Music of Gallipoli

Perhaps more than any other art form, music can express deep feelings and emotions. In this section are a few of the widely different examples of music inspired by Gallipoli, or written at that time.  Find out about our own music project with primary schools in London here.

Folk songs

Here are four examples of songs written about the experience of Gallipoli. All four were written after the end of the Campaign, but are in the traditional folk music styles of their country.

Martin Purdy, who speaks about Gallipoli elsewhere on this website, sings about the experience of one soldier from Lancashire, and why an English oak tree grows in Turkey.

 

Scottish singer Roger Graham has composed a touching song about the soldiers who left Scotland for the Dardanelles.

 

This famous song was written in 1971 by Eric Bogle, a Scottish-born Australian. ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is known as ‘Australia’s unofficial national anthem’ so this song has become a symbol of Australia’s feelings about Gallipoli.

 

This famous Turkish song describes the tragedy of Gallipoli. The English translation of the complete song is here.  For a very different version of the song, click here. Can you recognise what the oboe is playing near the end? The song was featured in our project in Islington, London.

The music above is all folk music, from the soldiers’ viewpoints. Music is an important part of army life as well, with marching songs and bugle calls. See the list of the regiments which were at Gallipoli, so you can find out some of the regimental marches which might have been played there. Bugle calls are messages, but the Last Post has become a lament in its own right, often played at civil funerals as well. The Last Post Project has examples of the tune played on different instruments.

Composers at Gallipoli

The Gallipoli Music Memorial is exploring the work of some of the composers who were at Gallipoli, especially William Denis Browne, a friend of Rupert Brooke. In April 2015, the Turkish Embassy worked with the Gallipoli Centenary Education Project to organise a concert of British and Turkish music linked to Gallipoli. As part of this, Matthew Sandy (tenor) and Ceri Owen (piano) performed ‘The Isle of Lost Dreams‘, a poem set to music by William Denis Browne, who was killed at Gallipoli on 4th June 1915.