The Musical-Artistic Dimension of the Mehterhane


  • PhD Student Eduard Rusu “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University Iași ROMANIA



mehterhane, music, political power, ruler, Ottoman Empire


Mehterhane represents the most important musical formation found in the royal courts of Moldova and the Wallachia, because it is the one that makes the connection – from an artistic and political point of view – between these countries and the Ottoman Empire. The context in which this musical formation comes into the possession of the Romanian rulers is related to the geopolitical context of the Romanian Countries related to the Ottoman Empire. Due to the increasing influence of the Ottomans on the Romanian Countries, they become an integral part of the empire from the Ottoman perspective. As a result, the Romanian rulers received the sultan’s reign, in exchange for a sum of money, and they invested them according to Ottoman practice, by conferring a badge, as a representation of the sultan’s political power, among which elements were the mehterhane. This formation was the one that accompanied the ruler not only in all the official public events, but also in the private ones, assuring him the necessary grandeur, being as well regarded as a bey in the political hierarchy of the Gate from this point of view. From an artistic point of view, in Moldova and the Wallachia, the mehterhane had to be heard daily at dusk (chindie) and to make the parade, called “nöbet”. The music of mehterhane was both instrumental and vocal-instrumental, while the main repertoire consisted of military marches and prayers (gülbank), sung during war, while he performed octaves, bestels and semais following the structure of “fasıl” concerts, specific to Ottoman music in general during peacetime. Due to the psychological effect exerted on the enemies on the battlefield and the moralizing effect on the Ottoman soldiers, the mehterhane was also adopted by some European armies, without reaching the expected effect, due to the mismatch with the foreign environment where it was active. The more, it starts to become well known by Western influence and its musical influences are taken over by famous composers such as Mozart.