Exoticism in Music Essay

The 18th century saw major changes occur in the art realm. One of these new experiences pertained the captivation that was found in exotic cultures as well as the fascination that artists used to express this captivation in art, music, design and even in literature. During a time when Christian churches began losing their monopoly on the minds of artists as well as intellectuals, the non-Western cultures gained a new inspiration source through the introduction of alternate ways of thinking. This lead to knowledge being fostered from far-flung traditions in a bid of bringing the Western Europe out of the darkness that had consumed it and into the light that sought to bring about not only understanding but also enlightenment (Rice). Orientalism began as the scholars began not only undertaking but also encouraging the sympathetic study of these lands that were unfamiliar. This paper therefore, seeks to undertake an analysis of exoticism that is found in music, more so, in in Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, an opera with story and characters, and in his Violin Concerto No. 5, Mov. 3 and how the artists make use of this exoticism to define and characterize their characters.

For a long time, the fascination that artists had on cultures that were not related to European ones had been generalized. Some of the ripe topics that were under discussion or exploration included but was not limited to India, Egypt as well as China. However, one of the topics that richly presented not only a formidable but also a dangerously simultaneous alluring of exoticism was Turkey (Rice). Thus, the best way of invoking their music was through artists making imitations, which resulted in this being called the Janissary music. According to Rice, “Great’s sister, Princess Wilhelmina, half a century earlier (see Chapter 11), of the Turkish janissary music that had offended the ears of Frederick the Umlauf and his Viennese colleagues could not match, including a taste 5/19), endowing his score with a richness of musical ideas and techniques.” The Janissaries were not only an elite military unit in the army in Turkey but was also an accompanying band that had several percussion instruments that were unpitched, more so, drums and bells.

Significantly, this is seen more so, in the Abduction, which presents the Janissaries as being historically chosen from those Christian slaves of old. These were the same instruments that made a huge contribution to the Turkish’s unique music sound. Throughout the 18th century, many western musicians made attempts in invoking the exotic colors that the Turkish Janissary music had. Thus, they begun incorporating instruments such as cymbals, bass drum, bells, triangle among other percussion instruments. Notably, the bright thumping and jangling percussion instruments were the signature sound of the standard Viennese orchestra, which is easily a connotation of the near eastern and western audiences and a very common sound for these audiences (Rice). The most exotic measures were seen through the expression of obsessive repeated rhythms motifs, duple time, harmonic simplicity, increased tempo, general loudness as well as falling and rising thirds in rapid successions. These relate to the Mozart’s music in different ways, for instance, its time. Its themes as well as capture were similarly intriguing.

On the other hand, Mozart’s violin has a recurring solo, through which the counts helps in representing the beginning of the amemorable, stepwise descending melody in minor mode, through which each given main note is seen as alternating within its higher triplets neighbors. The result of this is a unique decorative work that is similar to that of the Turkish kind of music, which as seen is very decorated not only through its melodies but also through the use of the percussion among other musical instruments (Bellmann). All of these work hand in hand together to achieve the different musical effects that are currently seen. There is an equivalence that is seen in the Mozart’s violin arrangement that is viewed as willow to an extent. However, it is important to understand that there are no much differences that are seen between the European music and Turkish music despite each of these having and promoting a unique sense of exoticism that is seen in the way people. More so, the audience can relate to it due to the music being able to evoke memories, feelings and emotions among other things of importance.

Each of this music is seen to have certain levels of structures of exoticism. It is important to note that in Mozart’s violin number, there are employments of Turkish music style features that are highly recognizable through the level of invoked humor as well as delight (Weiss). Notably, according to Bellman, “Butthe Turk in European opera seems also to have filled the ever-present need for an “other,” an outsider with both positiveand negative qualities, which would later be filled in popularculture at large by the Gypsies.” It is significant to recognize that the European style of music to some extent utilized and incorporated the Turkish style of music. Turkish style of music has been followed by many musicians in the European nation that seek to incorporate elements that will add to their music reaching the audience and becoming exotic to them, thus, offering their audience and exotic feeling.

It is evident that music is the only other thing that can bring a sense of noble taste to the audience listening to it. Music as seen has brought for many years a certain sense of nobility as well as aristocracy through the wealth it offers (Bellmann). There are evidences of there being Turk stereotypes when it comes to the way that the Turkish style of music was subliminally conveyed to the listeners, more so, because of the way that these styles of music rose to prominence over the years. This lead to ultimately an understanding and a desire to have promiscuity in music, thus, the audience grew accustomed too.

Notably, for years, the Turkish music style had been seen as a threat to the European style of music. However, it is noticeable that the invocation that has occurred over the years of these different styles of music has led to the creation of a more unique style of music that captivates as well as has been able to become exotic to the ears of those listening (Bellmann). It is evident that the incorporation of new and unknown cultures has strengthened over the years the sound of music as well as has enabled the creation of originality.

In sum, it is evident that music has experienced a huge growth, more so, in the area of exoticism, which has been invoked by many musicians. The invocation was a result of the need to pursue and explore different cultures that was far beside the European ones, which were considered to have more exoticism, that had not been observed in the European style of music. To this effect, it is clear that this led to the European musicians seeking to explore the use of the percussions as well as the use of other instruments that were highly affiliated to the Turkish style of music. Hence, overall, it is clear that the cross pass between the Turkish style of music and the European one brought exoticism to a new level.

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Works Cited
Bellmann, The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 32-33
Rice, Music in the Eighteenth Century, 200-07
Weiss, Opera: A History in Documents Mozart, Letters to His Father, 130-34