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Turkish Folk Music Instruments



Baglama is the most commonly used string folk instrument in Turkey. It takes different names according to the regions and according to its size such as Baglama, Divan Sazi, Bozuk, Cogur, Kopuz Irizva, Cura, Tambura, etc.

Cura is the smallest member of the baglama family with the highest pitched sound. The member one size bigger than cura which gives a sound that is one octave lower than cura is the tambura. And the one with the deepest sound is the Divan sazi whose sound is one octave lower compared to tambura.

Baglama has three main parts called Tekne, Gogus and Sap. Tekne part is generally made from mulberry trees as well as from woods of juniper, beech, spruce or walnut. The gogus part is made from spruce and the sap section from homespun or juniper.

There are pieces called burgu (screw) at the end of the sap which is opposite to tekne part to which the strings are tied. These screws are used for tuning. There are pitches on the sap tied fith fish line. Baglama is played with a Mizrap or Tezene made from cherry wood bark or plastic and fingers are used in some regions. The later technique is called Selpe.  

Thee three string groups on baglama in groups of two or three. These string groups can be tuned in a variety of ways. For example in thetuning style called baglama Duzeni, the strings in the lower group give la, middle group strings re and upper group strings give mi notes. Besides this type of tuning there are Kara Duzen, Misket Duzeni Mustezat, Abdal Duzeni, Rast Duzeni etc. styles.





Kabak Kemane is a bowed Turkish folk instument. Shows variation according to regions and its form. It is known that instruments known as Kabak, Kemane, Iklýð, Rabab, Hegit at Hatay province, Rubaba in Southeastern Turkey, Kemancha in Azerbeijan and Gicak  or Gýjek among the central Asian Turks all come from the same origin.

Its body or the tekne part is generally made from vegetable marrow but wooden ones are also common. The sap is fromhard woods. There is a thin wooden or metal rod underneath the body which is placed on the knee and enables the instrument to move to the left and right. The bow is ade by tying horse hair on two ends of astick.







Kaval is a Turkish folk instrument of the wind type. It is populary known as the instrument of the shephards. It is also called Guval and Kuval in different regions.


The belief that the shepherd leads his sheep flock with his kaval is a wide spread belief among the people. The word kaval is probably a derivative from the word "kav" which means lollow on the inside. Its sound range is about 2.5 - 3 octaves.

It isa widely used instrument in the folk music groups of today and can be used as asolo instrument within an ensemble. Kaval preserves its sound characterisitc when played together with other instruments. As kavals are not produced to any defined standards what can be said about its dimensions has to be very general. Its lengty may vary between 30 cm and 80 cm and its diameter is approximately 1.5 cm. It has 7 melody keys on the front and one underneath. Besides these, there are also 4 other keys at the lower section.





Koltuk Davulu  is a Turkish folk drum or percussion instrument. It is placed under the arm and beaten with hands. It is longer compared to the regular drums and its diameter is smaller.








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