The Two Peaks of the Same Era: Itri and Bach

They are two legends in music, who lived during the same era. Both of them are prominent composers, with one in classical western music and the other in classical Turkish music. And these are the differences between these legends…

1. While Johann Sebastian Bach had left his footsteps in religious music during the Baroque period and had served the church, his contemporary in Turkish music, Itri, had been brought up at the Yenikapı Mawlawi Lodge and was considered one of the most prominent composers of Islamic music.

2. While Bach comes from a musical family of three generations, Itri, on the other hand, does not have such a musical background. Furthermore, while Bach had married twice, there aren´t any records in relation to the marriage of Itri.

3. While so much information is known about the life of Bach, the life of Itri is quite mysterious.

4. Bach had made a living from his music, yet, there are many reports as to Itri having different occupations. While Itri was known to be a calligrapher, poet and orchardist, Bach was only a musician.

5. Both composers are considered to be the greatest masters of music within their own cultures and almost every information in relation to the life of Bach is known today. However, the information on Itri is very limited.

6. The fictional and deliberate austerity in the works of Itri and the density in the works of Bach are complete opposites of one another.

7. Both musicians have more than a thousand works. Itri´s works that have survived until today is approximately 40, while all of the works of Bach have survived.

8. Although, both musicians lived during the same period, there is an age difference of 45 years. Itri was born in 1640, while Bach was born in 1685.

9. Both of them had reached the peak in both religious and classical music. However, both of them had different styles.

10.The richness of the melodious structure of the works of Itri and his style of penetrating each mode like an embroidery can be contrasted with Bach´s approach of graceful and refined melodies. Itri, just like Bach´s approach of disclosing his perfectly lined notes and tonal discoveries at the most extreme pitch, has developed his own style as we generally see with the ability of carrying his low pitch musical notes to the most extreme levels in a masterly manner.

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Nebahat Konu Yılmaz

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