Mehter Music, the source of the Alla Turca Style, is named as Janissary Music, Turkish Military Music, by western; however it was explained after a very limited consideration which heavily concentrated on percussion. Rondo Alla Turca, in which effects of Mehter Style of percussion instruments (drum, triangle, etc.) are easily detected, was heavily based on Turkish Military music. As a general knowledge, those Turkish effects on Western music turned back to Turkey as a part of the “westernization movements” in 19th century.
Alla Turca Style was emerged after Western Music was exposed to Military Music effects; interaction between Turkish Military Music and Western Music gave birth to Alla Turca style. Considering these fact, the dominance of percussive instruments and specific rhythms were inevitable. Alla Turca, basically, does not belong to Turkish culture. It is a manner shaped by Europeans and it is not a totally independent manner. Alla Turca is dependent on the style of the period or century when it was emerged. Instruments, rhythmic components and melodic features of Mehter Music were used as style elements of Alla Turca but the forms and scales of Mehter Music didn’t have any use in it.
Alla Turca effects were highly apparent in Turk Operas, especially in 18th century. Enlightenment thoughts had a huge role for it. Furthermore, Austria, especially Wien, played a crucial role in dissemination of this style. Before Die Enführung aus dem Serail, Turk operas were mostly comic operas which had such subjects as war and sieges, historically important people, life in palace and harem etc. There were numerous operas taking subject of Kanuni Süleyman and Turkish figures were used since 15th century in European operas in a way that makes fun of their most powerful enemy as a reaction of society’s fear and as the reflection of European hate towards Ottomans. Mozart changed the depiction of the Turk in
Die Entführung as Pasha Selim draws a tolerated and...
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