About the Traditional Musical Instruments of the Mehter Military Orchestra

Marina Yu. Gorbunova


The article examines the issue of typological definition and classification of the musical instruments of the Turkish
Mehter military ethnic orchestra. On the basis of a musicological and culturological analysis of the orchestra’s
instrumental make-up a general description of the instruments is given and their position in traditional Turkish culture
is determined. The results of this study reveal that the Turkish orchestra contains aerophones, membranophones and
idiophones, but does not contain chordophones. The instruments of this orchestra reflect the sounding of the natural
cosmos of the Turkic nomad: the aerophones symbolize the aerial element which he inhabits, the idiophones represent
the sun and fire, with the aid of which the nomad’s weapons are forged, while the membranophones depict water, from
which, according to the Turkish legend, music originated.

Keywords: Turkish music, Janissary orchestra, Mehter military orchestra, musical instruments, traditional culture.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17674/1997-0854.2016.1.027-032


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