La musique chez les Turcs telle que la voit les Anglais en 1824. Un court article de présentation avec une brève description des principaux instruments. Texte en Anglais.
STATE OF MUSIC AMONG THE TURKS.
It was not till the reign of Amurath, that this art was cultivated or known among the Turks. That prince having ordered a general massacre of the Persians at the taking of Bagdad, was so moved by the tender and affecting air of a Persian harper**, that he retracted his cruel order, and put a stop to the slaughter. The musician was conducted, with four of his brother minstrels, to Constantinople; and by these the harmonious art was propagated among the Turks.
Under Mahomet the Fourth it flourished; and was almost brought to its perfection, principally through the exertions of Osman Effendi, who was himself a great master of the art, and formed a number of able scholars.
The first, however, that applied notes to Turkish airs, was Prince Cantemir. His book was dedicated to Sultan Achmet II., and is become very rare.
Although the Turks highly prize this work, they seldom use or imitate it; contenting themselves to compose and execute memoriter, according to their ancient custom: so difficult, it seems, is it to reduce to a regular scale of notation the theory of Turkish music. Not that it is without system and rules, as some have too rashly advanced ; it has not only all the times and sounds of ours, but possessing quarter tones, is much richer in materials, and consequently more melodious than ours.
Niebuhr was misinformed when he said, that the Turks of rank would think themselves dishonoured by learning music. So far from this, it makes an usual part of their education. It is only in public that they disdain to sing or play.
Guer, and after him other writers, have asserted, that in the infirmary of the seraglio there is a concert of vocal and instrumental music from morning to night, for the purpose of soothing the sufferings, and exhilarating the spirits of the sick and valetudinarian. But this is absolutely false, as the Abate Toderini was assured, by a person who had been twenty years a physician of the seraglio.
The musical instruments used by the Turks are,
1. The Keman, resembling our violin.
2. The Ajakli-keman; a sort of bass viol.
3. The Sine-keman, or the viol d'amour.
4. The Rebab; a two-stringed bow-instrument, almost in the form of a sphere ; but now little used.
5. The Tambour; an eight-stringed instrument; with a long handle, on which the scale of tones is marked. It is played upon with a small flexible plate of tortoise-shell.
6. The Nei; which is a kind of flute made of cane, fhe sound of which approaches to that of the German flute, and sometimes to that of the human voice. This is the fashionable instrument among persons of rank.
7. The Ghirif; a flute of smaller size.
8. The Mescal is composed of twenty-three cane pipes of unequal length, each of which gives three different sounds from the different manner of blowing it.
9. The Santur, or psaltery, is the same with ours, and played upon in the same manner.
10. The Canun, or psaltery with catgut strings, on which the ladies of the seraglio play, with a sort of tortoise-shell instrument.
These are all chamber instruments. The following are military ones.
1. The Zurna, a sort of oboe.
2. The Kaba Zurna, a smaller species of the same.
3. The Born, a tin trumpet.
4. The Zil, a Moorish instrument. What we call the cymbal.
5. The Daul is a large kind of drum, beaten with two wooden sticks.
6. The Tombalek, a small tympanum, or drum, of which the diameter is little more than half a foot.
7. The Kios, a large copper drum, commonly carried on a camel.
8. The Triangle.
9. An instrument formed of several small bells hung on an inverted crescent, which is fixed on the top of a staff, about six feet in height.
The band of the Sultan is truly grand, composed of all the best musicians in Constantinople. They play in unison or in octaves, which practice, though hostile to harmony in the musical sense of the word, is productive of grand martial effect, and is very imposing.
**The Abate Toderini, from whose valuable work the materials for this sketch are taken, used every means to find this celebrated piece of Sach-Cule (for that is the name of this Persian Timotheus.) But it was never noted, it seems, and is only played by the greatest masters from tradition. In the Poetical Register, Vol. VIII. there is an ode by the late Eyles Irwin, on the triumph obtained by the Persian musician over the ferocity of Amurath.
extarit de The Harmonicon, a journal of music, Londres, 1824