Azerbaijani folk music

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Music of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani mugam trio in XVI century miniature of Nizami Ganjavi's Khosrow and Shirin.JPG
General topics
Specific forms
Traditional music
Media and performance
Music festivals
Music media Medeniyyet TV
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem March of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani folk music (Azərbaycan Xalq Musiqisi) combines the distinct cultural values of all civilisations that have lived in Azerbaijan and the past territories in Europe and Asia.[1][2][3] After dissolution of Soviet Union, with the rising popularity of Azerbaijani pop music and mugham, Azerbaijani folk music has lost its old prestige, but singers like Zeynab Khanlarova, Sevda Alekperzadeh and Azerin made successful hit songs and became important representatives of the genre.[4][5]


Most songs recount stories of real life events and Azerbaijani folklore, or have developed through song contests between troubadour poets.[6] Corresponding to their origins, folk songs are usually played at weddings, funerals and special festivals.[7]

Regional folk music generally accompanies folk dances, which vary significantly across regions. The regional mood also affects the subject of the folk songs, e.g. folk songs from the Caspian Sea are lively in general and express the customs of the region. Songs about betrayal have an air of defiance about them instead of sadness, whereas the further south travelled in Azerbaijan the more the melodies resemble a lament.[8]

As this genre is viewed as a music of the people, musicians in socialist movements began to adapt folk music with contemporary sounds and arrangements in the form of protest music.

Traditional instruments[edit]

Stringed instruments[edit]

Plucked stringed instruments include the lute-like saz, chang, gopuz, tar and oud, originally barbat, and the dulcimer-like qanún (also sometimes hammered).[9][10] Bowed stringed instruments include the kamancha.[10][9]

Wind instruments[edit]

Azerbaijani folk musician playing balaban during Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

Woodwind instruments include the double-reed, shawm-like tutek (whistle flute), zurna, ney and balaban.[10][9]

Percussion instruments[edit]

Percussion instruments include the frame drum ghaval, the cylindrical double faced drum nagara (davul), and the gosha nagara (pair of small kettle drums) and daf (frame drum).[10][11]

Apart from percussion instruments, there is also this musical gemstone known as Gaval Dash. It makes a tambourine-like sound when it is hit in different points.[12] Among the stone books there are a big flat stone formed out of 3 supports. Suffice it to touch the object with a small stone, musical sounds come from it.[9] The Gaval Dash have been formed due the combination of unique climate, oil and gas which can be found in the region of Azerbaijan.[13]The Gaval Dash can only be found in Gobustan, Azerbaijan.[9][14]

Notable Performers[edit]





Natig Shirinov's performing at Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Azərbaycanda qədim musiqi ənənələri mövcuddur - "Deutsche Welle"". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ü.Hacıbəylinin canlı səsi". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Президент Ильхам Алиев: Азербайджанская народная музыка, искусство мугама являются вершиной мирового музыкального искусства (ФОТО)". (in Russian). Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Azerbaycan'da 'Çırpınırdı Karadeniz' şoku". (in Turkish). Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Сегодня день рождения народной артистки СССР Зейнаб Ханларовой". (in Russian). Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Broughton, Simon and Sultanova, Razia. "Bards of the Golden Road". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 2: Latin & North America, Caribbean, India, Asia and Pacific, pp 24–31. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-85828-636-5
  7. ^ "AZƏRBAYCAN MUSİQİSİ". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Folk Music: Story of a Nation". Archived from the original on August 10, 2003. Retrieved November 10, 2003. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "İlk musiqi alətlərimiz". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d "What's New in Print about Azerbaijan?". Azerbaijan International. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Azerbaijan: Ashiq bards and classical mugham musicians". Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "About Azerbaijan". Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Ecotourism: Gobustan Reserve
  14. ^ Gaval dash (Tambourine stone)