Turkish Folk Music: Türkü

Traditional Turkish music is named as “Türkü”. That word comes from “Turk”. There are 2 types of Turkish music. These are “Türkü” and “Şarkı”. Türkü refers to folk songs originated from music traditions but şarkı refers to all other types, including foreign music.

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 in Semai poetic form), Mani (a traditional Turkish quatrain form), Dastan (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 that 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, Karsilamas, Zeybek, Horon, Bar, etc. Each region in Turkey has its own special folk dances and costumes.

Plucked stringed instruments include the lute-like baglama, and cümbüş, and the dulcimer-like kanun. Bowed stringed instruments include the kabak kemane and the kemenche or Pontian Lyra.

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 include drums – davul and nağara – the tambourine-like tef, a mini drum darbuka and the spoons-like kaşık.

Turkish folk musicians:

Turkish Folk Musician Neşet Ertaş:

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