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Download Turkish Music in MP3 Quality: Listen to the Melodies of the Oud and the Saz

Turkish Music: A Rich and Diverse Cultural Heritage

Turkish music is a term that encompasses a wide range of musical genres, styles, and traditions that have developed in Turkey over centuries. Turkey has a unique geographical location that connects Europe, Asia, and Africa, and has been a part of many historical empires and civilizations. As a result, Turkish music has been influenced by various cultures and regions, such as Central Asian, Persian, Arabic, Byzantine, Balkan, Gypsy, Jewish, Kurdish, Armenian, Greek, and more. Today, Turkish music reflects the diversity and dynamism of Turkey's society, as well as its creativity and innovation.

In this article, we will explore some of the main aspects of Turkish music culture, such as its classical, folk, popular, and alternative forms. We will also introduce some of the traditional instruments, composers, performers, genres, and trends that make Turkish music so rich and diverse.

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Turkish Classical Music

Turkish classical music is one of the oldest and most refined forms of Turkish music. It originated from the Ottoman court music that was systematized in the 13th century by the Seljuk Turks who migrated to Anatolia from Central Asia. Ottoman court music was influenced by Persian, Arabic, Byzantine, and other musical traditions, and reached its peak during the 16th to 18th centuries under the patronage of the sultans.

Turkish classical music is based on a complex system of modes or scales called makams, which divide an octave into 72 equal intervals. Each makam has its own melodic pattern, mood, emotion, rules, and repertoire. There are hundreds of makams in Turkish classical music, but not all of them can fit on one instrument. Therefore, each instrument is tuned according to a specific modulation or transposition. Sometimes, performers have to change the tuning while playing to switch between different makams.

Some of the traditional instruments used in Turkish classical music are:

  • The tambur (or tanbur): a long-necked plucked lute with a pear-shaped body and metal strings.

  • The ney: an end-blown flute made from a hollow reed with six finger holes.

  • The kemençe: a bowed fiddle with three or four strings held vertically on the lap.

  • The oud: a plucked short-necked lute with a round body and no frets.

  • The kanun: a plucked zither with 75 strings stretched over a trapezoidal wooden board.

The violin: a bowed string instrument with four strings Some of the famous composers and performers of Turkish classical music are:

  • Dede Efendi (1778-1846): a prolific composer who created hundreds of works in various makams and forms, such as peşrevs, saz semais, şarkıs, and ilahis.

  • Hammamizade İsmail Dede Efendi (1778-1846): a master of the ney and a composer who contributed to the development of the Ottoman classical music style.

  • Leyla Saz (1850-1936): a female composer and singer who was one of the first women to perform in public and to be recognized by the Ottoman court.

  • Münir Nurettin Selçuk (1900-1981): a singer, composer, and musicologist who modernized Turkish classical music and popularized it through radio and records.

  • Zeki Müren (1931-1996): a singer, composer, poet, and cultural icon who was known as the "Sun of Art" and the "Pasha of Turkish Music". He blended Turkish classical music with pop, rock, and folk elements.

Turkish Folk Music

Turkish folk music is another important aspect of Turkish music culture. It reflects the diversity of Anatolian people, their history, geography, languages, religions, customs, and values. Turkish folk music has been passed down from generation to generation through oral tradition, and has been influenced by various external factors, such as migrations, wars, social movements, and urbanization.

Turkish folk music has many common themes and forms, such as love, longing, sorrow, joy, heroism, satire, humor, morality, and spirituality. Some of the typical forms of Turkish folk music are:

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  • Türkü: a generic term for any folk song with lyrics.

  • Uzun hava: a long and free-form vocal improvisation that expresses deep emotions.

  • Bozlak: a type of uzun hava that is sung in a high-pitched voice with melismatic ornaments.

  • Aşık havası: a type of türkü that is sung by wandering minstrels called aşıks who accompany themselves with a long-necked lute called saz.

  • Halay: a type of dance music that is played by a group of musicians with various instruments, such as zurna (a double-reed oboe), davul (a large drum), kaval (a rim-blown flute), and bağlama (a type of saz).

Some of the popular artists and groups of Turkish folk music are:

  • Neşet Ertaş (1938-2012): a legendary aşık and saz player who was known as the "Bozkırın Tezenesi" (The Plectrum of the Steppe). He was a master of the bozlak and aşık havası styles.

  • Aşık Veysel (1894-1973): a blind aşık and saz player who was one of the most influential figures of Turkish folk music. He composed many poems and songs that expressed his love for nature, humanity, and God.

  • Selda Bağcan (1948-): a singer, songwriter, and activist who is known as the "Voice of the People". She combines Turkish folk music with psychedelic rock, funk, and electronic elements.

  • Erkan Oğur (1954-): a virtuoso musician who plays various string instruments, such as fretless guitar, kopuz, bağlama, and tanbur. He is a pioneer of the fusion of Turkish folk music with jazz, blues, and classical music.

  • Kardeş Türküler (1993-): a musical collective that performs folk songs from different regions and ethnic groups of Turkey, such as Kurdish, Armenian, Alevi, Laz, Georgian, and more. They promote cultural diversity and social justice through their music.

Turkish Popular Music

Turkish popular music is a broad category that covers various genres and styles of music that emerged in Turkey in the 20th century. Turkish popular music was influenced by western music, such as pop, rock, jazz, disco, hip hop, and more, as well as by eastern music, such as Arabic, Persian, Indian, and more. Turkish popular music also incorporated elements of Turkish classical and folk music, creating a unique and hybrid sound.

Some of the genres and trends of Turkish popular music are:

  • Arabesque: a genre that combines Arabic music with Turkish lyrics and themes. It is characterized by emotional vocals, melancholic melodies, and orchestral arrangements. It is popular among the lower-class urban population.

  • Anatolian rock: a genre that combines Turkish folk music with rock instruments and influences. It is characterized by electric guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, and sometimes traditional instruments. It is popular among the young and educated generation.

  • Pop: a genre that follows the global trends of pop music with Turkish lyrics and adaptations. It is characterized by catchy hooks, dance beats, synthesizers, and sometimes ethnic elements. It is popular among the mainstream audience.

  • Fantazi: a genre that mixes Arabesque with pop elements. It is characterized by upbeat rhythms, electronic sounds, romantic lyrics, and sometimes rap or reggae influences. It is popular among the middle-class urban population.

  • Rap: a genre that originated from the hip hop culture in the US and spread to Turkey in the late 1980s. It is characterized by spoken words over beats, samples, scratches, and sometimes live instruments. It is popular among the youth and subcultures.

Some of the successful and influential stars of Turkish popular music are:

  • Orhan Gencebay (1944-): a singer, composer, producer, and actor who is known as the "King of Arabesque". He revolutionized the genre by introducing western instruments, modern arrangements, and social themes.

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