https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beste_(Turkish_music) (CC-BY-SA):

The beste is a vocal genre in Ottoman classical music. It was a movement of the fasıl, or suite.

When did the genre appear, and when did it get its name?


The literal meaning of "Beste" in English is melody or composition.

The beste is a element of the "fasil", the music which traditionally accompanied the iftar meal with which one breaks a day’s fast during the month of Ramadan.

A historical, classical, fasil was a suite of music and verse which comprised of the following sequence:

  • taksim (an instrumental improvisation);
  • peşrev (usually of four parts, with long rhythmic patterns);
  • kar (the first piece sung after the peşrev);
  • first beste (a vocal composition consisting of four verses each followed by the same melodic passage);
  • second beste (another vocal composition consisting of four verses followed by the same melodic passage);
  • ağir semai (a rhythmic pattern of 10 beats);
  • yürük semai (a rhythmic pattern of six beats and form of vocal music sung just before the instrumental piece at the end of the fasıl); and
  • saz semaisi (the final instrumental form in four movements).

The fasil began to be set in its known form as the Ottoman Empire grew more prosperous, as music for the palace elites, drawing on older traditions:

Most of the constituent items of the fasil and the âyîn have different lineages, but during sixteenth century a degree of mutual borrowing seems to have occurred those structural features held in common by fasil and âyîn must predate the seventeenth century.

The beste itself was formed from two earlier traditions:

  • the gazel, a verse form of courtly lyrics, dating from the 7th Century
  • the murabba', a four line verse form in a clever or amusing style, dating from around the 9th Century.

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