Going to the State Fair tomorrow? Check out the Ottoman Empire Marching Band. Here's more information, received this morning...
We cordially invite you to join us to watch The Legendary Ottoman Empire Military Marching Band on August 13th at 6:15 PM at the State Fair.
The parade begins in front of the Swine Barn at the southeast end of the Fairgrounds by Gate 6.
Attached you can find an event flyer and a map of the fairgrounds.
Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching band in the world.
Mehter music was a symbol of sovereignty and independence, and its ardent sounds instilled the soldiers with strength and courage. The rousing songs and crashing sound of the great kös drums were at the same time capable of unnerving the enemy on the brink of battle, and the mehter music composers took pains to create works that produced this effect.
The band has its own distinctive marching step, whose rhythm is that of the words, 'Gracious God is good. God is compassionate'.
When they march, the band members pause every three steps and turn to right and left in salutation, in a rhythm set by the drums, chanting 'Rahim Allah, Kerim Allah' (Merciful God, Gracious God). In former centuries the mehter band used to play even at night on the battlefield to prevent the camp guards from falling asleep.
As the Ottomans advanced westwards into Europe, many elements of mehter music influenced western composers, particularly in the 17th century. Later Mozart and Haydn composed music inspired by mehter music, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony's use of the kös, bass drum and zurna in the last movement is another striking example. Mozart, Bizet and many other composers produced 'alla Turca' pieces.
The military mehter bands symbolized the sovereignty of the Ottoman state, and their powerful stirring music had a spirit which we can still appreciate today when listening to the mehter band playing this sound out of the past.
Today, the music of the mehters is largely ceremonial and considered by many Turks as a stirring example of heroism and a reminder of Turkey's imperial past.