Folk music is the verbal or non-verbal melodies which express the feelings, thoughts, and delights of the public and reflect the culture of their society. This music type is produced, sung, and played by the residents of a locale; and kept alive auricularly and then becomes the common product of that local people. Generally the names of the composers who compose this music that reflects local cultural characteristics are indefinite. In short this music type is anonymous and folkloric.
Turkish Folk Music is divided into two in terms of the melody structure as uzun hava (long tunes) and kirik hava (fractured tunes). Sometimes both types are used together. Kirik hava; is the form of melodies in a certain meter and which progress within this meter in a certain style. Kirik hava is named in different forms according to various factors such as verbalism and singing style; these are: ''zeybek'', ''bengi'', ''guvende'', ''bar'', ''horon''. Uzun hava is the certain forms of melodies within a certain meter and sung by free dialect within this meter. While it is mostly sung by a soloist, there are accompanied singings in such kind of melodies as ''gurbet havasi'' (homesick melody). Uzun hava is also divided into different forms and styles such as ''maya'', ''hoyrat'' ''bozlak'', ''gurbet havasi', ''divan'', ''yol havasi'' in terms of singing style and according to the local characteristics.
Turkish Folk Music melodies are also divided as non-verbal (instrumental) and verbal. Non-verbal melodies are the kirik hava or uzun hava which is played by one or more certain instruments without any verbal expression. Dance havalari, pesrevler, gures (wrestling) havalari, and uzun hava ayaklari (guiding melodies) are among the examples of this type. Verbal melodies whether accompanied by instrument or not, are the song form of folk poems. Among the verbal folk melodies the most frequent ones are Turku (Folk song), Kosma, Semâî, Varsagi, Mâni, Destan (epic), Deyis, Uzun Hava, Bozlak, Agit (lament), Hoyrat, Maya, Bogaz (Throat) Havasi, Teke Zortlatmasi, Ninni (lullaby), Tekerleme, etc.
Folk song is the foundation of folk music. “Turku” which means poem expressed in Turkish language is assumed to be articulated from "Turkî" word. That means, the word "Turk" is formed by adding Arabian "î" suffix. This word which means "Unique to Turks" transformed to "Turku" by the society in time.
The difference of Turku from the other types of Folk poems is the melody. When a poem is sung with a melody, it becomes a Turku. Therefore, nearly all folk poems which are sung with a melody among the society are accepted as turku. This makes it us harder to differentiate turku from the other types or to define a certain type of turku exactly.
The word Turku was firstly used in XV. century for the products which were written with aruz meter and sung with a special melody in East Turkistan. The first Anatolian examples of turku which are written by syllable meter are found in XVI. century. This product which is compatible with Turku form and named as Turku belongs to Oksuz Dede (Orphan grandfather) who was one of the folk poets of XVI. century.
Turku; are the anonymous products in verse and syllable meter form which express the feelings, happiness, sorrows, delights, homesickness, thoughts, and ideas with a melody.
The composers of Turkus which originate from an event, a desire, or an excitement are generally known at first. However in time, the real owners are forgotten, and they are expanded to different geographical places by the other generations. Turkus become anonymous in this way. Turkus which show local identities at the beginning gain national identity in time. During this expansion, the verbal expressions and melodies of them are also changed. These kinds of changes sometimes make the turku very different. Sometimes these compositions are found in another turku. The main reason for this is related to the capabilities of the individuals. Persons who are the source of these songs can be able to not only change the melodies, but also the expressions at a significant level.
Primary instrumental melodies and dance music are; Halay, Bengi, Karsilama, Zeybek, Horon, Bar etc.
While Traditional Turkish Folk Music melodies have the same voice system with Ottoman Art Music, melody types that are called as “Makam” (magam) are named differently in Folk Music for different locales. These are: Besirî, Garip, Kerem, Misket, Mustezad etc.
Rhythmical patterns in folk music are; 2/4, 4/4, 3/4 simple meter, 5/8, 7/8, 9/8, 7/4, 5/4 aksak meter (limping), and 8/8,10/8,12/8 mixed meters are used.
Our folk music has enormous richness and varieties which is rarely found in any other culture in the world. Turkish Folk Music is various and different in terms of regional characteristics. For example even solely Turkuler (Folk Songs) can be analyzed under seven regions as Istanbul and Rumelia folk songs, Aegean folk songs, Middle Anatolia folk songs, South-east Anatolia folk songs, Eastern Anatolia folk songs, Black Sea and Mediterranean folk songs. On the other hand, we should remind that there are differences even if within the same region.
“Folk ozan”, “Ashik”, and “Saz Poets” who play saz and sing songs have great contribution in formation and expansion of the songs.
Stringed-tezeneli (played with tezene or finger) instruments
1. Meydan, divan saz
2. Baglama, bozuk, tambura, cogur.
3. Cura, bulgari,
4. Tar, etc.
Stringed - instruments
1. Kopuz, iklig,
2. Kabak, Rebab (rubbaba), egit,
3. Black Sea kemencesi, Istanbul kemencesi etc.
2. Kaval (with opened mouth piece, with closed mouth piece),
3. Duduk (with opened mouth piece, with closed mouth piece),
4. Cigirtma (Ciritma)
6. Cifte, tulum-cifte.
7. Mey, balaban
1. Drum (nagara), koltuk davulu(nagara),
2. Tef, kudum (cycle),
3. Darbuka (deplike, dumbelek, dumbek, kup)
4. Zilli masa, carpara (castinet), parmak zilleri (finger chimbar), kasik (spoon) etc.