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Turkish folk music: Wikis


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Music of Turkey
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General Topics
Ottoman military bands • Whirling Dervishes • Arabesque music • European 'Turkish music' style
folk • rock • pop • classical • Alternative • Hip hop • Jazz • Military • Ottoman • Opera
Specific Forms
Ethnic music Armenian • Azeri • Bosnian • Greek • Jewish - Kurdish • Pontic • Romani • Zaza • Other immigrants and minorities
Tenth year March • Ottoman marches
Media and Performance
Music awards Kral MV • MÜ-YAP • MGD
Music charts Billboard Charts
Music festivals Music Festivals • International Music Festival • International Jazz Festival • Izmir European Jazz Festival • Aspendos festival
Music media Rolling Stone (Türkiye) • MTV (Türkiye)
National anthem Independence March
Regional Music
Local forms Aegean • Rumeli • Black Sea • Cyprus
Ottoman regional styles Adygean • Albanian • Arabic • Armenian • Balkans • Cypriot • Egyptian • Georgian • Greek • Hungarian • Kurdish • Persian • Pontic • Thracian

Turkish folk music (Türk Halk Müziği) has combined the distinct cultural values of all those civilisations which have lived in Anatolia and the Ottoman territories in Europe and Asia. It is a unique structure which includes regional differences under one umbrella, giving rise to a wealth and variety the like of which can seldom be seen anywhere else in the world.


Varieties of style, scales, and rhythm

Music accompanied by words can be classified under the following headings: Türkü (folksongs), Koşma (free-form folk songs about love or nature), Semai (folk song ın Semai poetic form), Mani (a traditional Turkish quatrain form), Destan (epic), Deyiş (speech), Uzun Hava (long melody), Bozlak (a folk song form), Ağıt (a lament), Hoyrat, Maya (a variety of Turkish folksong), Boğaz Havası (throat tune), Teke Zorlatması, Ninni (lullaby), Tekerleme (a playful form in folk narrative), etc. These are divided into free-forms or improvisations with no obligatory metrical or rhythmic form, known as "Uzun Hava", and those which have a set metrical or rhythmic structure, known as "Kırık Havalar" (broken melodies). Both can also be employed at the same time.

Music generally played without words, and dance tunes, go by the names Halay, Bengi, Karşılama, Zeybek, Horon, Bar, etc. Each region in Turkey has its own special folk dances and costumes.

Here are some of the most popular:

  • Horon (Hora) - This Black Sea dance is performed by men only, dressed in black with silver trimmings. The dancers link arms and quiver to the vibrations of the kemenche (an instrument similar to violin).
  • Kaşık Oyunu - The Spoon Dance is performed from Konya to Silifke and consists of gaily dressed male and female dancers 'clicking' out the dance rhythm with a pair of wooden spoons in each hand.
  • Kılıç Kalkan - The Sword and Shield Dance of Bursa represents the Ottoman conquest of the city. It is performed by men only, in Ottoman battle-dress, who dance to the sound of clashing swords and shields, without music.
  • Zeybek - In this Aegean dance, dancers, called "efe", symbolize courage and heroism.


Although Turkish folk music melodies possess the same note and scale modules as traditional Ottoman Classical Music, the melodies known as makam (similar to the medieval concept of mode) in Turkish folk music can be known by different names depending on the region, such as: Beşiri, Garip, Kerem, Misket, and Müstezad.

Time signatures

A wide variety of time signatures are used in Turkish folk music. In addition to simple ones such as 2/4, 4/4 and 3/4, others such as 5/8, 7/8, 9/8, 7/4, and 5/4 are common. Combinations of several basic rhythms often results in longer, complex rhythms that fit into time signatures such as 8/8, 10/8, and 12/8.


Stringed instruments

Plucked stringed instruments include the lute-like saz, bağlama, and tar, and the dulcimer-like Qanún (also sometimes hammered). Bowed stringed instruments include the kabak kemane and the kemenche.

Wind instruments

Woodwind instruments include the double-reed, shawm-like zurna, Mey(Duduk), the single reed, clarinet-like sipsi, the single-reed twin-piped çifte, the end-blown flutes kaval and ney, and the droneless bagpipe, the tulum. An old shepherd's instrument, made from an eagle's wing bone, was the çığırtma.

Percussion instruments

Percussion instruments include drums – davul and nağara – the tambourine-like tef, and the spoons-like kaşık.

Uses of music

Melodies of differing types and styles have been created by the people in various spheres and stages of life, joyful or sad, from birth to death. Minstrels, accompanying themselves on the saz, played a most important role in the development and spread of Turkish folk music.


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Turkish folk musicians (in alphabetic order)

Complete list: List of Turkish folk musicians.
  • Ali Ekber Çiçek
  • Ali Fuat Aydın
  • Arif Sağ
  • Brenna MacCrimmon
  • Cem Duruöz
  • Cengiz Özkan
  • Edip Akbayram
  • Efkan Şeşen
  • Emre Saltık
  • Erdal Erzincan
  • Erkan Oğur
  • Erol Parlak
  • Feyzullah Çınar
  • Gülcan Kaya
  • Hacı Taşan
  • Hale Gür
  • Hasret Gültekin
  • Hüseyin Turan
  • Hüseyin Yaltırık
  • İhsan Öztürk
  • İsmail Özden
  • İzzet Altınmeşe
  • Kubilay Dökmetaş
  • Mazlum Çimen
  • Mehmet Erenler
  • Mehmet Özbek
  • Melda Duygulu
  • Meryem Şenocak
  • Muharrem Temiz
  • Musa Eroğlu
  • Mustafa Özarslan
  • Muzaffer Sarısözen

Sources and external links


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