In the course of the nineteenth century, music became a significant site of social and cultural identification for the educated Greek Orthodox elite in Constantinople. Through a debate on music, the meaning, limits, and historical roots of the nation and Greekness were defined and contested. This article explores the musical discourse produced by Constantinopolitan Greek Orthodox literate groups within the context of a range of broader issues such as class formation, social and national identity, the “ecumenist” politics of the Orthodox Patriarchate, and the ongoing processes of Westernization and modernization, which affected not only the Greek Orthodox but the wider Ottoman society. This was a period of rapid change in the empire especially in the spheres of the economy, administration, and law, as a result of which the administration and organization of the Rum millet were established on new principles. Based on newspapers, journals, the statutes of the voluntary musical associations, articles and treatises of musicological interest, and the printed collections of secular songs, this article demonstrates the variety and complexity of the positions and discourses of cultural identity which existed in the Greek Orthodox community of Constantinople in the second half of the nineteenth century.


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pp. 133-163
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