Turkish Music Culture

Turkish people love music. Lyrics and tunes accompanying the music is also of upmost importance. First impressions of Turkey on a visitor makes him/her believe the artistic culture is more European than expected. Actually, oriental heritage definitely shines through the arts, culture, music, and folklore.

Much like the art, food and even the opportunities of investment in Turkey, Turkish music blends a wide range of styles and cultures, from Anatolian troubadours to tunes of arabesque music.

Turkey lies at the axis of the cultures of East, West, Mediterranean and Middle East. Anatolia’s cultural diversity is so rich that you can see cultural differences even in areas geographically quite close to each other. This colorful portrait holds just as true for Turkey’s music. Turkish music is shaped by colorful amalgamation of cultural influences ranging from Turkish folk, classical, pop and authentic military music.


A Real Cultural Treasure: Turkish Folk Music

Turkish folk music combines the distinct cultural values of all civilizations that have lived in Anatolia and the Ottoman territories over the centuries.


Classical Turkish Music

Began as the music of the Ottoman Imperial Court. Classical Turkish Music grew rich within the empire composed of a patchwork of cultures. The top composers were Greeks, Armenians, and Jews. Turkish classical music has its roots in the Persian and Arabic traditions, and finally, the music of the “Mevlevihane” being one of main sources as well. Classical Turkish music is monophonic, meaning all instruments essentially play the same tune.


Arabesque Music

Arabesque is a term created by Turkish musicologists for an Arabic style of music created in Turkey. The genre was particularly popular in Turkey in the decades from the 1960s through the 1990s. Although melodies and rhythms are mostly of Byzantine and Arabic influences, also draws ideas from other features of Balkan and Middle Eastern music and Ottoman forms of oriental music. Arabesque music’s themes tend to focus on longing, melancholy, grief, strife and love issues.


Pop Music

Took hold of Turkey in the 1950s and 1960s, much in the same era when it swept the whole Western world. But pop in Turkey took on a different method. First with the acceptance of the tango in the 1950s, and then with the re-recording of Western beloved songs using Turkish lyrics. It wasn’t long before Turkish musicians began composing their own forms of pop. A famous example would be the famously popular Turkish tune “Bir Başkadır Benim Memleketim”. This well-known song was adopted with Turkish lyrics from the melodies of a traditional jewish song “Rebe Elimelech” that originally has Hebrew lyrics.


Turkish Musical Instruments

There are many musical instruments in Turkey like:

Stringed Instruments: Saz, Bağlama, Oud, Tar

Bow Instruments: Kabak, Kemane, Kanun, Santur

Wind Instruments: Ney, Clarinet, Zurna, Kaval, Tulum, Sipsi,

Percussion: Davul, Nagara, Tef, Kasik, Kudum, Nevbe, Zil


Music Festivals

There are numerous music festivals in Turkey including Opera and Ballet Festival, much to enjoy, the Istanbul Music and Jazz Festivals.

Last Updated: 4/1/2019 4:15:54 PM