Nai Osman Dede
Nai Osman Dede was born in 1652 in Istanbul.In his youth
he became a dervish and joined the Galata Mevlevi Lodge under the sheikh
Gavsi Dede.It is unknown who taught Osman Dede to play the ney. The involvement
in Galata Mevlevi Lodge as a ney player (neyzen), and according musical
life in Istanbul helped him to become one of the best of his time. In
1680,he became the head neyzen, and in 1698,after Gavsi Dede 's passing,
the sheikh of his dergâh (dervish convent). Besides music, he was involved
with Islamic mysticism, literature and calligraphy. He died in 1730.
Nai Osman Dede is considered to be one of the most important
Turkish ney players of all time. Though it is known he developed a new
notation style and notated many works, this collection has been lost.
In addition to compositions, he wrote a music dictionary and a book about
the Prophet Mohammed.He also wrote poetry under the Nai and Osman pen
a work composed by Nai Osman Dede, is considered to be his masterwork
(he wrote both the music and lyrics). The topic of Miraciye is
Prophet Muhammed 's ascent to heaven (mirac). About half of this piece
has been lost. With its remaining 122 couplets, Miraciye is still
the longest composed piece of Turkish classical and religious music. Among
his other musical works, there are four Mevlevi rituals, a number of secular
and religious pesrevs and saz semais, and one yürük semai.
İsmail Hakkı Bey
İsmail Hakkı Bey was born in Istanbul in 1865 and died
there in 1927.As a young man, he was renowned for his beautiful voice
as he sang ezan (call to prayer) in neighborhood mosques. Noticed by an
employee of the Ottoman Palace,he was admitted to Mızıka-İ Hümâyûn.While
studying traditional Turkish music,he also took lessons in Western music
and notation.In Enderûn (the palace school),he learned the old Hamparsum
music notation system.
He was later to become the head müezzin (person who calls
Moslems to prayer) of Istanbul. After the declaration of Meşrutiyet in
1908 (forming of constitution), he formed Mûsıkî-i Osmanî Ensemble (Ottoman
Music Ensemble) and Mûsıkî-i Osmanî Mekteb (Ottoman Music School). He
was a dedicated teacher who inspired many musicians of his time and as
a result became known as Muallim (teacher).
İsmail Hakkı Bey was an important professor of music.
Prior to İsmail Hakkı Bey, traditional music education was based mainly
on memory and oral transmission of pieces, which resulted in the loss
of many compositions over the years. In his teaching, he emphasized the
meticulous writing down of notation, the preservation of old works, and
the practice of lesser-known makams (Turkish modes), many of which had
not been used regularly in hundreds of years.
He was a prolific composer with over one thousand compositions
to his credit. Among his works are operets, saz semais, peşrevs, marş
(marching tunes), religious works, zeybeks, longas, dance tunes, over
three hundred songs and many other works in other forms. Moving outside
of Turkish music, he also composed pieces with Hebrew lyrics for synagogues.
İsmail Dede Efendi
Hammâmîzâde İsmail Dede Efendi was born in Istanbul
in 1778.At the age of eight, he started studies with Mehmed Emin Efendi.He
attended rituals at Yenikapİ Mevlevi Lodge.While here, he learned to play
ney, which was soon overshadowed by his accomplishments as a composer
and singer. In 1797,he became a Mevlevi and soon after was heard by Sultan
Selim III, who called him to perform at fasıls at the Palace.With his
sheihk Ali Nutki Dede 's permission, he became a Dede in 1779.Dede Efendi
's music was well appreciated by Sultan Selim III and he often performed
his works at the palace, and became a teacher at Enderûn (the palace school).
But soon Dede Efendi experienced many tragedies, starting
with the loss of his spiritual leader Ali Nutki Dede. In 1807,Sultan Selim
III was overthrown and killed; Sultan Mustafa IV succeeded him. The new
palace introduced Western music and instruments, placing less emphasis
on traditional Turkish music. However, during this period away from the
palace, Dede Efendi composed prolifically, including many of his masterpieces.
This visionary composer did return to the palace, but the climate was
less amenable to his music, and in 1845 Dede Efendi left to Mecca for
pilgrimage. While there, he died from cholera.
Dede Efendi is considered to be the most significant
composer of Turkish music in the 19th century. He carried on his forefathers
'work, remaining true to the traditional art, while composing many new
pieces with previously unknown ornamentations. His mastery was not constrained
to a single form; religious works included ayins (rituals), ilahis and
duraks; secular works included kâr, murabba, nakış, semâi and, of course,
Prior to Dede Efendi, lyrics of most compositions belonged
to Divan poetry (Ottoman classical school of poetry). Dede Efendi also
used his own poetry, as well as folk songs, as lyrics for his pieces.
As a modal innovator, he created the Sultanî-Yegâh, Neveser, Saba-Bûselik,
Hicaz-Bûselik, and Araban-Kürdî makams. While expanding Turkish traditional
music with his secular and religious works, Dede Efendi also wrote pieces
with the influence of Western music that he heard in the Palace.
It is believed that Dilhayat Kalfa lived in 18th century
between 1710 and 1780 during the times of Sultan Selim III and that she
had a high position in the Sultan 's palace (though some research places
the year of her death at 1740). She is the first known female Turkish
composer. She was also an accomplished tanbur player and singer. She composed
over one hundred works; however, of these only twelve exist today. Her
compositions Evcara Pesrev and Evcara Sazsemaisi place her name among
the greatest of Turkish composers. Among her vocal pieces the better-known
pieces are Rast Beste (Nev-hıramım sana meyleyledi can bir, dil iki),
Mahur Beste (Ta-be-key-sînemde ca etmek cefa vü kîneye), Saba Beste (Yek-be-yek
gerçi ırmrad-ı dili takrir etdim) and Evç Beste (Çok mu figanım ol gül-i
Neyzen Salih Dede
Salih Dede was born in Istanbul around 1818 and died
in 1888.He learned ney playing from his elder brother, the famous neyzen
Sheikh Said Dede.He entered Mızıka-ı Hümâyûn as a ney player and worked
there until his retirement. Salih Dede was a member of the Mevlevi tarîkat
(brotherhood), and became neyzenbaşı (lead ney player) in several Mevlevi
lodges in Istanbul.He would himself eventually teach Hüseyin Fahreddin
Dede, another great neyzen of Turkish music history.
Salih Dede was also known as a composer and twenty of
his works are still known. He composed peşrevs, saz semais, a few songs
and one oyun havası (dance tune).
Cevdet Çağla is one of the most important Turkish music
composers of the last period. He was born in Istanbul in 1900 and died
in 1988.He was raised in a musical family, and began to play the violin
when he was seven years old. In 1916 he went to Berlin to study music
on a government scholarship. After his return to Istanbul, he was accepted
to the Music Conservatory as a violin player. During his fifteen years
of work there, he played almost in every recording produced by the Conservatory.In
1926 he worked on the very first programs of the Istanbul Radio; he later
worked in Ankara Radio, Ankara Music Association, Istanbul Radio, Baghdad
Conservatory, and the Istanbul Technical University National Conservatory
of Turkish Music as a musician, professor and administrator. Today we
have eighty-two of his compositions.
Tanburi Cemil Bey
Cemil Bey was born in Istanbul in 1873 and died there in 1916.Tanburi
Cemil Bey was an innovator; one of the most creative musicians and composers
of his time. He was an accomplished player of many instruments including
the tanbur, kemençe, lavta and violoncello. Even as a little boy, he exhibited
an incredible uniqueness and proficiency in the tanbur instrument. His
style of playing and technique would eventually become a school of Turkish
classical music. Without making any changes to the characteristics of
Turkish classical music, and remaining honest to the traditional structure
of Turkish music, he developed an advanced style which proved his virtuosity
both in improvisation and composition.
With their delicate structures, rich melodies and strong
aesthetics, these compositions and improvisations invoke a uniquely romantic
and lyric feeling that remind the listener of Cemil Bey's teacher, Tanburi
As Haci Arif Bey expanded the aesthetics of Turkish vocal
music, Tanburi Cemil Bey was a significant innovator in instrumental music,
both technically and aesthetically. His 100-recorded taksims (modal improvisations)
on the tanbur, kemençe, lavta and violoncello provide evidence of his
virtuosity and musicianship. He composed pieces in several musical forms,
including peşrevs, saz semais, dance tunes, songs and lullabies. Even
though we have only thirty-five of his compositions, his recorded legacy
of about one hundred fifty records (78 rpm discs) establish him as one
of the most influential of Turkish classical composers. Modern day musicians
continue to be influenced by these recordings, which survive in various
Gazi Giray Han
Gazi Giray Han (Khan) was born in 1554 in Bahçesaray
(Bakhchi-sarai in the Crimea). A lifelong military commander, he was twice
ruler of Crimea. He died in Akmescit 1607 on his way to a battle in Iran.
Gazi Giray Han brought new perspectives to Divan poetry.
His gazels 'topics included bravery, joy of victories, fearlessness and
pride in his people. His musical compositions were popular among Istanbul
musicians, who gave him the nickname "Tatar". His instrumental masterworks
include peşrevs and semais in the makams of Mahur, Beyatiaraban, Hüzzam
and Irak.In addition to his compositions, he was also known for his accomplished
Seyfeddin Osmanoğlu was born in Istanbul on September
21,1874 at the Beşiktaş Palace.He was a şehzade (son of a sultan) and
youngest among five sons of Sultan Aziz and Valide Sultan Gevherin. Like
many members of the Ottoman Empire's ruling family, he showed talents
in arts and started his studies in painting and music at a very early
age. He learned to play the tanbur and kemençe, and was also an accomplished
During the last days of the Ottoman Empire, Seyfeddin
Osmanoğlu became a supporter of arts. His residence was a place of meeting
for musicians. In time, he improved his own musicianship and started to
participate in sessions with his instruments and voice. At the end of
Ottoman Empire, he moved to Nice, France and died there on October 19,1926.
He is buried in Syria, next to Sultan Vahdettin.
Among his known works are six peşrevs, seven saz semais,
eight ilahis, one kâr, eight beste, one ağır semai, two şarkıs and two
tavşanca (dance) pieces.
Taksim: instrumental improvisation.
Peşrev (Peshrev): An instrumental compositional form with two to
four verses (called hane) and a recurring section (called the teslim).
Peşrevs are composed in long rhythmic cycles, including 16/4,20/4,28/4,and
32/4. Peşrev literally means prelude,and they normally occur at the
beginning of a set of classical music.
Saz Semaisi: An instrumental compositional form with four verses
(called hane and a recurring section (called the teslim .Saz semaisi are
generally in the 10/8 rhythm, and are generally played at the end of a
Fasıl: a suite of Turkish classical pieces, all written in the
same makam. A fasıl normally begins with the peşrev and ends with the
Şarkı (sharkı): song; most common secular vocal form
Ilahi: religious hymn (Mevlevi sufi order)
Nefes: religious hymn (Bektaşi sufi order)
Beste: a vocal compositional form with four verses.
Makam: the modal system of the Middle East. Makams consist of scales,
as well as rules as to the unfolding of the pitches in the scales.
Tanbur: long-necked lute, unique to Turkish classical music.
Ney: end-blown reed flute with seven holes.
Kemençe: bowed fiddle with three gut strings.
Rebab: bowed fiddle with three strings.
Producer: Ateş M.Temeltaş
One of the top 10 albums of
2002. Chris Williams, Writer, fRoots
Recorded on October 5 &6,1999 in Walnut Creek, California
Recording Engineer: Eliot Bates
Mixing & Mastering: Eliot Bates
M/iq Productions, San Francisco, California, October-November 2000
Graphic Design: Şiir Özbilge -siirozbilge.com
Cover Image: Cariye by Reyyan Somuncuoğlu (View more of her artwork at
Photography: Merih Akoğul