Based on a larger project investigating music making as an integral part of Ottoman and Turkish social history, this article seeks to understand surviving musical resonances across ethnoreligious communities in Turkey today. It specifically explores Jewish religious music and its interconnections with a wider Ottoman-Turkish musical culture that has sustained historical traces in Turkish synagogues today. Focusing primarily on a Jewish musical form with close links to Ottoman court music, the Maftirim repertoire, the study investigates the changing urban landscape of intercommunal music making as the Ottoman Empire ended and the Turkish nation was built. Through composer biographies and ethnographic methodologies of oral history within an interdisciplinary theoretical approach, the analysis seeks to articulate the places and people circulating in a late Ottoman music world and sharing patterns of patronage, aesthetic understandings, professional specialization, and master-pupil relations. The social ethos of this art world provides the foundation for tracing Ottoman-Turkish-Jewish music making in the republic. By pursuing not only minority human and cultural losses in the twentieth century but also the musical lives of those Jews who remained in Turkey, the article elucidates continuities in Ottoman lines of transmission and interethnic music making to explain the performance of Maftirim in Istanbul today. It argues that it was through alternative patrons and civic spaces that Turkish Jewish religious musicians participated with their non-Jewish counterparts in sustaining at-risk, albeit changing, Ottoman cultural forms in the face of state and commercial cultural interests.
Maureen Jackson; Crossing Musical Worlds: Ottoman Jewry, Music Making, and the Rise of the Nation. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 December 2011; 31 (3): 569–587. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-1426746
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