Influences | Turkish Sounds | Classical Era | Classical

In the seventeenth century, a Turkish army was driven back from the walls of Vienna. As diplomatic relations replaced hostilities, Turkish embassies in Vienna used ‘janissary’ or military bands as part of their parade and a Turkish band was presented to the Polish king by the Sultan. In the eighteenth century a fashion for Turkish sounds such as shawms, bass drums, jingles, cymbals and bells developed as admiration for the troops grew in military circles.

As the orchestral bass drum is descended from the Turkish military daval, it is not surprising that when Mozart wanted to create the right exotic effect in his Die Entführung aus dem Serail he wrote a part for it. Other effects which composers called on included the triangle, in attempting imitation of the jingles used by the janissary armies. Special effects in fortepianos allowed jingles to be played in alla turca piano music, such as the finale of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in A K331. A Turkish march can even be found in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (1823).

Influences | Beethoven’s Music | Early Romantic | Classical


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