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Traditional and Modern Music of Turkey

Traditional music made with Turkish culture-specific instruments such as oud, zither, reed flute and bagpipe is one of the cornerstones of Anatolian music culture. With the development of music and technology within time different types of Turkish music have evolved.

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Music is a form of expression that has been a part of the world for centuries. With time, creativity and way of life have grown to challenge traditional music, but there is always an interesting experience in enjoying both traditional and modern music. 

In Turkish culture, the making of music is with different instruments that have evolved with improved technology. Some of the culture-specific tools you should expect are the zed flute, bagpipe and more. 


Music from Turkey is mainly made with Turkic elements including partial influences that range from Arabic, Persian, Balkan, Ottoman and not forgetting the central Asian Folk music. The trend in music improves with its origin going back to the 1930s as westernization takes over the world. There are different genres of music played in cities and towns as a way of enjoying vibrant local music and supporting their regional music. 


Over the years, the Turkish music world has evolved thanks to the open economy and society that supports Aksu promoting pop music. In the 1990s, the development of alternative Turkish rock, hip hop, and rap, electronica and dance music transformed music in Turkey entirely. 

Traditional Turkey Music


To begin with, let's have a look at some of the exciting conventional music you should expect in Turkey. 
Filled with sputtering rhythm, Turkey's traditional music shares the country's lucrative culture expressing some of the skillful and provocative nature of the country.


Brief history


In early 1930, .Mustafa Kemal Ataturk transformed the world of music in turkey entirely, by providing a speech that led to the banning of Alaturca music. The only music that was acceptable to the public was the one following the principle of Western tonal music.

Due to this act, most of the Turkish composers were educated abroad and came back to teach classical music from the western way of writing to the playing of music. By 1924 all had changed with Orchestra giving free performances in schools specifying in music education.


The introduction of new instruments like trumpets, pianos and saxophones in the cultural centers and villages paved the way for a new era in music. By the 70s, Arabesque music dominated the area with most popular Turkish musicians adapting to this type of music. 


Folk Music


Turkish folk music is mainly a combination of district cultural values and civilizations that were in Turkey. This was one of the most popular music in the Ottoman Empire Era. The introduction of Turkish folk music to air came in 1960 with some of the names like Neset Ertas becoming even popular. 

Türkü as the folk songs is said to have originated from music traditions in Turkey.  Şarkı is the folk songs which originated from all other songs, which includes different music. This type of music is played with various instruments including cumbus, baglama, Kabak Keane and kemenche.


The regional folk music is accompanied by folk dances which vary from one region to another.  In turkey, this type of music is viewed as the music for the people. 


Kanto Music


With the massive influence of the Italian theatre and opera in Turkish culture, Kanto music came to light as one of the songs sung between acts. These are the solos or duets sung based on traditional eastern makam. They are usually performed with western instruments to spice up the experience. 


This type of music was first introduced in 1922 in musical theatres in Galata. The Kanto singers were also very proficient composers coming up with emotional and extraordinary samples of melodies. 


Presently, Kanto is labelled as anything outside the usual trend. Moreover, music played with varying instruments and free rhythmic is labelled Kanto. It is more like a forerunner in present-day pop culture. 

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Modern Music


The birth of western culture in Turkish music paved the way for the most popular styles and music like rock, jazz, roil and even tango. Presently, hip hop, heavy metal, and reggae also dominate the world of music in Turkey. 

Sezen Aksu was one of the stunning contributors to the unique Turkish pop music. In the early 50s and 60s, she was the most motivated advocate of Turkey to enter the Eurovision song contest.  Modern music in Turkey is filled with exciting rhythm and style.


Turkish Hip Hop


Turkish hip hop came from a group of a migrant worker community in Germany. The music engaged with the young generation, and by 1995 the Turkish German community came up with a hip hop crew called Cartel.


Presently, hip hop is enjoyed by the young generation widely with Saian, Hayki and salvo as some of the famous figures in this type of genre. 


Turkish rock


By the late 1960s, rock music made its way into the hearts of Turkish individuals, with Popular USA and UK bands dominating the area. This was when rock and folk came as one forming the Anatolian rock (Turkish rock). Nowadays, different groups share this type of music with the world. 


Traditional and modern music in Turkey hits the sky with the most refreshing advances over the years. Only the future will tell the changes this fantastic music will take.