It’s said that Beethoven was inspired by Turkish Janissary band (Mehteran in Turkish) when he composed his famous Turkish march.
It is believed that individual instrumentalists may have been mentioned in the 8th century Orkhon inscriptions, the oldest written sources of the people who would eventually become the modern Turks. Such military bands as the mehters, however, were not definitively mentioned until the 13th century. It is believed that the first “mehter” was sent to Osman Gazi by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin III as a present along with a letter that salutes the newly formed state. From then on every day after the afternoon prayer; “mehter” played for the Ottoman ruler. The notion of a military marching band, such as those in use even today, began to be borrowed from the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. The sound associated with the mehterân also exercised an influence on European classical music, with composers such as Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven all writing compositions inspired by or designed to imitate the music of the mehters.
In 1826, the music of the mehters fell into disfavor following Sultan Mahmud II’s massacre of the Janissary corps, who had formed the core of the bands. Subsequent to this, in the mid and late 19th century, the genre went into decline along with the Ottoman Empire. In 1911, as the empire was beginning to collapse, the director of Istanbul’s military museum attempted a somewhat successful revival of the tradition, and by 1953—so as to celebrate the 500-year anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople to the forces of Sultan Mehmed II—the tradition had been fully restored as a band of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Today, the music of the mehters is largely ceremonial and considered by many Turks as a stirring example of heroism and a reminder of Turkey’s imperial past.
Today, Mehter Troop (Mehter Bölüğü) is a band of the Turkish Armed Forces and it performs at the Military Museum (Askeri Müze) in Istanbul.
And The Ministry of Culture Istanbul Historical Music Ensemble