Turkish Music and Music in Turkey

What kind of music is Turkish music? We run you through a brief guide to music in Turkey.

There are many types of Turkish music ranging from classical Ottoman Turkish music to contemporary Turkish music. The style of music found in turkey varies between regions with more Arabic influence in the music of Southern Turkey.

Classical Turkish Music

Turkey has a history of Troubadours who have been performing poems and music in Turkey for over a thousand years, and although they have been replaced by modern media their music is still recorded and performed. Pir Sultan Abdal from the 16th century and Yunus Emre from the 13th century are two troubadours whose music is still performed in Turkey today.

Classical Ottoman Turkish music developed under the Ottoman sultans and is distinct from western music in its use of quarter tones which are hardly perceptible to all but the trained ear. Classical Turkish music is structured on makams which are similar to scales in western music, although the use of flat notes makes the music sound dull to some. The instruments used in classical Turkish music include the darbuka of Middle Eastern drum which is played at high speed to produce a lively beat. Other instruments used in Turkish music include the ney which is a flute made from a hollow reed, and the traditional Turkish lute.

Turkish Folk Music

Local Turkish folk music is comparatively more upbeat and lively and even foreign visitors will enjoy this type of music. One genre of Turkish music is known as Turku which combines elements from both traditional Turkish music and western music and is quite popular in Turkey today.

Modern Turkish Music

Turkish music has been influenced by Western music over the past century and although not popular, types of music such as opera and orchestras have enthusiastic followings in Turkey. The Turkish government provides financial support for developing such types of music in Turkey so its survival is assured.

Undoubtedly more popular is modern Turkish pop music which has its own distinct flavour however broadly follows the trends set by pop music in the west. The stars of Turkish pop music are similar to western music stars in terms of dress, music videos and the glamorous lifestyle they lead. Also western pop music is very popular in Turkey and especially the young Turkish people are familiar with many of the American and European pop stars and listen to their music on the radio, although Turkish pop is probably more popular.