Turkish Music plays an important part in traditional Turkish plays called Karagoz. Turkish music as performed in these plays has acquired a characteristic of its own ands become a musical genre peculiar to old Istanbul’s urban light Turkish music.
It is unthinkable to consider a Karagoz play in which Turkish music is not given performance. Music is these plays brings together several different genres and composition forms of Ottoman – Turkish music. Apart from the composition forms of classical Turkish music like the kâr, kârçe, murabba, beste, semai, sarki and vocal and insturmantel improvisations known as the gazel and taksim, other genres like the köçekçes, tavsancas and dance music pieces of urban light Turkish music, Thracian (Rumeli) Anatolian folk songs, songs whose texts are based on Arabic and Judeo-Spanish, the language of the Ottoman Jews, Gipsy songs, Greek and Armenian songs, waltz, polka and opera arias were also given performance in the in the Ottoman shadow plays. The variety of subjects of the plays caused the musical repertoire to expend in the course of time. The notated repertoire of Turkish music consits of compositions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, the presence of other songs, though not great in number, which were composed in the preceding centuries, and also the Western melodies, are indications of the fact that the reportiore Karagoz music was not unchangeably established but one which seeked conformity to changes both in the sphere of music and in social life. Recently there have been composers who wrote Turkish music exclusively for Karagoz performance.
Musical instruments used in shadow plays may be divided into two groups: the ones which appear on the curtain and those used behind the curtain. The spectators see the rular folk music instruments on the curtain while they hear the performance of those used in classical and urban music
The cultures of religions and ethnic communities in the Ottoman society have been represented in a most vivid manner in shadow plays. Since some of the popular songs have been identified with the social types they were designed to describe. Such songs fit the social types in term of their text and melodic character. Karagoz plays the actors who played woman’s part would sing, too, and this aspect of karagoz performance has also been represend. On the other hand, rular folk melodies performed in Karagoz plays reflect the provincial cultures of the Empire. A man from Harput, for instance, sings local folk songs of the area, while an Albanian sings the local pieces of the Europan section of the Empire. Hence, the musical taste of the periphery is introduced to the Ottoman capital, to the central culture.
In old Istanbul, from the Sultan to the simple man in the street, from the learned to the illiterate took pleasure from this shadow play. Karagoz was a product of true urban culture. This aspect of Karagoz has clearly been reflected in its music whose repertoire extends from classical songs to light melodies and dance pieces. This amazing repertoire is a significant expression of old Istanbul’s urban music.
*Kalan Music Karagoz-hacivat CD
Some notes and midi about Turkish music of Karagoz:
Altin tasta gul kuruttum