Turkish Folk/Local Music

Turkish Folk/Local Music

Turkish Folk/Local Music are forms of music created by people settled in one particular location, played or recited with great affection, which have become the joint creation of the people of the area in question, and which have been passed down and kept alive down to the present day. Such music bears the traces of local cultures, and the names of the composers are generally unknown.

Turkish folk music has combined the distinct cultural values of all those civilisations which have lived in Anatolia and the Ottoman territories in Europe. 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. Despite that wide variety from the point of view of regional characteristics, Turkish folk music can broadly be classified into the following seven regional categories:

One must nevertheless bear in mind, of course, that there may well be important differences between cities or areas within the same region.

Varieties of Turkish Folk Music

Music accompanied by words can be classified under the following headings: Türkü (folksongs), Kosma (free-form folk songs about love or nature), Semai (folk song ýn Semai poetic form), Mani (a traditional Turkish quatrain form), Destan (epic), Deyis (speech), Uzun Hava (long melody), Bozlak (a folk song form), Aðýt (a lament), Hoyrat, Maya (a variety of Turkish folksong), Boðaz Havasý (throat tune), Teke Zorlatmasý, 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 no have a set metrical or rhythmic structure, known as ‘Kýrýk 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, Karsilama, Zeybek, Horon, Bar etc.

Turkish Folk Music Scales

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: Besiri, Garip, Kerem, Misket, Mustezad etc.

Rhythm and Beat in Folk Music

Simple beats such as 2/4, 4/4 and 3/4, irregular beats such as 5/8, 7/8, 9/8, 7/4 and 5/4, and mixed beats such as 8/8, 10/8 and 12/8 are used in folk music.

Turkish Folk Music Spheres of Use

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. Minstrel singers, accompanying themselves on the saz, played a most important role in the development and spread of Turkish folk music.

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