Zildjian’s and Turkish Cymbals Cover Image

Zildjian’lar ve Türk Zilleri
Zildjian’s and Turkish Cymbals

Author(s): Canan Aykent
Subject(s): Cultural history, Customs / Folklore, Music, Ethnohistory, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, History of Art
Published by: Uluslararası Kıbrıs Üniversitesi
Keywords: music; cymbal; alloy; handmade; Zildjian;

Summary/Abstract: Cymbal was discovered in the Bronze Age and it is among the oldest instruments. The development of metalwork in Asian geography is seen as the main source of this discovery. Chinese, Turkish and Egyptian tribes played a major role in the production and musical use of cymbals for centuries. The instrument, which was transported to other continents and countries either by means of war and invasions or trade, has undergone various changes and transformations in terms of material and shape based on the social customs and habits in history. The importance of cymbals has increased with Janissary Band in the 17th century. The copper smith of the palace, Kerope Zildjian was specialized in the making of cymbals and became a pioneer of 400 years of heritage. The knowledge of production and crafting has passed from father to son and has been kept as a secret for a long time, resulting in “Turkish cymbals” becoming legends. Mikhail Zilçan, a member of the Zildjian family, who moved to America in the beginning of the 20th century, had stayed in İstanbul, and continued to produce cymbals until 1977. After this date, his apprentices helped to sustain this heritage. The conversion of the metal into the instrument requires specific expertise at every stage, from preparation of the alloy to sealing. Nowadays, including the Zildjian Company, it is more common to use mechanical production. Handmade production is learnt through master-apprentice relationship and since all the production stages are hand-crafted, each cymbal in the end, has its own, unique timbre. In Turkey, cymbals are still crafted by hand and therefore they preserve their worldwide value. The continuation of this longlasting tradition until today is very honoring for the survival of culture and for contributing to the art of music. The article aims to introduce the Zildjian family, who are the founders of Turkish cymbals and the technical features of these cymbals. The literature review proved that the archival material of the Ottoman Empire period are still mostly unrevealed. However, the light of the acquired information, the article provides a chronological and descriptive framework on the Zildjian family and the Turkish cymbals, associated with the family name.

  • Issue Year: 26/2020
  • Issue No: 101
  • Page Range: 127-139
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Turkish