When one thinks of the Ottoman Empire music, the first thing that comes to mind is the classical music of the Ottoman Empire. In fact this form of music is still quite popular in Modern Turkey today. It was a primitive form of a live band.
The musicians usually performed with about thirty instruments. These included the ney or the reed flute, the tambur or the long necked lute etc. Most of the Ottoman Empire Music was of a religious nature and were composed by Dervishes who belonged to the Mevlevi order.
The Ottoman music which was popular in the courts of the time had a large and complicated set of scales. These were known as "makams". There were also several other, more complicated rules of composition.
There were several notation systems which existed of the purpose of transcribing classical music. The most prominent among these was the "Hamparsum" notation. This notation was so popular that it was in use till quite recently - up until Western notations began to be used. Even today this form of Turkish classical music is taught in conservative clubs in Istanbul.
There are several specific sequences of Ottoman Empire music - Turkish classical music. There is a sequence for the fasl, a suite which is an instrumental prelude, an instrumental postlude and several other forms, most of which consisted of improvisations using the "Taksim".
Intricacies and History
Any such fully fledged "Fasl" concert was an elaborate affair and included three vocal forms and about four varied instrumental forms, plus a relatively light classical song known as the "sarki". Any strictly classical form of music though remained in the same "makam" or scale pretty much throughout its entire length and culminated in a dance tune known as the "oyun havasi".
Then came shorter classical songs of a lighter nature, which can be considered as the precursor to today's modern Turkish music. Many of these compositions date back to the thirteenth century and there are many which are much more recent; dating back just to the nineteenth century. Ottoman Empire music has a rich and varied heritage.
Naturally, the music of the Ottoman Empire was divided into genres. There were suites called the "fasil". A "Fasil" was a form which included many instruments and vocal movements. The Ottoman Empire music has given way to modern day Turkish music and its influence is still pretty evident in today's Turkish music.