Greek Orthodox Music in Ottoman Istanbul

Nation and Community in the Era of Reform

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Merih Erol
Ethnomusicology Multimedia
  • Bloomington, IN: 
    Indiana University Press
    , November
     288 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


During the late Ottoman period (1856–1922), a time of contestation about imperial policy toward minority groups, music helped the Ottoman Greeks in Istanbul define themselves as a distinct cultural group. A part of the largest non-Muslim minority within a multi-ethnic and multi-religious empire, the Greek Orthodox educated elite engaged in heated discussions about their cultural identity, Byzantine heritage, and prospects for the future, at the heart of which were debates about the place of traditional liturgical music in a community that was confronting modernity and westernization. Merih Erol draws on archival evidence from ecclesiastical and lay sources dealing with understandings of Byzantine music and history, forms of religious chanting, the life stories of individual cantors, and other popular and scholarly sources of the period. Audio examples keyed to the text are available online.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Merih Erol is senior fellow at Koç University’sResearch Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Istanbul.In 2014, she was Onassis Foundation Visiting Faculty in the Department of History at Boaziçi University, Istanbul. Previously, she was a visiting scholar at Harvard and Princeton Universities, the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, and the Center for Advanced Study, Sofia.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.