The structure of music is constituted by history and geography, as well as the physical qualities of “sound” and the technique used in the formation of that music. This common and abstract language of the spaces, on which societies live, gains the quality of being an identity in time and becomes a part of social consciousness. Within this context, Turkish music in general and the music of Istanbul in particular, should be examined with regard to the environment and the periods that come before and after them. Otherwise, the ratio of the components that constitute the true identity of this music would have been broken and become dissimilar. Moreover, when it comes to handle a specific historical period, most particularly the Republican period, there appears the necessity of analyzing the process of change and transformation. Thus, in order to understand the musical adventure of Istanbul during the Republican period, it is necessary to mention the cultural background of the city that had different functions in time. It is for this reason that we should discuss the capital city Ankara, the culture policies and institutions that are formed there and their effects on music. Discovering the lasting impacts of the foundation period practices on our music is the prerequisite for understanding the “here and now”. In such a case, the attempt of analyzing the music of Republican Istanbul in terms of Ankara should be taken not as a paradox but as a requirement.
Our music, which most of the time expressed as “Türk Musikisi” (Turkish Music), has its peculiar types of tessitura, makam (melody), beat and rhythm. Moreover, it is a cultural heritage, which has the correlation of prosody-tempo and survived until today by having been changed and transformed by the conditions of social life. Today, in accordance with different approaches, it is named as “traditional music”, “the music of the Ottoman period”, “classical music” or “classical Turkish music”. We may claim that although this music took its roots from different civilizations and geographies before the Ottoman period, its fundamental laws were formed after the conquest of Istanbul. There is a vast repertoire in Turkish music that has been developed throughout ages by the important works of some skillful composers; some of them have been forgotten and substituted by new compositions. However, it may be claimed that the nineteenth century and subsequently Tanzimat (1839) and Meşrutiyet (1908) periods that fall on the reformation period of the Ottoman Empire have a direct impact on Turkish music and they caused irreversible changes in mode and style. In fact, the changes in form and content that are also seen in other forms of art reflect the effects of the conditions that prepared the transition to the Republic from the early twentieth century. It is for this reason we should have a look at the process, which would determine the current situation of the musical heritage that Turkish Republic owns.
The movement, which gained speed during the reign of Mahmud II (1808-1839) -a period that comes to mind when reformation is talked about- and started to have more intense effects on social life, became influential also in music. The organization of Muzıka-i Hümayun (1828), which replaced Mehterhane, favored the Western manner in Music through the musicians that came from Europe and thus a different musical taste was becoming dominant in the palace. As a matter of fact, it is seen that classical music starts to be dissolved slowly from these periods onwards, the musical forms become smaller and new approaches of rhythm and melody become dominant.1 The famous composer Hammamizade İsmail Dede Efendi (d. 1846), who lived in the center of the empire and became one of the pioneering figures of this music, responded to this situation saying that “the music lost its taste”; this was his last sentence he uttered in Istanbul and he died in pilgrimage.2
In fact, the Western note and music repertoire entered into the country in the period of Mahmud II officially through Muzıka-i Hümayun. This Western note and music repertoire spread into various fields, especially military institutions, through its first representatives; and this style started to create its audience by means of the anthems, mazurkas and polkas that were composed in various forms. As the regional and big wars broke out throughout the world with the effect of the collapse of the empires, the national movements started to rise. Under the effect of such a situation, the appearance of the concept of “folk music”, which was the preference of the socio-cultural strata described by the emphasis on ethnic origin, would not take too long.
It is possible to mention that during the final stages of the Ottoman Empire, apart from the Western music, which was officially appreciated throughout the country and represented the modern life, a considerable reservoir of traditional music maintained its vitality and it was conveyed through powerful composers. The classical/great music forms that belonged to the past were conveyed from the representatives of the classical form like Zekai Dede (1897) to the composers like Hacı Arif (1885), Şevki (1891) and Rahmi Bey (1924); from Tanburi Ali Efendi (1902) to the reformist musicians Tanburi Cemil (1906) and Udi Nevres (1973). In such a way, the classical music forms were transformed into new melodic forms and continued to be appreciated by people. Although the forms of Turkish music dwindled, the form of song became dominant and the melodic-rhythmic effect of Western music reverberated in new compositions, it may be claimed that such an encounter created the worry of “self-defense”, when evaluated with today’s point of view. Apart from music, this interaction can also be seen in thinking life, which becomes apparent through the disorder in the musical publications and discussions of the age and the use of language that mostly turns into polemics.
In this process, the traditional music which had not been written down but conveyed from master to pupil and survived by being adapted from minds to the performances, entered into a new realm of mentality. The point to be mentioned here is the fact that the crucial concept called “style” was changing. The style of compositions and lyrics also determines the style of the performance and, though not mentioned, Istanbul as the center of the empire had always existed on the background of this music from the beginning onwards. The change in the sounds, rhythms and social life shows the change in Istanbul and both of them occur in parallel to each other.
A few remarks should be mentioned as the technical features of this music: “practice and performance” used to take place almost simultaneously; it used to be conveyed by means of the relationship between master-apprentice, teacher-pupil; in collective fasıls a general practice and a unity of taste were formed. All of these paved the way for a common cultural climate in the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, we should add here that it is not only impossible but also senseless to follow the traces of Armenian, Jew and Orthodox-Greek nations, which are named as “anasır-ı saire”, and Muslims, who are named as “millet-i hakime” separately within the classics of non-religious Ottoman music. These nations lived together, separately under the changing conditions of history and geography. It is necessary to evaluate the musical types, through which these nations preserved their cultural diversities, as the primary elements of this abstract heritage.3
Within the cosmopolitan social structure of the Ottoman Empire, music existed without being dominated by a specific social class, community or a group. This is a fact that should be explained by the self-dynamics of this music, rather than the issue of “vitality”. During this process of synthesis, which occurred in Istanbul, took Istanbul as its central point and smoothed the marginalities, -except for the protected cases of religious realms and partially some folkloric elements- a lot of social groups acted in the production and transmission of music. In his book, which discusses the Ottoman courtly music in detail, Walter Feldman stated that the master-apprentice relationship often exceeded the class boundaries and he also wrote: “… although Mevlevi dervishes, Jewish chazzans, the singers in Greek churches and other groups followed different paths for the transmission of music, none of these groups was indifferent to others or secluded.”4 The relation that was established with music created a sense of appropriation and internalization through meşk (practice/performance) that had been continuing for long years. When looked from our time, it becomes possible to see that such a sense of intimacy is one of the factors that construct social and cultural conditions. Music could transcend some particular sensibilities and demolish the differences of social status. There are lots of examples that could be given to this situation in our music history. How far this diversity and richness could be reflected to the period after the Republic is another issue to be discussed.
Until the Republican period, the civil places, meşkhanes, music communities and particularly Mevlevihanes were the places where music was practiced and taught. These places had an important role with the spreading influence of skillful composers and musicians, who were alive at that time. New values that came with the Western style of musical language started to create radical changes in local music, which was living with all its institutions. The combination of makams, rhythm intervals and structures started to change; forms of composition transformed into small units; the examples that were freer and shorter became preferable. When looked from our age, traditional music, which was trying to maintain its oral quality and insisting on preserving its sound and thinking systems, was vulnerable in the face of Western music, which had already entered into the processes of following a methodology and notation. Between these two different musical languages that encountered with each other, occurred some tensions, either implicitly or explicitly. However, it can be stated that during this process, the members of these two musical languages had never come to the point of ignoring themselves.
In the nineteenth century, sounds could be recorded and musical pieces started to become permanent thanks to the devices like phonograph and gramophone. This caused some radical changes both in music and in production-consumption relationship. The phonograph record industry, which also developed as an important commercial area, developed and spread rapidly with its quality of fixing the time and places where musical pieces were recorded. It is seen that in the first quarter of the twentieth century, record factories started to be established in Istanbul and this created an important sector. The first examples of records were offered to the audiences by some performers like Tanburi Cemil Bey, a skillful instrument player, and oral culture was consumed in parallel with the musical publications that were printed and disseminated. This printed musical materials and the “Western notation”, which was being used widely, can be evaluated as the factors that caused the structural change in traditional music; these are also the materials with which we can observe this change.5
At the beginning of the century the opinions that there was a big gap in music education, that the music performed in communities or in the places like meşkhane, tekke, Mevlevihane and other special circles was not satisfactory in terms of education started to gain importance. In accordance with the report written by Seyyid Aldülkadir (Töre) (1946) to the Ministry of Education, which was about the arrangement of music education by the state, a schedule was prepared, peculiar to primary schools.6
Moreover, within Darülmuallimat7 (Teacher’s Training School for Girls) and Darüşşafaka,8 a significant tradition of music education was being carried out. This powerful education, which started with the great composer Zekai Dede and continued with his son Zekaizade Ahmed Efendi, was preserved after the proclamation of the Republic and continued for a while.
Music societies, which can be named as significant civil organizations in Turkish music tradition, were operating, starting from the Second Constitutional Period, in different districts of Istanbul, under various names like Darülfeyz-i Musiki (the predecessor of today’s Üsküdar Music Society), Darülmusiki-i Osmanî, Darüttâlim-i Musiki, Şark Musiki Cemiyeti and Gülşen-i Musiki Heyeti. Moreover, apart from the meşks performed by private music schools, most of which were short-lived, and by famous composers, the performance arts started to attract attention. As a result, a different style started to take place. Theater music, revue songs, cantos and operettas started to be composed and in this field, mostly the composers of traditional music created works.
In accordance with this need of the period, for the purpose of creating national representations and composing traditional songs for these representations, Darülbedayi was established in 1924, during the period of Cemil Pasha, Mayor of Istanbul. Composer Ali Rıfat Bey (1935) was appointed as the head of the music department.9 (Darülbedayi is the predecessor of today’s Municipal Theatre)
Later on, the music commission Musiki Encümeni and the music school named Darülelhan, which were established by the will of the sultan in 1916, became one of the turning points of Turkish music education history and it gathered the important musicians of the period, especially Rauf Yekta Bey (1935). The first chairman of the institution was Ziya Pasha (1929), the old Minister of Foundations. It took its place as the first and the most important institution of Turkish music history after the proclamation of the republic, under the management of Musa Süreyya Bey. Initially, the main purpose of Darülelhan was defined as “determining and classifying national works of music in order to prevent them from being lost”. This purpose changed after the proclamation of the Republic, as Western music education took place within the institution. (This institution, which later took the names of Istanbul Conservatory and Istanbul Municipality Conservatory, was given to Istanbul University in 1986 and acquired the quality of State Conservatory. Today, it is still offering music education).10 The “magnificent” concert, which was given by the committee of Darülelhan in Tepebaşı Winter Theater, in 13 March, 1923, started with the anthem named “Anadolu Kahramanlarına Armağan-ı Zafer” (A Victory Gift to the Heroes of Anatolia), which was composed by Reis Ziya Pasha.
In the meantime, the Council of Music was closed and the structure of the school was changed. The conservatory gains a structure, in which the activities of Turkish and Western music were carried out together and publication activities were given weight. Numerous activities that were carried out with the joy of the recently established Republic, the interest in these activities given by media organs and the politicians’ frequent visits to Darülelhan created sensibility among people. This sensibility was not peculiar to Istanbul; just like in the articles11 that took place in 1919, in the magazine Alem-i Musiki (The World of Music) published in Bursa, the same sensitivity is seen in Safvet Arifi Bey’s article, which was sent from Kayseri to Milli Mecmua (National Magazine) in 1923:
… Today’s Darü’l-Elhan arose from the need of a life that thoroughly belongs to us. It is the first station that the newly born pleasure of national life will stop by; now then, it has to answer to this pleasure and lead it towards the goal; this is its duty.
How will this happen?
It is said that there are alaturka (Turkish) and alafranga (European) branches in Darü’l-Elhan. Here is the question then: Does Musa Süreyya Bey, who took education in Gemany, comply with the necessity of the degenerate choice between alaturka-alafranga? Is the answer to the question “Alaturka or Alafranga?” definitely the solution? If this is the case, I will ask once again: Why do we think in such a formalistic way? Is the spirit of music, which would construe the events, the nature, that is, its theme after seeing the place, the ground of inspiration, engaged in spinning a web out of formalism for its flexibility?12
In this period, when “nationalism” and being national took an important place and when culture and art was reorganized upon this ground, one of the issues that best reflect the mood of the period is the story of “national anthem”, whose deficiency had been felt for a long time. Mehmet Akif Bey’s poem, which was accepted as the İstiklal Marşı (Independence March/Turkish National Anthem) in 12 March, 1921 by the Grand National Assembly, had been decided to be composed by the order of Ankara Government, after a competition held by Istanbul Directorate of Education. This competition that was held in 12 February, 1923 attracted intensive attention among the music masters of the age. Among 55 compositions, the acem-aşiran composition of Ali Rıfat Bey, who was the head of Şark Musiki Cemiyeti (Eastern Music Society), won the first place. Although the government published this anthem and distributed it to the schools and ministries, after a while some objections started to be given voice, on account of the fact that Ali Rıfat Bey was a member of alaturka music. The ideas like a new evaluation had to be made and even the opinion of a European musician had to be taken were put forward.13 During this process, some other composers distributed their own National Anthem compositions among their environment and thus different compositions started to be sung in different areas. Upon this, a council was reestablished in Ankara. The march of Ali Rıza Bey was accepted legally and the inscription “…our national anthem passed as the winner by the order of the Council of Scientists” was attached on the publication of notes.14
In the meantime, Osman Zeki (Üngör) Bey (1958), who was one of the teachers of Darülelhan and the conductor of Muzıka-i Hümayun (The Imperial Band) in Istanbul -this band was later called as Makam-ı Hilafet Muzıkası (The Caliphs Band)- was invited to Ankara and assigned to a position, which would be at the center of the education process that would start with Musiki Muallim Mektebi (Music Teachers Training School) and of the practices regarding Western music that were to be carried out together with Riyaset-i Cumhur Filarmoni Orkestrası (Presidential Philharmonic Orchestra). Again during that period, in 11 March, 1924, it is known that in a ball held under the tutelage of Latife Hanım, in Ankara National Theater building, the Conductor Zeki Bey performed the National Anthem accompanied by the Presidential Orchestra.15 (This is the anthem, which was accepted legally as the national anthem of Turkish Republic in 1930 and which is still sung).
During these years, when the culture of the “capital of empire” represented by Istanbul was associated with Darülelhan and similar institutions and when Ankara, as the capital city, was at the center of Republican values, it is seen that a new socio-cultural structure was tried to be established by means of publications, especially via Ziya Gökalp’s (1924) differentiation between “culture-civilization”. Thinking the ideal synthesis in music, Ziya Gökalp demonstrates Ottoman music as a separate structure from Turkish music, saying that “…Ottoman music is like a science composed of rules”, while Turkish music is composed of “irregular, anomalous, unscientific melodies, the warm melodies that come from the heart of the Turk”.16 We can state here that the music education structured along this perspective concurred with the approach that stood at the base of the state’s “disciplining” of in the field of modeling the cultural life of the society, starting from the early years of the Republic.17
When looked at from today’s point of view, it is seen that the culture policies adopted by the Republic were designated by the state and they were tried to be carried out by the state as the center. What was aimed via these policies was to change the everyday lives and the mentality of people and thus to create a new identity. As Mustafa Kemal states, the basic issue, which was to be “carried out primarily” and to be concentrated on, was the music reform, which was later discussed rigorously, though not counted as one of the revolutions at first stage. There are basically three aspects and phases of this reform within the legal discourse of the time. The first one is the traditional music, which remained from the Ottoman period and which was to be excluded; the second one is the folk music, which was to be transformed as a material for synthesis; the third one is the Western music, which includes the technique that would enable such a synthesis to be realized. The clearest statement of Gökalp that emphasizes this differentiation in music is as follows: “…Which one of these is national? We saw that the Eastern music is both sick and anti-national. Since folk music is the music of our culture and the Western music is the music of our new civilization, both of them are not alien to us. Then our national music will born out of the harmony of our folk music and the Western music.”18
In 1924, some cards that were composed of various questions were prepared by Darülelhan. Through the boards of education in every district, it was planned that the music teachers in Anatolia were to be reached and the notes of local folk songs in those regions were tried to be supplied on those cards.19 Short time after this attempt, which resulted unsuccessfully, the first journey to Anatolia, with the purpose of compiling folk songs, was made by the same institution, with the support of the Mayor of Istanbul Muhittin (Üstündağ) Bey. In this first journey made in 1926, some districts in Southern, Southeastern and Middle Anatolia were visited by a group of four people, including the Director of Darülelhan Yusuf Ziya Bey and Rauf Yekta Bey. Within two months, approximately 250 folk songs were compiled.20 These journeys continued until 1929 in different periods, with the company of different people and they were published in 15 fascicules.
In the meantime, the Law on the Unity of Education that went in effect in 1924 and Music Teachers School established in Ankara in the same year under the Ministry of Education can be evaluated as the first step of the Republic’s legal policy of music. As a matter of fact, the education of traditional music, one of whose arms was made nonfunctional with abolition of the music performed in tekkes (dervish lodges) and similar places, was forbidden in 1926, by the decision of “Sanayi-i Nefise Encümeni” (Council of the Fine Arts), which was established by the Minister of Education Mustafa Necati Bey, and by the signature of Namık İsmail Bey, the Director of Maarif Vekaleti Türk Harsı (Ministry of Education Turkish Culture).21 This decision was issued to Darülelhan, which embodied the most important musicians and which in a sense maintained the relation with the past music tradition. On condition that it would not “carry out the duty of education and training” the school took the name of “Istanbul Music School” until it took the quality of conservatory. The Committee for the Classification and Determination of Turkish Music”, which was assigned for scoring the classical works and the Committee of Performance that was composed of the music teachers of the school continued to exist..
In 8 September, 1926, by means of the concession, Turkish Radio and Telephone Corporation acquires the right of making radio broadcast, which is one of the most important steps of communication. This corporation tried to establish stations in Eyüp, Istanbul and in Ankara but it was closed after its first test broadcast made in Istanbul. It established its main studio on the upper floor of Istanbul Big Post Office and it started its broadcast in March, 1927. The regular broadcasts were started to be made in May. It is known that, while sailing with Ertuğrul Yacht in Marmara Sea, Atatürk listened the radio, which was broadcasting in Sirkeci and he asked the artists to perform older works and this broadcast lasted for hours.22 (In 1934, this station was moved to the Ambassador Coffee House in Beyoğlu.)
In 9 August, 1928, Atatürk introduced the new alphabet and declared the Alphabet Reform. After this meeting an Egyptian musician, Eyüp Music Community and later Western music orchestra performed songs from different musical traditions. In such a music atmosphere, Atatürk stated that the music performed by the orchestra was the “music of the civilized world” and it is the music that “satisfies the discovered soul and feeling of Turks”, which are the words that he clearly manifests his preference of music.23
The paper notes, fasıls (performances), lyric journals and theory books, which were published in Istanbul until the Alphabet Reform; also the widespread gramophone records transformed the imperial music repertoire to the Republic. The statement of Muallim Kazım (Uz) Bey, which was published on the cover of his book published in 1923, reflects the new music approach clearly: “Based on the music theory of the West, it combines the corresponding theory of the East”24 Also, the book of Halil Bedii (Yönetken) Bey, which was published in the old alphabet during the Republican period, was written for “the teachers of primary school” and it was about the content and method of music lessons.25 The course book of Mehmed Ali Feridun Bey starts with the statement “In this music book, which came out as the result of the observations I carried out in Europe for long years, the most important information needed for those, who newly started music education, is given in a simple language.”26
In social life, especially in Istanbul’s recreation areas and in music coffee houses, various incesaz (string instruments) groups were performing music harmoniously and they were accompanying to various shows, Karagöz plays, puppeteers and public story tellers and they became a part of everyday life. Şinasi Akbatu, who wrote a lot of articles about the historical aura of Istanbul and about its daily life, gives the following information about incesaz groups in one of his articles:
…In the “müntehib-i sânî” (two staged) elections of parliament members held in 8 July, 1927 in Istanbul, the public was so ignorant and indifferent towards the elections that no one was going for vote. In order to encourage people to vote, one incesaz group was placed near some of the voting boxes. People were voting and incesaz groups were performing fasıls at the same time!...27
In this period, when among the upper class of the society anti-Turkish music mentality was growing and the prohibition of alaturka (alla turca) music education was continuing in Darülelhan, this application took rejection and many articles that reflect the “Alaturka-Alafranga” conflict of the age were published. The journal of Tiyatro ve Musiki (Theater and Music), whose first issue was published in 19 January, 1928, is a publication, in which Rauf Yekta and Hakkı Süreyya beys wrote articles about the condition of Turkish music. In this journal, asking the question “What benefit did this inappropriate movement, which targeted at demolishing the half of the institution of national art and culture, give to the country? By dismissing from Darülelhan a few hundred paid students, who were taking education on theory and practice of national music, was Turkish music removed from Turkey?”,28 Rauf Yekta Bey makes the following wishes in another article:
…The current condition that came out as a result of the decision regarding Darülelhanis does not hold promise for the future of our music. If this sincere request and wish of us take the attention of the Ministry of Education -as in other fields of our culture- and pave the way for establishing a scientific committee that would think about the precautions to be taken in the field of our national music, we can find a way to take pride in our music in front of Europeans. The pride of such a behavior would no doubt belong to our country and to those, who govern it by their brilliance.29
In 1927, with the support of Columbia Records Company and with the contributions of Darülelhan Science Committee, a repertoire that consisted in 95 classical works was performed. The opening speech was made by Rauf Yekta Bey. The concert took attention and it was performed once again and later on, the works that were performed in the concert were recorded first by the company of Sahibinin Sesi30 and then by Columbia31 company.
“The Federation of Turkish Music Associations”, which was established in 1928 and supported by Türk Ocakları, was using CHF hall in Letafet Apartment in Şehzadebaşı. It was established as an occupational organization and held some concerts under the management of Ali Rıfat Bey. However, it could not fulfill the targeted organization and could not continue.32
The foundation of the first folklore association “Halk Bilgisi Derneği” between 1928-1932 and the opening of other branches of this association in Ankara and in other districts is also another organization to be mentioned. The office in Istanbul started to operate under the directorate of Yusuf Ziya Bey, within Istanbul conservatory. This association published two journals named Halk Bilgisi Mecmuası and Halk Bilgisi Haberleri.
The live broadcast of recitation of the Quran in Turkish, in 1932, Ayasofya and the Turkish performance of azan (call to prayer) in 1931 are the applications that describe the process indirectly.
“Türk Tarihi Tetkik Cemiyeti” and “Türk Dili Tetkik Cemiyeti”, which were founded in the same date and structured in order to form a national identity; also Halkevleri (Community Centers), which replaced Türk Ocakları, are the institutions that dominate the art and culture policies of the period.
In 1933, magnificent ceremonies were held for the tenth anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic and Cemal Reşit Bey composed 10. Yıl Marşı.
At the beginning of November, 1934, Atatürk declared the following statements in his inaugural speech at the opening of the Grand National Assembly: “What is to be carried out most quickly and primordially is Turkish music. The measure for the renovation of a new nation is its ability to grasp the changes in music. The music that is being listened today is far from making us proud.”33 After these statements, by the order of the Ministry of Interior Affairs dated 3 November, 1934, the broadcasting of Turkish music was forbidden and this also affected the broadcasting of monotonic folk songs and in such an atmosphere of confusion, music reform presented some conflicts. In the news entitled “National music is in radio programs”, which was published in Akşam newspaper dated 5 February, 1936, it was stated that a note was sent to the radio company and in this note was written “…In this note, it is determined that Tamburacı Osman Pehlivan is to perform Turkish folk music in radio. The artist is to represent the examples of national music and perform folk music with a national taste. But he is not to perform fasıl or enderun music.” In relation to this process, which can be evaluated as the manipulation of culture by the state through radio, the points that Uygur Kocabaşoğlu mentions are important: First, although folk music reform played an important role for the elite of the period, traditional art music was prior to folk music songs, in terms of the duration of broadcasting. In Early Republican period, radio broadcasts were insufficient, receivers were primitive and they had always been extremely expensive. For this reason, it was beyond the purchasing power of the public. Briefly, music reform could not fulfill the intended results both because the indecision about the nature of reform and because of some technical reasons.34
In other words, it can be said that most of the people were not aware of folk music reform. Moreover, Kocabaşoğlu informs that in 1936 there were 10.000 radio receivers throughout Turkey,35 which means that only a limited part of the population were influenced by the prohibition of “Alaturka Broadcasting”.
When looked from today’s point of view, Devlet Musikisi ve Temsil Akademisi (State Music and Performance Academy), which was established in Ankara in 1934, received attention as an institution that was formed in order to settle “music reform”. Although it could not make a decision for this purpose, it took its place in our late history as an agent of the process, in which polyphonic music policies, including the composition of the first term operas (Özsoy, Bayönder, Taşbebek), were carried out formally. While correlating the music institutions in Ankara with the past -the institutions that would form the overall music structuring of the country-, Gültekin Oransay, who is one of the important music researchers of the Republican era, actually mentions that the center of culture was moved from Istanbul to Ankara. In his article, which discusses the first fifty years of the Republic, he mentions that The Band and Orchestra of the Ottoman Court that was named as “Muzıka-i Hümayun” and directed by Donizetti in 1828 and “Riyaset-i Cumhur Musiki Heyeti” of the Republican era underlie today’s Presidential Symphony Orchestra and K.K.K. Armoni Muzıkası, while Musiki Muallim Mektebi (School for Music Teachers) underlies State conservatories and State operas and orchestras.36
Music trainers like Paul Hindemith, Ernst Praetorius, Lohmann and Bela Bartok, who came to Ankara in the mid-1930s, also contributed to the polyphonic music atmosphere. The Hungarian composer and musicologist Bela Bartok came to Turkey in 1936 and went on a trip for compilation together with Adnan Saygun, Necil Kazım and Ulvi Cemal from Ankara Conservatory. Later on, in 1937, other trips for compilation were also started by Ankara State Conservatory. All of these have an important place in the culture policies of the age. It was aimed that the new folkloric material to be gathered would be given to the new generation, who had studied abroad, as the raw material and it would be re-handled.
The radio program named “Bir Türkü Öğreniyoruz” (We Are Learning One Folk Song), which was prepared and presented by Mesut Cemil Bey and lasted for almost one and a half year, attracted intense attention.
In a weekly magazine named Hafta (Week), Mesut Cemil, who is one of the important musicians of the Republican period and who embodies both traditional and new music preferences, was giving accounts of his father’s (Tanburi Cemil Bey) evaluations on “Ottoman music”. Based on these evaluations, some inferences were put forward. After the following remarks of Tanburi Cemil Bey:
…While expressing my ideas about the reformation of Ottoman music, I thought it was necessary to talk about the peculiar style it possesses. Our experiences prove that the development in music is symmetrical to the regional beauties of the country, from which that music was originated. Together with the climate of Turkey and Istanbul, the brilliance of our old masters in arranging methods, making up modes and embellishing the tunes brings this peculiar style into being. This style is what distinguishes Ottoman music from the music of other nations and gives it a special value. …Only they can properly and poetically perform the compositions, whose lyrics are selected from the works of our great poets like Fuzuli, Nedim, Baki.
The evaluations of the magazine were summarized as follows under the heading of “Osmanlı Musikisinin Rolü Bitince” (As the Role of Ottoman Music is Played Out):
It is seen that in terms of the problem of music reform, Cemil Bey was far from understanding our contemporary needs. However, if the barren and narrow atmosphere of the imperial period he lived in is considered, it is required to take his approach as natural. Unfortunately, this wondrous talent could not see the days of reformation and Gazi. …In these days, when we put an end to the historical role of Ottoman music, we need to work on a comparative music history, through an entirely Western method, in order to understand how our true national music was born out of the soul of our people and how it can be Europeanized.37
During the period of Mesut Cemil Beg, who became the director of Ankara Radyosu in 1938, it was discussed that the folk songs were to be performed by a separate group. After discussions, some artists were selected by an examination in order to perform folk music specifically. In Istanbul Radyosu, Sadi Yaver Ataman established “Memleket Havaları Ses ve Saz Birliği” (The Union for the Sounds and Instruments of National Music) and he started to make programs on the radio.
Bearing the task of disseminating the Republican ideals to the public, radio also served in infusing the new musical approach, which was a part of reformation, on people. For this reason, the performances made with a choir were specifically given importance since it was seen as the platform that served the goal of “uniting the whole nation in a single emotion”. The artists here were supposed to perform the “revised” folk songs in the same manner. The purpose here was to teach people the revised versions of folk songs. The most famous chorus of this period was “Yurttan Sesler Korosu” (The Chorus of the Voices from Country), which was founded by Muzaffer Sarısözen in 1948 and conducted by him. With the performances of Yurttan Sesler Korosu it was aimed that the folk songs were to be offered to people in an accurate way and to make regions meet with each other. This activity was carried out in Ankara by the Management of Radio, the Board of Education and the State Conservatory in order to offer these materials chosen from the folklore archive to people by selecting and beautifying them.
In this way, folk songs, whose one of the important characteristics is locality, were to be made homogenous and standardized as a requirement of the culture policies of the Republic’s early period. However, such applications caused the personal styles and the dialects of bards disappear and “folk music” withdrew from its authentic manner. Later on, the fact that an important historian Fuat Köprülü became the head of Turkish Folklore Association that was established in Çemberlitaş and the foundation of Folklore Performance Community under Sadi Yaver Ataman in Istanbul Municipality Conservatory are important institutions against the deterioration of this music. Moreover, the facts that Sadi Yaver Ataman prepared some attractive programs like “Voice of This Land” in Istanbul Radyosu, became the head of some institutions like Turkish Folklore Institution and Folklore Association and worked as the expert of the Institution for Disseminating and Sustaining Turkish Folk Dance can be evaluated within this context.38
Via the means of radio broadcasts, television and private channels, “folk music” could be offered to larger masses mostly for commercial and entertainment purposes. With the effect of these factors and with socio-economic conditions and the migration from rural areas to cities it had undergone a radical change in time. Another result of such a distance from the authenticity of this music is the fact that it paved way for the opening of many places called “folk song bars” in town centers, especially in Istanbul, which was most affected by this deformity. Again, during the same period, the arabesque music movement, which was born out of same reasons, was excluded by the literate and the elite class of the society at first and it could not find a place in radio and television. However, it affected other genres in time and caused them loose value.
Until the mid-1940’s, the Conservatory in Istanbul was giving only Western music education; In a musical atmosphere dominated by The City Orchestra, The City Band, Kadıköy Eastern Music Orchestra and by various operate groups, Turkish music became silenced and it could only be maintained in the private lives and minds of Turkish intellectuals and appreciators, who were the supporters of Turkish music and who decreased in number through the course of time. In the beginning, the performance quality and the developing publications of repertoire of the radio, which was broadcasting Turkish music, were important means of offering people the traditional music. Especially the club culture, which was highly appreciated in big cities and maintained its most colorful and continuous state in Istanbul, drew most of the names, who were the members of radio and conservatory and were brought in these institutions. The lower musical places like clubs and taverns should be taken as the places that were appreciated by most of the city dwellers not only because of their aesthetic value but also because of their value of magazine.
The musicologist and composer Rauf Yekta Bey, who is one of the pioneers in treating traditional music with modern musicology methods in Istanbul, Saadettin Arel, who changed and extended Rauf Yekta Bey’s theoretical principles after his death in 1935 and Dr. Suphi Ezgi are some important names that should be noted for their scientific studies and efforts during the years, when the education of Turkish music was banned. Thanks to their efforts, the notes, sound system and theoretical approach that have been maintained until today were appropriated and our music knowledge could be traced back to the twentieth century. Having been survived through the conservatory, that is a legal and competent institution, classical works and religious music have an important place in our recent history. Some of the music publication houses like Şamlı Selim, Şamlı İskender Kudmani, Arşak Çömlekciyan and Onnik Zadoryan, most of whom were located near Beyazıt, continued to publish notes in the Republican period; especially İskender fasıls and the note serials named Müntehabat were followed curiously for long years. Apart from these, the note publications of some private communities like İsmail Hakkı Bey’s Musiki-i Osmani, Terakki-i Musiki and Darüttallim-i Musiki also continued.
The fact that Hüseyin Saadettin Arel became the head of the Istanbul Municipality Conservatory in 1943 means radical changes in this institution. Department of the Education of Turkish Music Theory was opened, Committee of Turkish Music Performance was established, the most competent masters of the period taught here and lots of valuable artists were trained here. The concerts of Performance Committee that were held regularly in various halls of Istanbul, especially in Şan Cinema, took attention and the live broadcast of these concerts from radio paved way for the appropriation of a certain repertoire of classical music by the people of Istanbul. The famous artist of the period Münir Nurettin Selçuk not only performed old works in these concerts; he also performed his own compositions, the songs like “Aziz Istanbul”, “Kandilli Yüzerken Uykularda” and “İstinye Körfezinde Bir Akşam Garipliği”, whose lyrics were written by the poet Yahya Kemal. He also composed “Kalamış” from Behçet Kemal, “Bir safa bahşedelim bu dil-i nâ-şâde/Gidelim serv-i revanım yürü Sâdâbâd’e” (Let’s arrange a party for this unhappy heart/My tall beloved, let’s go and walk to Sâdâbâd) from Nedim and some others from various poets and he became identified with the city. As a matter of fact, after his death it will be noted that “… It is Nedim, Yahya Kemal and Orhan Veli, who narrate Istanbul in poetry; and it is Münir Nurettin that narrates it in music”.39
In 1985-1986 education year, Istanbul Municipality Conservatory was included in YÖK (Institution of High Education) and became a part of Istanbul University. However, until 2012-2013 education year, students were not registered to Turkish music department. The Bachelor Degree of Comparative Music Studies of Ottoman Period that was opened under Musicology Department and Center for Performance and Research of Ottoman Music that was opened under Istanbul University Presidency came into effect and education-performance, research-publication activities were united.
The first Turkish Music Conservatory (today’s İTÜ TMDK/Istanbul Technical University Turkish Music State Conservatory), which was founded in Istanbul by Ercüment Berker in 1975 under the management of the state (The Ministry of Culture) and Istanbul State Classical Turkish Music Choir that was founded by Nevzat Atlığ (under the Presidency in 2013) paved way for the institutionalization of music in state level. Later on, three more communities were founded in Istanbul under the Ministry of Culture: The Community of State Turkish Music, The community of Historical Turkish Music and The Community for Research and Performance of Turkish Music.
Also in Istanbul, some official institutions like State Symphony Orchestra, State Opera and Ballet, State Polyphonic Folk Songs Community give concerts in different genres; in Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory and in other foundation universities, music education in different genres are given in music departments. Apart from the halls in Atatürk Culture Center in Taksim, Istanbul, the concert hall named after Cemal Reşit Rey, who was one of the first composers –known as the Turkish Quintette– of polyphonic music and preferred to stay in Istanbul, was opened in Harbiye, under Istanbul Municipality. Although only Western music was performed in this hall at first, gradually it has become a place, where all kinds of activities are held. Lots of local and foreign concerts are held in various halls of Istanbul Municipality, of some private institutions and some schools and in this regard, Istanbul has the quality of a world-wide metropolitan city.
However, both the city and its dwellers have changed.
Here, it would be proper to give an account of the late periods of the age old relation between the city of Istanbul and music. Instead of Kağıthane Stream, which was one of the major places where group fasıls were performed and the public festivities known as “Sadabad alemi” were held; also instead of the wide meadow surrounded by big trees and hills, which is known as “Göksu Mesiresi” and is located between Göksü and Küçüksu streams in Anatolian side, different neighborhoods came into fashion in the Republican period and they started to be the subject of compositions.
In his muhayyer-kürdi fantasy, Sadettin Kaynak composed the lines “Oh beautiful girl of Maçka/The belle of Kadiköy/Oh dear Suadiyeli/I found a girl everywhere”; Eyyübi Ali Rıza Bey composed the song of Florya in acem-kürdi mode; Tanburi Refik Fersan chose the lyrics “Come, stay a few days in Fenerbahçe in this summer”. The neighborhood of Şişli, which takes place in the song of the composer Bimen Efendi as “The first queen of Şişli/Her thin veil covers her hair/I wish I had a few nights of her/I would give my life oh the belle of Şişli”, takes place as follows in the nihavend song of Ahmet Yekta Madran: “The heart was embellished on a silk linen/Once again it was pierced in Şişli”. This neighborhood also takes place in the introduction of Cemal Reşit Rey’s Lüküs Hayat Opereti, which is still famous for being a symbol of modern city life.
The neighborhood of Çamlıca is frequently seen in songs. The following examples are some of them: “I stayed with my darling in Çamlıca at a summer night”, which was composed in şehnaz mode by Bimen Şen and in kürdili-hicazkar mode by İsak Varol, Yorgo Bacanos’ hüseyni song “You came to the moonlight of çamlıca at a summer night”, Nuri Halil Poyraz’s nihavend composition “On the way to Çamlıca he takes his lover’s arm”, Yaseri Asım Beg’s hicaz composition “Instruments are played in the gardens of Çamlıca” and his nihavend composition “We are the three roses of Çamlıca”, Fazi Kapancı’s nihavend song “Come darling to Çamlıca this night”. With his hüseyni song, Kemani Bülbüli Salih Efendi seems to be identified with this neighborhood: “How nice the morning breeze blows in Çamlıca/Here Bülbüli Salih gives merriness and joy”.
The songs, whose themes are the Princes’ Islands, form a big group. The following songs are among this group: Mısırlı İbrahim Efendi’s nihavend song “The sun has not sink yet/The Princes Island does not satisfy me without you” and his uşşak song “You are the only star of this horizon/You are the cheerful blue-eyed girl of the island”, Bilmen Efendi’s uşşak song “All the enjoyment and pleasure have gone with you from the island”, Şükrü Tunar’s hüzzam song “The green pines of the island”, Osman Nihat Akın’s nihavend song “Once again in this year the island has not satisfied me without you”, Yesari Asım Beg’s kürdili-hicazkar song “Let the worries in the chest fly to my heart” and his nihavend song “I wish I could take the belle of the island and go to the pine grove” and his hicaz song “A darling comes to us from the islands”.
Another group in the repertoire are the anonym songs in folkloric style that are names as “Istanbul folk songs”. It is highly possible that at first, these songs were composed by a person and in time they became the part of the collective memory and changed a bit. From older examples, Tanburi Mustafa Çavuş’s bayati song, which closes with the lines “The helpless lover/has fallen in love with a boy from Tarabya”. The most common Istanbul folk songs are as follows: “Allı yemeni”, “İstanbul’dan Üsküdar’a yol gider”, “Fındıklı bizim yolumuz”, “Aksaray’da çevirdiler yolumu”, “Yangın olur biz yangına gideriz (the song of fire brigades)”, “Telgrafın tellerine kuşlar mı konar”, “Beyoğlu’nda gezersin”.
It is apparent that the popular music, which has risen together with the interruptions in Turkey’s political structure, offers valuable material for sociologists and political scientists and it deepens the gaps by leaking through the fractures in social memory. Without doubt, it is our past culture that is mostly damaged by this situation. Being declined continuously through the discourse of nostalgia and faltered as the last classicist generation -including Bekir Sıtkı Sezgin, Kani Karaca, Niyazi Sayın, Necdet Yaşar, Meral Uğurlu- withdrew, our music has become the subject of pessimist sentences.
Being an important representative of Istanbul culture, music had been shared and maintained until the mid of the past century as a tradition in daily life, through musical meetings that were held in some houses. In our age, when musical genres have increased and the variety in music are fallen into indetermination and the genres are intertwined with each other, the relation between the performance and the audience has changed, as the tradition has changed in form and carried into halls. Now, there is not such a person like İbnülemin Mahmud Kemal Bey, who regularly opens the doors of his mansion in Mercan to the leading musicians of the age and listens to -according to Tanpınar’s words- “…Bu gecelerde kırmızı kadife kanepenin her zaman oturduğu köşesinde, bütün ömrünce üstüne eğildiği gazete koleksiyonlarının rengini bağlamış çehresiyle”. Neither there is such a person like Hakkı Süha Gezgin, who, according to the account of Alaeddin Yavaşça, in the fasıls held regularly at his home in Şair Nedim Street “blows a short ney (nısfiye), sitting with his dark green stripped pajamas on the right side of Dr. Selahattin Tanur that conducts the fasıl”. Although such meetings are tried to be revived from time to time, it is apparent that these are the “revivals” that are incongruous with the environment; the impossibility of reproducing the tradition in such places is already apparent.
Songs as well as Istanbul have already changed.
1 Bülent Aksoy, “Tanzimattan Cumhuriyete Musiki ve Batılılaşma”, TCTA, vol. 5, p. 1223. Also another publication that discusses the renovation process in music is Cumhuriyet’in Sesleri (prepared by Gönül Paçacı, Istanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı, 1999).
2 Rauf Yekta, Esâtiz-i Elhan: Dede Efendi, Istanbul: Evkaf-ı İslamiyye Matbaası, 1341, p. 166.
3 Gönül Paçacı, “İstanbul’un Müziği”, Karaların ve Denizlerin Sultanı İstanbul, prepared by Filiz Özdem Iāāāstanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2009, vol. 2, pp. 415-443.
4 Walter Feldman, Music of the Ottoman Court, Berlin: VWB-Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 1996, p. 18.
5 See Gönül Paçacı, Osmanlı Müziğini Okumak/Neşriyat-ı Musıkî, Istanbul: Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı, 2010 which collectively examines the musical sources printed during the period from the Ottoman era and the last quarter of the twentieth century to the Alphabet Reform and discusses this process in relation to the structure of traditional music.
6 Fot the full, simplified version of the Schedule see M. Nazmi Özalp, Türk Musikisi Tarihi: Derleme, Ankara: TRT Müzik Dairesi Başkanlığı, 1986, pp. 81-82.
7 Yılmaz Öztuna, Büyük Türk Musikisi Ansiklopedisi, Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı, 1990, vol. 2, p. 451.
8 Mehmet İzzet et. al. Daruşşafaka - Türkiye’de İlk Halk Mektebi, Istanbul: Evkaf-ı İslamiye Matbaası, 1927, p. 77.
9 Osman N. Ergin, Türk Maarif Tarihi, Istanbul: Eser Neşriyat, 1977, vol. 4, p.1553.
10 Gönül Paçacı, “Kuruluşunun 77. Yılında Darü’l-Elhan ve Türk Musıkisinin Gelişimi I-II”, TT, 1994, no. 121 (1994), pp. 48-55; no. 122, pp. 17-23.
11 “Darülelhan’ın Tarihçesi”, Âlem-i Mûsikî, 1335 (1919), no. 4; “Darülelhan Meselesi”, 1335 (1919), no. 5.
12 Safvet Arifî, “Musıkî ve Hayat”, Millî Mecmua,10 Nisan 1340, pp. 182-183.
13 Also, the Board of Education sent a notification within the same year and made an investigation regarding which composition was better. See, Muhittin Nalbantoğlu, İstiklal Marşımızın Tarihi, Istanbul: Cem Yayınevi, 1964, p. 148.
14 The sheet notes published by “Kağıtçılık ve Matbaacılık Osmanlı Ananim Şirketi” (The Ottoman Corporation of Stationary and Printery)
15 Hâkimiyet-i Milliye, 6 Mart 1924.
16 Ziya Gökalp, Türkçülüğün Esasları, Ankara: İstihbarat Matbaası, 1339 (1920), p. 30.
17 For the article, which analyses this process through state institutions, see Füsun Üstel, “1920’li ve 30’lu Yıllarda ‘Milli Musiki’ ve ‘Musiki İnkilabı’”, Defter, 1994, no. 22, pp. 41- 53.
18 Gökalp, Türkçülüğün Esasları, p. 131
19 For the facsimile of these cards see, Dârülelhan Mecmuası, February 1, 1340, no. 1, pp. 40- 41.
20 In the compilation that is going to be published under the title of Darülelhan Külliyatı Anadolu Halk Şarkıları, is included an important preface of Rauf Yekta Bey, who participated in the first journey. This first fascicle was republished in Latin alphabet by Istanbul Conservatory.
21 For the complete version of correspondence see, Ergin, Maarif Tarihi, vol. 4, p. 1586. Also for another detailed work that discusses the prohibition of Turkish music education in Darülelhan see, Gönül Paçacı, “Müzikte Yasak Olur mu?”, Mete Tunçay’a Armağan, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2007, pp. 651-661.
22 Cevdet Kozanoğlu, Radyo Hatıralarım, Ankara: TRT Müzik Dairesi, 1988, p. 33.
23 The book, which is named Atatürk Devrimleri ve İdeolojisinin Türk Müzik Kültürüne Doğrudan ve Dolaylı Etkileri and which discusses this event and the chances in Turkish music in detail, is composed of the lectures made in a meeting in Boğaziçi University, in 1978. For the chronology made up of various institutions, publications and documents see, Gültekin Oransay, Atatürk ve Küğ, İzmir: Küğ Yayınları, 1985.
24 Muallim Kâzım, Musıkî Nazariyatı, Istanbul: no date, p. 1339.
25 Halil Bediî, İlk Mekteblerde Gınânın Usûl-i Tedrisi, Istanbul: Milli Matbaa, 1927.
26 Mehmed Ali Feridun, İlk Musıkî Kitabı, Istanbul: Şirket-ii Mürettebiye Matbaası,1927.
27 The serial written by Şinasi Akbatu under the title of “60 Yıl Önce İstanbul’da İncesaz Takımları” was published in the journal of Son Havadis for fifteen days, starting from March 20, 1961. For a compilation that contains all of the articles see, Burak Çetintaş (prepared by), Musıkişinas, no. 11 (2010), pp. 215-242.
28 Rauf Yekta, “Türkiye’de Musıkî Hareketleri”, Tiyatro ve Musıkî, no. 2 (1928), p. 2.
29 Rauf Yekta, “Türk Musıkîsi Nasıl Terakki Eder?”, Tiyatro ve Musıkî, no. 9 (1928), p. 3.
30 İstanbul Türk Ocağı Musıkî İhtifal Heyeti’nin Sahibinin Sesi Fabrikası Tarafından İmal ve İmla Edilen Plaklarına Mahsus Katalog, Istanbul: Zelliç Biraderler Matbaası,1928, pp. 1-10.
31 In the announcement entitled “Kolombiya Alaturka Plakları” that was published in Tiyatro ve Musıkî, no. 5 (1928), p. 12, it was written “it is the first time in our country that a group of 95 people performed and recorded alaturka music
32 Tiyatro ve Musıkî Haberleri”, Tiyatro ve Musıkî, 1928, no. 2 (1928), p. 6.
33 “Ulu Önderimizin Yeni Bir İşareti: Şarkı Gazel Devrinin Sonu”, Müzik ve Sanat Hareketleri, 2. Teşrin 1934.
34 As a publication that discusses the efforts of infusing Republican principles into the public through radio broadcasts see, Uygur Kocabaşoğlu, Şirket Telsizinden Devlet Radyosuna, Ankara: Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakakültesi Yayınları, 1980.
35 Uygur Kocabaşoğlu, “Radyo”, CDTA, vol. 10, p. 2732.
36 Gültekin Oransay, “Cumhuriyet’in İlk Elli Yılında Geleneksel Sanat Musıkîmiz”, 50.Yıl, Ankara: Ankara Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi, 1973, p. 227. However, this article of Oransay, in which he discusses Turkish traditional music in terms of branches, repertoire, technical qualities, organization, its relations with the surrounding music and publications, was left half-finished. Two years after this publication, the establishment of Turkish Music Conservatory (Today’s İTÜ TMDK) and Istanbul State Classical Turkish Music Chorus paved way for the institutionalization in music on state level.
37 “Osmanlı Musikisi”, Hafta, no. 34 (1935), p. 4.
38 H. Nuri Tongur (prepared by), Kuruluşunun 50. Yılında İstanbul Belediye Konservatuarı, Istanbul: Orkestra Dergisi Yayınları, 1976, p. 57.
39 Hikmet Feridun Es, Yedigün, 4 May 1981.