From Ian Nagoski:
From the beginning of the 14th century through the following five hundred years, the Ottoman Empire spread from Anatolia north through the Balkans, east through Persia, south through Arabia and west across nearly the entire North Coast of Africa, expanding across just slightly less land than the Roman Empire at its peak. After collapsing slowly through the 19th century and early 20th century, the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 dissolved the last of the Empire and formalized the successor state of Turkey. The cultural and political fallout of five centuries of Turkish administrative and cultural domination over the Eastern Mediterranean lands will continue through generations still to come.
Coincident with the waning years of the Ottoman Empire was the birth of the sound recording industry, and thousands of recordings were made of the music of the Turks and the ethnic minorities that they governed within the Ottoman territories. Two juicy websites offer substantial collections of the sounds of the musical art of the Turks and Arabs before the radical cultural shifts of the early and mid-20th century (and two decades before the invention of the microphone!), all gratis.
Twenty-two stunning recordings made in Constantinople and Cairo ca. 1906-07 are available for download here:
Archeophone.org Collection of Turkish and Arabic Zonophone Discs
And twenty-one cylinder recordings made ca. 1900 (!) of Turkish and Arabic music are available here:
University of California, Santa Barbara Collection of Middle-Eastern Cyliders
To top it all off, there is plenty of the great master Cemil Bey to be had on the internet, but this flabbergasting fiddle performance from the 10s on YouTube is absolutely not to be missed. (I have no explaination for the groaning, atonal, gestural passages which bear stunning resemblance to “radical” developments in mid- and late-20th century jazz and Western classical music, although I’d be grateful for any information on this piece that anyone can offer.)
Tanburi Cemil Bey – Janik Nini