Folk Music

     A Turkish folk song, called Türkü, is microtonal, but does not always use a specific makam.  The scale is generally between 4 and 15 tones.  Rhythmically complex mixed meters are common. Türkü are played at weddings, funerals and special festivals. Tavir is a term to describe different regional instrumental styles, and Agiz describes different regional vocal styles.  Melodically, ayak is the folk analogue of the makam, except that they have less formal rules regarding melodic development. These folk modes include Kerem ayagi, Garip ayagi, Müstezat ayagi, Besiri ayagi etc.

Major forms of Turkish Folk Music (Türk Halk Müziği): 

Uzun Hava ("long air") – un-metered laments/ballads, no regular rhythm, based on traditional patterns
      - Hoyrat - quatrains often contain allusions and plays on words
      - Maya - very common, sung in free form after an instrumental introduction, which may be rhythmic.  Repeating instrumental break between verses
      - Bozlak - a musical crying out, often sung by Aşık bards
      - Divan - alternate instrumental and vocal sections, Alevi worship music
      - Gurbet havası - lyrics of these songs have to do mostly with exile and longing
      - Elezber, Müztezat, Tecnis, Baraka havası  , etc

Kirik Hava ("broken air") - rhythmic (metered) pieces, with and without vocals
      - Deyiş - Alevi-Bektasi song based on Aşık poetry
      - Nefes - Alevi Bektasi songs, musical ilahîs (hymns) with either mystical or social content.
      - Ilahî - Sufi songs/hymns (see Religious Music)

Oyun Havası   (“dance air”) – dances
      - Halay - instr. dance form from Southeast Turkey, sometimes with multiple sections increasing in tempo, usually w davul & zurna with perc.
      - Zeybek - instr. Aegean region slow dance tune, sometimes with lyrics, – 4-beat aksak usul with davul and zurna, also other strings & perc.
      - Horon (Horan, Horom) – instr. lively, fast Black Sea dance with prominent kemençe, etc
      - Horo, Hora - Thracian dance in a binary meter
      - Karşılama - instr. Thracian wedding dance - 9-meter, 4-beat aksak usul, uses saz, perc.
      - Çiftetelli - from Rumeli,  Anatolia and the Balkans with a rhythmic pattern of 2/4)
      - Eke Zorlatması  - lively and quick 9/8 dance tunes of the Teke region of southwestern Turkey
      - Semah - Alevi and Bektasi dances in 9/8, generally accompanied by bağlamas of varying dimensions, played and danced during the final sections of religious gatherings known as cems
      - Bar - instr. dance tunes of Northeastern Anatolia
      - Misket – dance tunes of Central Anatolia
      - Kaşık Oyunu - dance performed with clicking spoons
      - Kılıç Kalkan - The Sword and Shield Dance of Bursa (battle dance)
      - Kasap Havası

Horon dance:

Other mixed forms include:
      - Koşma (free-form folk songs about love or nature)
      - Semai (folk song in Semai poetic form)
      - Mani (a traditional Turkish quatrain form)
      - Destan (epic poetry)
     - Boğaz Havası (throat tune)
      - Ninni (lullaby)
      - Tekerleme (a playful form in folk narrative)
      - Bengi (instrumental)
      - Köçekçe - suite of vivacious and joyful şarkıs and türküs in the same makam etc.

     Aşıks are religious Alevi bard-poets, also called ozan, accompanied by saz or bağlama. Aşıks sings deyiş (religious poems) about mystical revelations, invocations to Alevi saints and Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali.  They often use Uzun Hava and Kirik Hava forms. Aşık Veysel is probably the most famous modern Aşık.

Folk Instruments:
  • Bağlama/Saz (long neck lute)
  • Kemençe (a type of stave fiddle),
  • Percussion and wind, including the zurna (oboe), ney (flute) and davul (drum).
  • Saz orchestras
  • etc..

Part 1 - Melody and Rhythm
Part 2 - Classical Music
Part 4 - Religious and Modern Music