Turkish Music

Mevlevi music ayin


Mevlevi music: Ayin

Mevlevi Music ainThe Mevlevi (whirling) dervishes are well-known outside of Turkey, in spite of frequent state oppression during the 20th century. Their music consists of long, complex compositions called ayin, which is both preceded and followed by songs using lyrics by the founder and poet Jelaleddin Rumi. Internationally well-known musicians include Necdet Yasar and Kudsi Ergüner.

Roman music


Turkish Romany gypsy  Music

Ahirkapi Roman Musicians

Roman are known through Turkey for their musicianship. Their music is called fasil and is often associated with the underclass of Turkish society, though it also can be found in more respectable establishments. Many of the most popular Roma performers come from Tarlabasi Istanbul and play the klarnet and darbuka. Mustafa Kandirali is the most famous fasil musician.

Alevi music: Semah, Deyis, and Nefes


Asik Veysel

Asik Veysel

About a third of the Turkish population are Alevis, whose folk music (performed by travelling bards called asik) is well-known. These songs, which hail from the central northeastern area, are about mystical revelations, invocations to Alevi saints and Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali, whom they hold in high esteem as Shi'a Muslims. Many of these songswere written by the Seven Ulus, for example in the 15th century by Sah Hatayi, founder of the Safevi Empire, or in the 16th century by Pir Sultan Abdal, a martyr who rebelled against the Ottoman Empire. Ruhi Su, an outspoken leftwing massace, led a roots revival of asik music in the early 1970s. Many of the biggest stars of the 1990s, including Muhlis Akarsu, were killed in a fire started in 1993 by Sunni extremists. Some asiks included socio-politically active lyrics, especially Mahsuni Serif, Asik Veysel and Ali Izzet, who were well-regarded by the Turkish left. Western Anatolia is home to bozlak, a type of declamatory, partially improvised music, especially known for Neset Ertas. Around the city of Kars, asik music has a more spiritual bent, and also features ritualized insult contests.

Folk music


The folklore of Turkey is extremely diverse, consequently the music. Nevertheless, Turkish folk is dominantly marked by a single musical instrument called saz or baglama, a type of long-necked lute. Traditionally, saz is played solely by traveling musicians called Asik (see Asik tradition below). In modern times, saz orcheastras, accompanied with many other traditional instruments, keep folk music popular in Turkey. The zurna and davul duo (shawm and drum) is popular in rural areas, and play at weddings and other celebrations. Some other common instruments are elektro saz (especially around Ankara), darbuka (especially in Rumeli), and kemenche (around Black Sea).

Folk music generally accompanies folk dances, which vary significantly across regions. The diverse range of folk music and dances include çiftetelli (Thrace), zeybek (Agean), horon (Black Sea), and halay (Eastern/Southeastern Anatolia).

Asik Mahzunu Sefif

Asik Mahzuni Serif

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