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City, Music and Place Attachment: Beloved Istanbul

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Abstract

This paper discusses the role of music in establishing and expressing place attachment based on a study of Istanbul songs in Turkish classical music, from 1700 to the present. Istanbul songs are about fortunate people who participate in a way of life made possible by the beauty of the city. The study identifies four themes: excursion, romance, persona and panegyric. In all four themes, the place or the setting is significant and essential. Music gives emotional life to the place, becomes memorable and is passed from one generation to the next, celebrating the city. What generates people's attachment are the intimate connections between particular places in the city that are maintained through the public's engagement in the activities depicted in these themes. The way of life and social conduct change through time, as the city itself changes to accommodate the masses, and yet, they retain the essences of excursion, romance, persona and panegyric told in the songs. These songs are a testimony to the exceptional quality of the public realm in Istanbul that has embraced waves of newcomers throughout history.

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