At the House of Dede Efendi

Written by Zeynep Şafak

Would you like to visit the house of the famous Turkish composer İsmail Dede Efendi, who arouses the curiosity of musical societies in 18th Centuries?

We are walking the historical streets of Sultanahmet opening onto Marmara Sea. Cankurtaran neighborhood below the Small Hagia Sophia Mosque, offers its visitors pieces of old İstanbul with its wooden houses with bay windows. Dede Efendi house immediately reveals itself with its purple-brown color. This elegant building rising over honey colored stones was restored by the Turkey Historical Houses Preservation Society (TÜRKEV) in 1984. Two storey house now serves as a museum. There are two rooms and an antechamber on the top floor, and a large saloon on the first floor. The house where Dede Efendi lived between the years 1818- 1846 is now used as a museum. In the Ottoman style foyer, paintings with paper marbling and scripts can be seen. After going up a set of stairs, we see the pavilion room, iwan and main room. Rooms are furnished reflecting Ottoman culture. Walking around the traditional musical instruments like reed flute, small double drum, tambour and lute, you can not help but wonder who was this İsmail Bey to receive the title of “Dede”(Grandfather) at such a young age. İsmail Dede Efendi was born in İstanbul on January 9th 1778. As his father earned his keep by managing a Bathhouse, he was known as Hamamizade. Famous composer was recognized with his beautiful voice while he was still a child. Following his music education, he quickly became a master chanter. Then he continued music lessons in Yenikapı Mevlevi Lodge and learnt the play the reed flute. He attracted great curiosity among İstanbul music scenes with his composition starting with the verse: “Zülfündedir Benim Baht-ı Siyahım (In your lock of hair is my dark fortune)”. Then he started participating in the flock chants in the presence of Sultan Selim the Third as a songster. But in the era of Mahmut the Second, his art career was at its prime and he was most productive. The house belonging to the famous composer born on the eve of a sacrifice holiday and passed away on the eve of another, is open for visitation on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays between the hours 10:30 and 16:30. www.turk-ev.org.tr

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Zeynep Şafak

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