music in Turkey


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Surname 1
Professor’s Name:
Music in Turkey
Turkey is a country that is located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and has a
heritage of diverse people who can trace their origin from different parts of the world. This
mix of cultures has ensured that Turkey has a variety of music genres, which is a combination
traditional folk music and contemporary music. Music lovers in Turkey have now a variety of
music to listen to while learning the socio-cultural, political and economic history of the
people of Turkey.
According to one scholar, the history of Turkish music can be broadly classified into
three periods that comprise of the pre-Islamic Turkish music, the post-Islamic Turkish music
and the contemporary Turkish music. The pre-Islamic period mainly looks into the art of
music in Turkey before the acceptance of Islam as a religion by the Turks. During this period,
music was not properly developed, but the art of music was visible through the use of musical
instruments, and the military marching band, which is now the Janissary band music. The
instruments were used during festivals, religious ceremonies and in rite (Tekelioğlu 2).
A scholar goes on to say that, the style of music in Turkey changed once the people
started to accept Islam. For instance, the Makam musical style was invented during this
period. It is also during this period that a variety of musical styles started to emerge, with two
divergent new styles coming up, the Turkish folk music and the Turkish classical music.
Music related to religions was also evident with Muslims starting to form their style as non-
Surname 2
Muslims formed their style on the other hand. Music was also now being used to address
various aspects of life such as marriage, religion, war, and romance. In the present day
Turkey there is a collection of a variety of music style. With the advent of the internet and
globalization, it is now common to find western music styles in the contemporary music
industry in Turkey (Tekelioğlu 4).
Scholars have categorised Turkish music into seven main categories that include the
Turkish folk music, the Turkish classical music, the Turkish polyphonic music, the Turkish
fantasy music, religious music and the Janissary band music. The current Turkish folk music
according to some researchers is as a result of the evolution of music throughout the centuries
by the native Turkish people. The polyphonic music is a fusion of western music and Turkish
classical music. The Janissary band according to scholars is also an evolution of the
traditional marching military band to be what it is today (Bartók 7).
It is also important to note that throughout the history of Turkish music, instruments
have always played a significant role in shaping music. Both traditional and contemporary
music is always dominated by the use of instruments like Ud. The Ud is a large bodied
instrument with a short neck. The Ney is also popular and is made of river cane fitted with a
special mouthpiece and holes to produce the sound. Other important instruments include the
baglama, the darbuka, the Zuma and much more.
In conclusion, it is apparent that there so much we can learn about Turkey by getting
dip into their music. As many rightly argue that music is a reflection of society, there is truly
more fascinating history in studying the origin, music genres and music instruments used in
producing Turkish music.
Surname 3
Works Cited
Bartók, Béla. Turkish folk music from Asia Minor. Princeton University Press, 2015.
Tekelioğlu, Orhan. “Modernizing reforms and Turkish music in the 1930s.” Turkish Studies
2.1 (2001): 93-108.

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