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Title: Writing music in nineteenth-century Istanbul : Ottoman Armenians and the invention of Hampartsum notation
Author: Olley, Jacob
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 9219
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis describes the invention and adoption of a new notation system, known today as ‘Hamparsum notası’ or ‘Hay ardi jaynagrut‘iwn’ (‘modern Armenian notation’), in nineteenth-century Istanbul. The first part focuses on a small group of Catholic Armenians who developed the notation system in around 1812, including the musician Hambarjum Limōnčean (1768–1839), the Mxit‘arist scholar Minas Bžškean (1777–1851), and their patrons the Tiwzean family. I argue that the notational reform was an aspect of a larger cultural and intellectual revival led by the monastery of San Lazzaro in Venice. Based on Bžškean’s treatise on music and excerpts from Limōnčean’s memoir, I show how discussions about notational reform were linked to broader concerns about the cultural and educational situation of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, drawing on a ‘connected’ historiographical model, I argue that the reform can be read as a translation of Enlightenment thought into local musical contexts, and that it should be seen in relation to the simultaneous reform of Byzantine notation by Chrysanthos of Madytos (ca. 1770–1846) and his collaborators. At the same time, I demonstrate that the reformers were deeply embedded in the urban and musical environment of Istanbul, and that the development of Hampartsum notation cannot be understood without reference to the history and practices of secular Ottoman music. In the second part of the thesis, drawing on manuscript collections of Hampartsum notation as well as theoretical treatises, Ottoman court histories and accounts by European observers, I show how shifting relations between different confessional communities led to the adoption of Hampartsum notation by Muslim musicians. Finally, I discuss polemical debates about notation in Turkish and Armenian during the late nineteenth century, showing how institutionalisation, print technology and nationalist ideologies shaped attitudes towards writing music.
Supervisor: Stokes, Martin ; Schofield, Katherine Ruth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available