Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song

Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song

Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song

Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song

Synopsis

This book traces the mixing of musical forms and practices in Istanbul to illuminate multiethnic music-making and its transformations across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It focuses on the Jewish religious repertoire known as the Maftirim, which developed in parallel with "secular" Ottoman court music. Through memoirs, personal interviews, and new archival sources, the book explores areas often left out of those histories of the region that focus primarily on Jewish communities in isolation, political events and actors, or nationalizing narratives. Maureen Jackson foregrounds artistic interactivity, detailing the life-stories of musicians and their musical activities. Her book amply demonstrates the integration of Jewish musicians into a larger art world and traces continuities and ruptures in a nation-building era. Among its richly researched themes, the book explores the synagogue as a multifunctional venue within broader urban space; girls, women, and gender issues in an all-male performance practice; new technologies and oral transmission; and Ottoman musical reconstructions within Jewish life and cultural politics in Turkey today.

Excerpt

In transliterating Turkish and Hebrew I have sought to make vocabulary accessible to a scholarly and general readership. I preserve original Turkish words as used by Turkish writers and speakers, unless they represent commonly understood terms in English (for example, Jewish holidays: Roº Aºana becomes Rosh Hashanah). in transliterating Hebrew I use the Library of Congress system without diacritical marks, unless a cited source utilizes an alternate transcription (for example, community spellings of the title of a Hebrew composition, name of a synagogue, or holidays). All translations of texts into English are my own, unless otherwise noted. Out of the numerous terms referring to the language of Sephardi Jews (for example, Ýspanyolca, Judezmo, Judeo-Spanish, Ladino), I have chosen to use the term Ladino for the written, spoken, or sung forms of the language.

Tangling with Musical Terminology

One of the challenges of the project is employing terms for the Ottoman music under discussion, and its Jewish or Hebrew forms. Practicing musicians, scholars, and contemporary listeners utilize a variety of terms, depending upon scholarly, political, or popular perspective. My overarching goal for choice of terminology has been to highlight the focus of the book, that is, changing musical interactivity, and to avoid cumbersome verbiage. With that in mind, I generally use the term “Ottoman music” (or “Ottoman court music”) to refer to the distinc-

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