two for piano, violin,

viola and cello); various orchestral works; Chamber music and vocal music. Ahmed Adnan Saygun composed the famous Yunus Emre Oratorio. One of the most famous classical composers in the 18th century to compose...
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