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[The first military band in the world !]


Since Middle Asia, the flag and janissary band of musicians had a very important place in the traditions of Turkish states. A large drum was played in front of the pavilion of Hakan who is the head of the country and thus the power of the government was announced to friends and enemies. This was called Nevbet Dogme or Nevbet Vurma. The music band that played under the flag and in front of the pavilion in order to give courage to the soldiers was named as Hakanlık Mehteri. With the strike of the janissary band of musicians, Khan would get out of his pavilion and the first steps of the war raids would start.

Janissary band of musicians which was enjoyed and developed in Ottoman times as well was not only a sign of freedom and the existance of government but also encouraged the soldiers, hit their emotions and raised the morale of the army with the tunes that they played during the attack of the enemies in the war. Besides with the magnificent noise it made, it destroyed the morale of the enemy and played an important role in defeating them.

In the square wars, even one Khan’s large drum was a janissary band on its own. The Khan’s large drum determined the attacks and stops and the janissary band that constituted of drums and horns directed the army in the war. The defeat in the war took place with the sack of the janissary band. For this reason the most vigorous wars took place around the flag and the janissary band. In times of peace, the musical side of the mehter came to front. In times of peace, the janissary band was an indication of the continuality of the Khan’s rule and state life. Apart from this, drum and janissary band also carried out duties of news and announcements of the government.

The Ottoman janissary band consisted of aerophones such as shrill pipe, pipe, kurrenay and band whistle, and membraphones or patting instruments such as large drum, drum, timbale, cymbal and stick. The number of instruments was kept equal and the factor of the band was determined on the basis of such number. The Sultan's Janissary band had nine factors. This meant that there was nine from each instrument. This number later increased up to twelve, even sixteen. Besides the Khan, the Prime Minister, Members of the cabinet and the Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs also had janissary bands and they worked in various counties and fortresses of the country. The influential power of the janissary band was also assessed by the Europeans and Military Music groups, “Bands” were established in various European countries by taking the janissary band as an example. In those bands, some instruments like bell and drums were also taken and used. The important composers of Europe made compositions influenced by janissary band music and these compositions made a new king of music type to be born in 18th century Europe. This music type was called a la turca. Many worldwide famous artists among which were the great composers of Classical Western Music like Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven gave place to the magnificent rhythms and melodies of janissary bands in their works. It is known that the instruments and melodies that take place in the last parts of the famous 9th Symphony and Turkish march are adopted from janissary band music. Inspired by Turkish epic, tales, stories; operas, operets and ballets were written and symphonic works were composed. The famous “..” and “Zaide” operas of Mozart; and again “Palace ..” ballet that takes place in Topkapi Palace with Kanuni Sultan Suleyman as the hero, the four operas of Rossini are of important examples.

One of the good opportunities in European capitals to introduce the clothing and music of Turks was the entrance of the newly appointed Turkish embassy to the city accompanied by janissary band music or the acceptance to the king’s palace. This magnificent parade left traces that would last a long time on people.