2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Fine Arts

Spontini Representing the Exotic: alla turca style as signifier in Fernand Cortez
April S. Kelson♦
Dr. Jay Bulen, Faculty Mentor

By the mid-eighteenth century the accepted mode of representation of the exotic Other was through the alla turca style, which included the translation of harmonic, melodic, rhythmic and timbral characteristics of Turkish music into acceptable eighteenth-century idioms. This style acted as a signifier of the exotic Other in general, regardless of the specific racial group being represented. European experience of Turkish music had been primarily through Turkish military bands, so the alla turca style also became linked with military music. Gasparo Spontini’s opera Fernand Cortez ou la Conquete du Mexique shows both the use of the alla turca style as a signifier of exoticism, and the influence of the style in the language of military music.

Keywords: music, eighteenth-century, nineteenth-century, exoticism, opera, Gasparo Spontini, alla turca, Fernand Cortez


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 3-2
Location: OP 2113
Time: 8:45

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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