Turkish music is one of the world's
great undiscovered artistic treasures.
From the mystical flute music of the
dervishes through Ottoman classical court compositions, Anatolian folk tunes and the driving rhythm of
the bellydance, to the latest multi-track
techno-pop, Turkey is alive
First-time visitors to Turkey used
to marvel at the delicious
but the new surprise is the music.
Be sure to open your ears when you
go—you're in for a treat!
Turkish music is based on
quarter-tone modes or
scales which makes the music sound
strange and many notes sound
flat to Western
ears familiar with half-tone scales.
They aren't really flat, they're quarter-tones
(the tone between two half-tones).
Once you're used to them, they sound
fine, and give an entirely different
color to the music.
This perceived discord of
quarter-tones has kept many people
from appreciating Turkish music, however.
Classical Ottoman court
sound slow, ponderous and lugubrious
to me, but many kinds of Turkish
folk music (such as Türkü)
sprightly, upbeat, rhythmic and tuneful.
Music for Turkish
bellydance is upbeat
and driving by nature! More...
mournful, mystical music of the whirling
dervishes is completely
appropriate to the gravity of the
Sufi sema (religious
ceremony) at which it is performed.
Then there's Turkish popular
When I first arrived in Turkey in 1967,
most young Turks favored European and
American pop musicians (especially
the Beatles) because offerings of Turkish
pop music were few and somewhat behind
Today, the Turkish pop music industry
is rich in talent and sophistication,
with hundreds of great bands, singers,
composers and arrangers, and the music
vies in sophistication with the best
in Europe. CD shops abound
on city shopping streets and Turkish
music download services on the Internet.
Turkish pop music boasts a rich variety
of crossover sounds, blending traditional
Turkish sounds with the latest from
Europe and America. There's even Turkish
You can even go on Turkish
music tours. One such tour
is organized by Dore Stein's Tangents world
music radio program broadcast on
FM, San Francisco CA).
I can't imagine a better way
to explore the richness of Turkish
through its music. The Tangents
Turkey Music Tour led
by World Music expert Dore
Stein is unforgettable.
Dore opens doors that music-lovers
who travel on their own don't even
know are there. More...