Tanburi Büyük Osman Bey

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Tanburi Büyük Osman Bey
Background information
Born 1816
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died 1885 (aged 69)
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Genres Ottoman classical music
Occupation(s) composer, tanburi
Instruments tanbur

Tanburi Büyük Osman Bey or Tamburi Büyük Osman Bey (1816–1885) was an Ottoman composer and Turkish tambur player. He is considered one of the most outstanding peşrev compositors in Ottoman classical music.


Tanburi Büyük Osman Bey was born in 1816 in the Tophane district of Istanbul. Most of the information we have on him originates from an oral tradition amongst his pupils and the pupils of those who knew him. His father, Zeki Mehmed Ağa as well as his grandfather Tanburi Numan Ağa were musicians of renown. At the age of eight, he was accepted to the Imperial School of Enderun, where he began his education among the foregoing masters of Turkish classical music, from whom he required a firm theoretical basis. His acquaintance with the tanbur also dates back to those years.

As his father Zeki Mehmed Ağa is said to have refused to pass on to his son his knowledge of the tambur, most of the work must have come to be incumbent on Osman Bey himself. He is also said to have participated in fasıls with prominent vocal musicians of his time such as Rifat Bey and Haşim Bey, improving mostly his vocal technique. With the death of his father, he gave up singing and concentrated solely on his instrument and took part in "incesaz fasılları" performed at the court of Sultan Abdülaziz Han. He is said to have made most of his compositions at this period. As he was enthusiastic about Mevlana Djelaleddin Rumi, he frequented many mevlevihanes, especially the Kulekapısı Mevlevihanesi on Fridays.[1]

He is also said to have had an obsessive temperament, known for attempting to beat a kanuni who played a false note while playing the transition to the final part of his uşşak peşrevi.[2]

In 1885, he succumbed to a pulmonary disorder from which he had been suffering for a long time, and is now buried in the cemetery of the Yahya Efendi Dergâhı in Istanbul. He had three sons and a daughter.


As a composer, he excelled mostly in peşrevs which make up an important part of the current repertoire. His style displays a certain minimalism, avoiding rapid changes from one uslub to the other, thus lightening the peşrev form and conferring it a balanced structure. Most of his peşrevs use devr-i kebir as their rhythmical basis and are easily distinguishable from the earlier works of his precedents. The only former peşrev composer he is said to have cherished is Gazi Giray Han, of whose "Hüzzam Peşrevi" he had much appreciation (he designated the work as "sehl-i mümtenî", meaning "a simple work done with great skill", a "piece of jewel"). After having refused for a long time to compose a peşrev in this maqam (hüzzam) for the musical rites of the Mevlevi order, he finally composed the famous hüzzam peşrevi on the instigation of the sheikh of the Galata Mevlevi Monastery Atâullah Efendi. This piece is still widely heard during Mevlevi rites.

He has bequeathed the following compositions:

Name Maqam Form Usul
Bilmem nedir ey gülizar Acembuselik Şarkı (vocal) Aksak (9/8)
Aşkın ile ey nevcivan Acemkürdi Şarkı (vocal) Düyek (8/8)
Gönül meyleyledi bir mehcemale Bayatiaraban Şarkı (vocal) Ağır aksak (9/4)
Getir saki badeyi mayei candır Hicazkâr Şarkı (vocal) Düyek (8/8)
Gül yüzünü seyredip can ile sevdim seni Hicazkâr Şarkı (vocal) Curcuna (10/16)
Şahenşehi şevketmeab Hisarbuselik Şarkı (vocal) Aksak (9/8)
Aşıkına peyvestesin Hüzzam Şarkı (vocal) Aksak (9/8)
Derunumda var türlü hicran Mahur Şarkı (vocal) Aksak (9/8)
Firkatin kâr etti cana nevcivan Mahur Şarkı (vocal) Aksak (9/8)
Gördüğüm anda seni ey nevcivan Nihavend Şarkı (vocal) Düyek (8/8)
Vadinde ey şuhı melek Nihavend Şarkı (vocal) Aksak (9/8)
Bin can ile sevdim seni, [1] Nişaburek Şarkı (vocal) Aksak (9/8)
Goncai nevhıyzveş açılmak istersek eğer Nühüft Şarkı (vocal) Aksak (9/8)
Dil sevdi sen şuhşeni Revnaknüma Şarkı (vocal) Ağır Düyek (8/4)
Ey dilberi işvenüma Tarzınevin Şarkı (vocal) Düyek (8/8)
Buselik Peşrev Buselik Peşrev (instrumental) Muhammes (32/4)
Ferahfeza Saz Semaisi, [2], [3] Ferahfeza Saz Semai (instrumental) Aksak Semai (10/8)
Hicaz Peşrev Hicaz Peşrev Devrikebir (28/4)
Hicazkâr Saz Semaisi Hicazkâr Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Hicazkâr Peşrev, [4], [5], [6] Hicazkâr Peşrev Devrikebir (28/4)
Hisarbuselik Saz Semaisi, [7], [8] Hisarbuselik Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Hüzzam Saz Semaisi Hüzzam Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Hüzzam Peşrev Hüzzam Peşrev Devrikebir (28/4)
Mahur Peşrev Mahur Peşrev Muhammes (32/4)
Mahurbuselik Peşrev Mahurbuselik Peşrev Hafif (32/2)
Maye Saz Semaisi Maye Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Maye Peşrev Maye Peşrev Devrikebir (28/4)
Nihavend Peşrev, [9], [10], [11] Nihavend Peşrev Devrikebir (28/4)
Nişaburek Peşrev Nişaburek Peşrev Hafif (32/2)
Nühüft Saz Semaisi Nühüft Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Nühüft Peşrev, [12], [13], [14] Nühüft Peşrev Devrikebir (28/4)
Rast Saz Semaisi Rast Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Revnaknüma Saz Semaisi Revnaknüma Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Revnaknüma Peşrev Revnaknüma Peşrev Hafif (32/2)
Saba Saz Semaisi, [15], [16] Saba Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Saba Peşrev, [17], [18], [19] Saba Peşrev Devrikebir (28/4)
Sabazemzeme Peşrev Sabazemzeme Peşrev Muhammes (32/4)
Segâh Peşrev Segâh Peşrev Devrikebir (28/4)
Suzidil Saz Semaisi Suzidil Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Şeddiaraban Peşrev Şeddiaraban Peşrev Hafif (32/2)
Tarzınevin Saz Semaisi Tarzınevin Saz Semai Aksak Semai (10/8)
Tarzınevin Peşrev Tarzınevin Peşrev Muhammes (32/4)
Uşşak Peşrev, [20], [21] Uşşak Peşrev Hafif (32/2)
Yegâh Peşrev, [22], [23] Yegâh Peşrev Muhammes (32/4)


Sources consulted
  1. ^ ÖZALP, Nazmi, Türk Mûsikîsi Tarihi, Milli Eğitim Basımevi (MEB), Ankara : 2000 (2 volumes). [tr. History of Turkish Music by the Turkish Ministry of Education]
  2. ^ ÖZALP, Nazmi, Türk Mûsikîsi Tarihi, Milli Eğitim Basımevi (MEB), Ankara : 2000 (2 volumes). [tr. History of Turkish Music by the Turkish Ministry of Education]