When was the Mehter team founded in the Ottoman Empire?

Holding a unique place in the history of the Ottoman Empire, the Mehter Team is known as one of the oldest military bands in the world. The origin of Mehter is based on the Persian word “Mihter” and means “very great”, “greatest” or “leader”. The Mehter team mainly operated as the military band of the Janissaries, and over time it turned into an important institution during the Ottoman period.

If you want to learn more about the mehter, which thrilled the battlefields in the Ottoman period, keep reading our content.

When was the Mehter team founded?

While the exact founding date of the Janissary Band cannot be pinpointed precisely, its roots go back to the Orhun inscriptions. However, the more systematic organization and development of the Mehter team took place during the Ottoman Empire. Anatolian Seljuk ruler II. The foundations of Mehter were laid with the symbols that Gıyaseddin Mesud sent to Osman Gazi. During this period, musical activities were performed with military band groups called Tuğ and Küburge.

How was Mehter in the Ottoman Empire?

During the Ottoman period, the Mehter team served as the military band of the Ottoman army. The Mehter Team consists of musicians who play instruments such as zurna, kurrenay, mehter flute, drums, kudum, nefir, nakkare, bel and çevgan. The number of instruments and the arrangement of the playing musicians are arranged in a certain order. The Mehter team is led by a leader called the mehterbasi agha. Mehterbaşı ağa directed the team’s movements and determined the marches to be performed.

History of Mehter in the Ottoman Empire

What is the Mehter Order?

The concert setup of the Mehter Ensemble is shaped like a crescent moon and the instruments and voice artists are arranged in a crescent shape. At the beginning of the concert, the çevgenbasi calls the mehterbasi agha and the mehterbashi agha stands in the center of the crescent. Mehterbaşı agha is in charge of the team and gives orders to perform the songs. At the end of each song, the mehterbaşı greets the people and tells what the next song will be. At the end of the concert, the mehterbashi recites a prayer, which is called “Gülbank”. The concert ends with Gülbank and this concert is called “Nevbet Vurma”.

Was Mehter used in the conquest of Istanbul?

Yes, the Mehter team played a major role in the conquest of Istanbul. Mehmet the Conqueror conquered Istanbul with thousands of soldiers gathered before the walls, accompanied by a mehteran. The mehter’s marches increased the soldiers’ motivation and heightened enthusiasm for victory. A gigantic mehter team consisting of thousands of drums and zurnas made powerful and impressive sounds similar to thunder, which made the enemy shudder. The mehter’s enthusiastic melodies subdued the violence of war and brought great excitement to the moments of victory.

History of Mehter in the Ottoman Empire

Did Mehter Anthem Influence Western Music?

The marches of the Mehter Ensemble also influenced Western music. Particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, Western music composers were inspired by the rhythms and melodies of the Janissary Band. Famous composers such as Mozart and Bizet have composed compositions influenced by the music of the Janissary Band. Mozart composed his composition “Turkish March”, inspired by the rhythms of the Janissary Band. Bizet’s work “Ariezian” also has a structure that reflects the rhythms of the Janissary Band.

Mehter rhythms contributed to the formation of a style known as “Turkish Style” in Western music. Under the influence of the Mehter Team, he composed compositions with Western music, Turkish motifs and rhythms. Mehter rhythms were particularly influenced by the emphatic and moving rhythms of instruments such as drums and zurna, and Turkish melodies were incorporated into the melodies and rhythms of Western music.

When was Mehter closed?

History of Mehter in the Ottoman Empire

With the process of modernization of the Ottoman Empire, the Janissary Band was disbanded in 1826 with the disbandment of the Janissary Corps. In this process, in line with the Westernization efforts of the Ottoman Empire, a Western-style palace band, the Mızıka-i Hümayun, was established. However, under the influence of the Turkish movement, the Mehter Band was re-established under the name of Mehteran-ı Hakaniye during World War I on the orders of Enver Pasha.

The Janissary Band was abolished again in 1935, but was restored to the military museum in 1952.
and continues to work today. The Mehter Team performs at important events and national celebrations in Turkey.

What instruments does the Janissary Band play?

The Mehter Band plays instruments such as zurna, kurrenay, mehter flute, drum, kudum, nefir, nakkare, bel and çevgan.

What tasks did the Mehter Team perform in?

The Mehter Band played in wars, victories, culus ceremonies, birth and circumcision marriages, sword processions and other special occasions.

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