Mehter, The Ottoman Janissary Band

With Shamanistic roots in Central Asia, Ottoman Turks were well aware of the power of sound and visuals on human psychology. Mehter, the Janissary Band, was history’s first military band. With a predominance of drums in the background and the Turkish oboe zurna, Mehter military music is reminiscent of the bagpipe and drums of the Scottish Highlander Band. Clad in red uniforms, the Mehter Band marched into battle exhorting Ottoman troops to victory. One of the main differences between Mehter and the Highlander Band is that the “Mehteran” sing and chant to the music.

The power of audio-visuals on human behavior is well-known in the corporate world. Television stations have been banking on it for half a century. Less known is the fact that several corporations, such as WestJet, have discovered the motivational effects of ritualistic pep meetings on staff.