Folk music by anonymous composers has come down from generation to generation, in folk songs and dances. Turkish folk songs are lyrical and depict feelings and events in life including love, happiness, sorrow and sadness. Variations on any one tune can be found.

Turkish folk music, structurally speaking, falls into two categories:

"Kirik Havalar":
Are tunes composed of rhythmic and measured melodies. Generally known as "Turkuler", and dassed according to the words such as "Kosma", "Varsagi", "Mani", "Destan", "Karsilama","Semai","Divan" kalenderi".

"Uzun Havalar":
These give the impression of improvised tunes with a series of high to low notes and have no rhythm or measure.
Tunes in the Uzun Havalar group often change their names according to region. Types include Maya, Bozlak Uzunhava, Agit,Hoyrat. Kesik (Kesuk) ,Yanik.

Turkish folk songs have an average range of one-and-a-half octaves. Arrangements differ in every region. The modal structure has six outstanding modes called "ayak". These are "Kerem","Garip", "Bozlak", "Derbeder", "Mustezat' and "Misket" which vary depending on the region.
Rhythms in Turkish folk songs are not given special names as in Turkish Art Music which are two stage, seven stage, nine stage rhythms etc. Terms for Turkish folk music change with the region.

Musical Instruments
Instruments in Turkish folk music are divided into four groups in accordance with their usage and structure.

1. Plectrum Instruments:
a) Stringed instruments:
Divan Sazi, Meydan Sazi, Baglama,Tambura, Cura etc. Baglama type instruments have three strings which are tuned to la-re-sol ("Bozuk duzen" or order), la-re-mi ("Baglama duzeni" or order), la-re-fa diyez ("Misket duzeni" or order ) and la- re- fa ("Mustezat duzeni" or order).
b) Tar stringed instruments. (plucked, with a leather top)

2. Wind Instruments:
These are divided into 4 groups, dilli uflemeli, dilsiz uflemeli, kamisli uflemeli and tulumlu uflemeli. In the dilli uflemeli group wind instruments are the dilli duduk, kaval dudugu, tutek, dillice and the others. The cigirtma, made of eagle's bones is a dilsiz wind instrument. Among kamis (reed) instruments the most widespread is the zurna family .The smallest of these are the Cura zurna and zil zurna, the medium sized ones orta kaba zurna and the largest kaba zurna. The "sipsi" made from water reeds is also a wind instrument. The ney types of wind instrument are classed according to size as cura ney, orta ney and ana ney (biggest). Tulumlu (bagpipe) are classified as tulum zurna andtulum. These are in use predominantly in Thrace and the Eastern Black Sea region. There is also an instrument called the little" which is made by tying two sipsi's together. This is used in various regions throughout Anatolia.

3. Other types of stringed instruments:
Iklig ,Kemence, Kil Kopuz, Kirbiz Kabak Kemane, Nahora and Yay.

4. Percussion Instruments:
Primary among these is the drum "davul", used with drumsticks. This group includes the Tef, Darbuka, Koltuk davulu, litte Nare. Baraban, Tabla and others. Among cymbals we have the Zil, Kasik (Spoons), Zilli Masa and Calpara.

The first collection of folk music was undertaken in 1925 by the brothers, Seyfettin and Sezai Asal,who researched the subject Western Anatolia. This was later published in Istanbul by the Conservatory under the title "Tunes of our Country". A year later through the intermediary of the National Directorate of Education, melodies played in Anatolia were solicited from the people whereby close to a 100 musical scores were received by the Conservatory.
These collections can be gathered under three headings.

Dar'I-Elhan (first conservatory established in Istanbul)
In the first trip undertaken at the end of July 1928 to Adana,Gaziantep,Urfa, Nigde, Kayseri and Sivas by Yusuf Ziya Demircioglu, Rauf Yekta. Durri Turan and Ekrem Besimdag, 250 folk melodies were collected.
The second trip undertaken in July 1927 to Konya, Eregli, Karaman, Alasehir, Odemis and Manisa by Yusuf Ziya. Ekrem Besimdag, Muhittin Sadak and Ferruh Arsunar resulted in a collection of close to 250 melodies.
The third trip was made in 1928 to Inebolu,Kastamonu, Cankiri,Ankara, Eskisehir, Kutahya and Bursa by Yusuf Ziya Demircioglu, Ekrem Besim, Muhittin Sadak and Ferruh Arsunar during which more melodies were collected.
A fourth trip was made in August 1929 to Trabzon, Rize,Gumushane, Bayburt, Erzincan, Erzurum, Giresun and Sinop for further collections by Yusuf Ziya Demircioglu. Mahmut Ragip Gazimihal, Remzi and Ferruh Arsunar.

Ankara State Conservatory
From 1937 to 1957, a trip was undertaken every year to collect melodies. Ferit Alnar, Necil Kazim Akses, Ulvi Cemal Erkin,Halil Bedii Yonetken and Muzaffer Sarisozen took part in five of the trip, Halil Bedii Yonetken and Riza Yetisen carried on the work alone and some 10,000 melodies were collected, and many were recorded on wax records. These are still preserved in the archives of the Ankara State Conservatory at Hacettepe University.

Collection of the TRT
The TRT undertook trips to Kars, Erzurum, Van, Hakkari, Erzincan, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Urfa, Adana, Bitlis, Mus, Bingol and Siirt during 1961 and recorded melodies for their archives. During 1967-8 teams made recordings in Gaziantep, Burdur, Van, Erzurum, Izmir, Trabzon and Balikesir which are still used in their broadcasts. A one-month trip was also made to Erzurum and Kars, during which special attention was devoted to melodies in the asiklama, atislama and davul zurna class, and examples were recorded. The trip was undertaken by Nida Tufekci, Zihni Dercin and Muzaffer Yonden.

Another organization that has contributed to the research and collection of Turkish folk songs is tha Halkevleri (People's Centres) and their activities are worthy of interest.

Work started by Muzaffer Sarisozen at the Turkish Radio on collection, musical notation and broadcasts of Turkish folk music is still continuing. Today the TRT has a collection in excess of 3000 works.

Reference: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey 

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