The roots of traditional music in Turkey spans across centuries to a time when the Seljuk Turks colonized Anatolia and Persia in the 11th century and contains elements of both Turkic and pre-Turkic influences. Much of its modern popular music can trace its roots to the emergence in the early 1930s drive for Westernization.
With the absorbance of immigrants from various regions the diversity of musical genres and musical instrumentation also expanded. Turkey has also seen documented folk music and recorded popular music produced in the ethnic styles of Armenian, Greek, Polish, Azeri and Jewish communities, among others. Many Turkish cities and towns have vibrant local music scenes which, in turn, support a number of regional musical styles.
Traditional music in Turkey falls into two main genres; classical art music and folk music. Turkish classical music is characterized by an Ottoman elite culture and influenced lyrically by neighbouring regions and Ottoman provinces, such as Persian and Byzantine vocal traditions and South European cultures. Earlier forms are sometimes termed as saray music in Turkish, meaning royal court music, indicating the source of the genre comes from Ottoman royalty as patronage and composer. Neo-classical or postmodern versions of this traditional genre are termed as art music or sanat musikisi, though often it is unofficially termed as alla turca. In addition, from the saray or royal courts came the Ottoman military band, Mehter takımı in Turkish, considered to be the oldest type of military marching band in the world. It was also the forefather of modern Western percussion bands and has been described as the father of Western military music.
Turkish folk music is the music of Turkish-speaking rural communities of Anatolia, the Balkans, and Middle East. While Turkish folk music contains definitive traces of the Central Asian Turkic cultures, it has also strongly influenced and been influenced by many other indigenous cultures. Religious music in Turkey is sometimes grouped with folk music due to the tradition of the wandering minstrel or aşık (pronounced ashuk), but its influences on Sufism due to the spritiual Mevlevi sect arguably grants it special status.
It has been suggested the distinction between the two major genres comes during the Tanzîmat period of Ottoman era, when Turkish classical music was the music played in the Ottoman palaces and folk music was played in the villages. However, with the type of cultural cross-breeding the empire allowed, both genres relate to the multitudes of ethnic groups to be found in the make-up of the Ottoman Empire. In that sense they are the first examples of their kind in world music. Although Turkish classical and folk music have generally enjoyed a broad popularity regardless of subcultures, regional classical music has had lapses in prominence.
When the modern Turkish state was proclaimed in 1923, the new republic aimed at creating a nation with a distinct and unified culture. This included replacing the culture of Istanbul, which was perceived as the Ottoman elite, by the culture of rural Anatolia, which was considered Turkish. Hence, folk music was promoted, while classical music became less popular. Moreover, western classical music was introduced and encouraged in accordance with one of the most important policies of the new state, westernization of the society. By the 1960s, western popular music had been introduced to Turkey, with the name hafif-batı müziği (light-western music). At the same time, socialist movements were getting popular in accordance with the world. Musicians who were inspired by these movements started adapting folk music with contemporary sounds and arrangements, giving rise to Anatolian rock and protest music or özgün muzik (authentic music). Increasing immigration in the 1970s from southeastern rural areas to big cities in the west, and particularly to Istanbul, gave rise to a new cultural synthesis, which was regarded as a degeneration of Istanbul music by some musicologists whom favoured Ottoman classical music. Paradoxically things had come full circle; a genre that had once been thought as foreign was now viewed as Turkish or alla turca, as it was reminiscent of a time when Turks were at the height of their power in world events.
The new residents of metropolitan areas suffered from hard economical conditions and had difficulties in adapting to the big city from rural life. This newly constructed culture proceeded to generate its own music, derogatively termed by Istanbul musicologists as arabesque or arabesk, due to its high pitched wailing and exaggerated symbolisms of suffering. Arabesque was a synthesis of Turkish folk and middle-eastern music, similar to the growing left-wing subculture's own "arabesque", which was a new version of protest music fused in folk traditions. In the era influenced by the military government, arabesque and özgün genres were labeled "degenerate" and discouraged by the government, while Turkish classical music and contemporary music were promoted.
Despite this however, western-style pop music lost popularity to arabesque in the late 70s and 80s, with even its greatest proponents Ajda Pekkan and Sezen Aksu falling in status. It became popular again by the beginning of the 1990s, as a result of an opening economy and society. With the support of Aksu, the resurging popularity of pop music gave rise to several international Turkish pop stars such as Tarkan and Sertab Erener. The late 1990s also saw an emergence of underground music producing alternative Turkish rock, electronica, hip-hop, rap and dance music in opposition to the mainstream corporate pop and arabesque genres, which many believe have become too commercial.
A specific sequence of classical Turkish musical forms become a fasıl, a suite an instrumental prelude (peṣrev), an instrumental postlude (saz semaisi), and in between, the main section of vocal compositions which begins with and is punctuated by instrumental improvisations taksim. A full fasıl concert would include four different instrumental forms and three vocal forms, including a light classical song, şarkı. A strictly classical fasıl remains is the same makam throughout, from the introductory taksim and usually ending in a dance tune or oyun havası. However shorter şarkı compositions, precursors to modern day songs, are a part of this tradition, many of them extremely old, dating back to the 14th century; many are newer, with late 19th century songwriter Haci Arif Bey being especially popular.
Composers and Performers
Other famous proponents of this genre include Sufi Dede Efendi, Prince Cantemir, Baba Hamparsum, Kemani Tatyos Efendi, Sultan Selim III and Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The most popular modern Turkish classical singer is Münir Nurettin Selçuk, who was the first to establish a lead singer position. Other performers include Bülent Ersoy, Zeki Müren, Müzeyyen Senar and Zekai Tunca.
From the makams of the royal courts to the melodies of the royal harems, a type of dance music emerged that was different from the oyun havası of fasıl music. In the Ottoman Empire, the harem was that part of a house set apart for the women of the family. It was a place in which non-family males were not allowed. Eunuchs guarded the sultan's harems, which were quite large, including several hundred women who were wives and concubines. There, female dancers and musicians entertained the women living in the harem. Belly dance was performed by women for women. This female dancer, known as a rakkase, hardly ever appeared in public.
This type of harem music was taken out of the sultan's private living quarters and to the public by male street entertainers and hired dancers of the Ottoman Empire, the male rakkas. These dancers performed publicly for wedding celebrations, feasts, festivals, and in the presence of the sultans.
Modern oriental dance in Turkey is derived from this tradition of the Ottoman rakkas. Some mistakenly believe that Turkish oriental dancing is known as Çiftetelli due to the fact that this style of music has been incorporated into oriental dancing by Greeks and Romany people, illustrated by the fact that the Greek belly dance is sometimes mistakenly called Tsifteteli. However, Çiftetelli is a form of folk music of local origin, whereas rakkas, as the name suggests, is possibly of a more mideastern origin. Dancers are also known for their adept use of finger cymbals as instruments, also known as zils.
Roma are known throughout Turkey for their musicianship. Their urban music brought echoes of classical Turkish music to the public via the meyhane or taverna. This type of fasıl music (a style, not to be confused with the fasıl form of classical Turkish music) with food and alcoholic beverages is often associated with the underclass of Turkish society, though it also can be found in more respectable establishments in modern times.
Roma have also influenced the fasıl itself. Played in music halls, the dance music (oyun havası) required at the end of each fasıl has been incorporated with Ottoman rakkas or belly dancing motifs. The rhythmic ostinato accompanying the instrumental improvisation (ritimli taksim) for the bellydance parallels that of the classical gazel, a vocal improvisation in free rhythm with rhythmic accompaniment. Popular musical instruments in this kind of fasıl are the clarinet, violin, kanun, and darbuka. Clarinetist Mustafa Kandıralı is a well known fasil musician.
The Janissary bands or Mehter Takımı is considered to be the oldest type of military marching band in the world. Individual instrumentalists were mentioned in the Orhun inscriptions, which are believed to be the oldest written sources of Turkish history, dating from the 8th century. However, they were not definitively mentioned as bands until the 13th century. The rest of Europe borrowed the notion of military marching bands from Turkey from the 16th century onwards.
Musical relations between the Turks and the rest of Europe can be traced back many centuries, and the first type of musical Orientalism was the Turkish Style. European classical composers in the 18th century were fascinated by Turkish music, particularly the strong role given to the brass and percussion instruments in Janissary bands.
Joseph Haydn wrote his Military Symphony to include Turkish instruments, as well as some of his operas. Turkish instruments were also included in Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony Number 9. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote the "Ronda alla turca" in his Sonata in A major and also used Turkish themes in his operas, such as the Chorus of Janissaries from his Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782). This Turkish influence introduced the cymbals, bass drum, and bells into the symphony orchestra, where they remain. Jazz musician Dave Brubeck wrote his "Blue Rondo á la Turk" as a tribute to Mozart and Turkish music.
While the European military bands of the 18th century introduced the percussion instruments of the Ottoman janissary bands, a similar development was emerging in the opposite direction, that is the Europeanisation of the Ottoman army band, in the 19th century. It was also during this period that the famous opera composer Gaetano Donizetti's brother, Giuseppe Donizetti, was invited to become Master of Music to Sultan Mahmud II in 1827.
After the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of a Turkish republic, the transfer of the former Imperial Orchestra or Mızıka-ı Hümayun from Istanbul to the new capital of the state Ankara, and renaming it as the Orchestra of the Presidency of the Republic, Riyaset-i Cumhur Orkestrası, signalled a Westernization of Turkish music. The name would later be changed to the Presidential Symphony Orchestra or Cumhurbaşkanlığı Senfoni Orkestrası.
Further inroads came with the founding of a new school for the training of Western style music instructors in 1924, renaming the Istanbul Oriental Music School as the Istanbul Conservatory in 1926, and sending talented young musicians abroad for further music education. These students include well-known Turkish composers such as Cemal Reşit Rey, Ulvi Cemal Erkin, Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Necil Kazım Akses and Hasan Ferit Alnar, who became known as the Turkish Five. The founding of the Ankara State Conservatory with the aid of the German composer and music theorist Paul Hindemith in 1936 showed that Turkey in terms of music wanted to be like the West.
However, on the order of the founder of the republic, Atatürk, following his philosophy to take from the West but to remain Turkish in essence, a wide-scale classification and archiving of samples of Turkish folk music from around Anatolia was launched in 1924 and continued until 1953 to collect around 10,000 folk songs. Hungarian composer Béla Bartók visited Ankara and the south-eastern Turkey in 1936 within the context of these works.
By 1976, Turkish classical music had undergone a renaissance and a state musical conservatory in Istanbul was founded to give classical musicians the same support as folk musicians. Modern day advocates of Western classical music in Turkey include Fazıl Say, İdil Biret, Suna Kan and the Pekinel sisters.
Folk music or Türkü generally deals with subjects surrounding daily life in less grandiose terms than the love and emotion usually contained in its traditional counterpart, Ottoman court music.
Most songs recount stories of real life events and Turkish folklore, or have developed through song contests between troubadour poets. Corresponding to their origins, folk songs are usually played at weddings, funerals and special festivals.
Regional folk music generally accompanies folk dances, which vary significantly across regions. For example, at marriage ceremonies in the Aegean guests will dance the Zeybek, while in other Rumeli regions the upbeat dance music Çiftetelli is usually played, and in the southeastern regions of Turkey the Halay is the customary form of local wedding music and dance. Greeks from Thrace and Cyprus that have adopted çiftetelli music sometimes use it synonymously to mean oriental dance, which indicates a misunderstanding of its roots. Çiftetelli is a folk dance, differing from a solo performance dance of a hired entertainer.
The regional mood also affects the subject of the folk songs, e.g. folk songs from the Black 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 Turkey the more the melodies resemble a lament.
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.
Other contemporary progenitors took their lead such as Zülfü Livaneli, known for his mid-80s innovation of combining poet Nazim Hikmet's radical poems with folk music and rural melodies, and is well-regarded by left-wing supporters in politics.
In more recent times, saz orchestras, accompanied with many other traditional instruments and a merger with arabesque melodies have kept modern folk songs popular in Turkey.
Folk instruments range from string groups as bağlama, bow instruments such as the kemençe (a type of stave fiddle), and percussion and wind, including the zurna, ney and davul. Regional variations place importance on different instruments, e.g. the darbuka in Rumeli and the kemençe around the Lazistan region. The folklore of Turkey is extremely diverse. Nevertheless, Turkish folk music is dominantly marked by a single musical instrument called saz or bağlama, a type of long-necked lute. Traditionally, saz is played solely by traveling musicians known as ozan or religious Alevi troubadours called aşık.
Due to the cultural crossbreeding prevalent during the Ottoman Empire, the bağlama has influenced various cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean, e.g. the Greek baglamas. In Turkish baglamak means 'to tie' as a reference to the strings of the instrument. Like most stringed instruments, it can either be played with a plectrum (i.e., pick), or with a fingerpicking style. The zurna and davul duo is also popular in rural areas, and are played at weddings and other local celebrations.
A large body of folk songs are derived from minstrels or bard-poets called ozan in Turkish. They have been developing Turkish folk literature since the beginning of 11th century. The musical instrument used by these bard-poets is the saz or baglama. They are often taught by other senior mistrels, learning expert idioms and procedure and methods about the performance of the art. These lessons often take place at minstrel meetings and coffeehouses frequented by them. Those bard-poets who become experts or alaylı then take apprentices for themselves and continue the tradition.
A minstrel's creative output usually takes two major forms. One, in musical rhyming contests with other bards, where the quarrel ends with the defeat of the minstrel who cannot find an appropriate quatrain to the rhyme and two, story telling. These folk stories are extracted from real life, fokelore, dreams and legends. One of the most well-known followings are those bards that put the title aşık in front of their names.
"Mosque music," a term for music associated with mainstream religion in Turkey, includes ezan (call-to-prayer), Kur'an-ı Kerim (Koran recitation), Mevlit (Ascension Poem), and ilahi (hymns usually sung in a group, often outside a mosque). On musical grounds, mosque music in large urban areas often resembles classical Turkish music in its learned use of makam and poetry, e.g., a Mevlit sung at Sultan Ahmet mosque in Istanbul. Dervish/Sufi music is rarely associated with a mosque. Kâni Karaca was a leading performer of mosque music in recent times.
It is suggested that about a third of the Turkish population are Alevis, whose folk music is performed by a type of travelling bard or ozan called aşık, who travels with the saz or baglama, an iconic image of Turkish folk music. These songs, which hail from the central northeastern area, are about mystical revelations, invocations to Alevi saints and Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali, whom they hold in high esteem. In Turkish aşık literally means 'in love'. Whoever follows this tradition has the Aşık assignation put before their names, because it is suggested that music becomes an essential facet of their being, for example as in Aşık Veysel.
Middle Anatolia is home to the bozlak, a type of declamatory, partially improvised music by the bards. Neşet Ertaş has so far been the most prominent contemporary voice of Middle Anatolian music, singing songs of a large spectrum, including works of premodern Turkoman aşıks like Karacaoğlan and Dadaloğlu and the modern aşıks like his father, the late Muharrem Ertaş. Around the city of Sivas, aşık music has a more spiritual bent, afeaturing ritualized song contests, although modern bards have brought it into the political arena.
Sufi influences: The Mevlevi traditions
Followers of the Mevlevi Order or whirling dervishes are a religious sufi sect unique to Turkey but well-known outside of its boundaries. They are not to be confused with other dervish sects that carry out self-mutilation in certain areas of Iran and Pakistan.
Dervishes of the Mevlevi sect simply dance a sema by turning continuously to music that consists of long, complex compositions called ayin. These pieces are both preceded and followed by songs using lyrics by the founder and poet Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi. With the musical instrument known as the ney at the forefront of this music, internationally well-known musicians include Necdet Yasar, Niyazi Sayin, Kudsi Ergüner and Ömer Faruk Tekbilek.
Aegean and Rumeli regions
The region of Rumeli or Roumelia is used to indicate the part of Turkey which is in Europe, namely provinces of Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ and the western part of Istanbul Province. Folk songs from this region share similarities with Balkan and Greek folk music, especially from the ethnic minorities and natives of Thrace. Cypriot folk music also shares folk tunes with this region, e.g. the Çiftetelli dance. These type of folk songs also share close similarities with Ottoman court music, strengthening the suggestion by some that the distinction between court and folk music wasn't always so clear. However, it could arguably be that folk songs from Istanbul were closely influenced by its locality, which would include Ottoman rakkas and court music.
Black Sea and Capsian Sea regions
Pontic Greeks on the eastern shore of the Black Sea or Karadeniz regions have their own distinct style of folk music, motifs from which were used with great success by Helena Paparizou. The diaspora of Greek speaking Pontic people from that region introduced Pontic music to Greece after 1924 population exchange between Turkey and Greece. The region's dance style uses unique techniques like odd shoulder tremors and knee bends. Folk dances include the gerasari, trgona, kots, omal, serra, kotsari and tik.
The improvised pieces were stage adaptations of the Karagöz (shadow puppet) and Ortaoyunu (traditional form of Turkish theatre performed in the open) traditions, aithough in much more simplifled form. The themes explored in these traditional theater arts as well as their stock characterizations and stereotypes were used as the framework tor the new extemporaneous performances of the tuluat (improvised) theater.
As with their Italian counterparts the Turkish troupes employed songs and music before the show and between the acts to peak people's interest and draw in customers.
Kanto: songs sung between the acts as solos or duets, based on traditional eastern makam (modes) but performed on western instruments.
Kanto: "first the introduction, then the lyrics, shake your shoulders to a violin, solo, cock your head and shimmy in oriental dance style, leap around like a partridge, then slowly disappear behind the curtain."
Kanto: the irreplaceable unifying feature of ali Turkish tuluat theater. We can divide kanto into two periods. The division, particulariy in terms of musical structure, is very clear between the early kanto and the kanto of the Post-Republic perlod. It is further possible to identify two styles within the early period. Galata and Direklerarası (both neighbourhoods of Old Istanbul).
Kanto first took root in the musical the aters of Galata, a part of town frequented by sailors, rowdies and roustabouts. Ahmet Rasim Bey paints a vivid picture of the Galata theaters in his novel Fuhs-i Akit (An Old Whore).
"Everyone thought Peruz was the most flirtatious, most skillful and the most provocative. The seats closest to the stage were always crammed full... They said of Peruz, 'she is a trollop who has ensnared the heart of many a young man and has made herself the enemy of many. 'Her songs would hardly be finished when chairs, flowers, bouquets and beribboned letters. Come flying from the boxseats. It seemed the building would be shaken to the ground."
Direklerarası was a littie off the beaten track and İn comparison to Galata was a more refined center of entertainment. Direklerarası was said to be quite lively at night during the month of Ramadan (Ramazan in Turkish) and certainly once its attractions was its family atmosphere. It was here that the troupes of Kel Hasan and Abdi Efendi and later that of Neshid enjoyed a great popularity. It was under the influence of these masters that kanto experienced its golden years.
The troupes orchestra would be made up of such instruments as the trumpet, trombone, violin, and Trap drum and cymbals. The orchestra would start to play popular songs of the day and marches in front of the theatre about and hour before the show to drum up interest. This intermission or Antrak music ended up with the well known Izmir March, a sign that the show time was approaching. The play began as the musicians went in and took their places at the side of the stage.
The kanto singers of the period were also composers. Set to extraordinarily simple melodies which were the fashion of the day, the lyrics relied heavily of tensions between men and women as well as reflecting topical events. The compositions were in such fundamental makams as Rast, Hüzzam, Hicaz, Hüseyni and Nihavent. Kanto songs are remember both by the names of their interpreters and by their creators, artists such as Peruz, Shamran, Kamelya, Eleni. Küçük and Büyük Amelya, Mari Ferha and Virjin. That kanto brought an erotic element to the stage performance was an important aspect and one that should not be overlooked or separated out.
Art and cultural life gained new dimensions with the changes brought about by the 1923 formation of the Turkish Republic. It was a period of rapid transformation and its effect were widespread. Turkish women had finally won the freedom to appear on the stage, breaking the monopoly previously held by Rûm (Istanbul Greek) and Armenian women who performed in musical and non-musical theatre. Institutions like Darulbedayi (Istanbul City Theatre) and Darulelhan (Istanbul Conservatory of Music) had long been turning out trained artists.
Western lifestyles and western style art put pressure on the traditional Turkish formats and these were swept off to the side. The operetta, the tango then later the Charleston and the fox-trot overshadowed kanto. Kanto's popoularity began to fade, the citys centers of entertained shifted and the theaters of Galata and Direklerarası were closed down. Turkish female artists were unreceptive to kanto's inherent ribairy and chose to keep their distance from it.
But there came a change agah in the 1935's, there was a revival of interest in the kanto form. Aithough rather far from its fundamental principles a new type of kanto was önce again popular.
It is important to point out that kanto had now moved from the stage to the recording studio. While the subjects dealt with in the lyrics were stili the same old quarreis between men and woman, mixed in with satirical takes on fashion and current events. the songs were being written with the 78 rpm phonograph in mind. So much so that every record label hired their own kanto composers-and rather famous ones at that! With Columbia at the fore, record labels commissioned kanto from Kaptanzade Ali Rıza Bey, Refik Fersan, Dramalı Hasan, Sadettin Kaynak, Cümbüş Mehmet and Mildan Niyazi Bey. The makams were the same but the instrumentation had changed. Kanto were now accompanied by cümbüş (a fretlees banjo like instrument) the ud (a fretless) lute, and calpara (castenets). Foxtrot, Charleston (dance) and Rumba (dance) rhythms dominated. The tunes were being written and sung more tor listening than tor dancing. Female soloists include Makbule Enver, Mahmure, and Neriman; Beşiktaşlı Kemal Senman was the most sought after male singer tor duets.
Among the topics explored by the new kantocu (singer or composer of kanto) perhaps the most frequent subjert of satire was the new role of women brought about by the formation of the Republic. Songs like Sarhoş Kızlar (Drunken Girls) or Şoför Kadınlar (Women Drivers) were sung seemingly in revenge tor ali the suffering they had endured at the hands of men in the past. Other topical songs include Daktilo (The Typewriter) which brought to mind the newly formed Secretaires 7 Society. Songs such as Bereli Kız (The Girl with the Beret) and Kadın Asker Olursa (Women Were Soldiers) were full of mockery and ridicule.
The early period kanto were largely nurished by Istanbul culture. It was much the same in the Post-Republican period. The city's large and diverse population provided both the characters and the events that were the mainstay of kanto. Kanto was heavily influenced by musical theatre. Roman (gypsy) music and culture. which was itself of the subject of satire, left its mark on kanto form. Another major influence was Rum music. The importance of the Istanbul Rum, who were so fond of entertainment and of singing and playing, must not be underestimated. It is a natural and inevitable resuit of cultural exchange. As it was, almost all the kanto singers were either Rum or Armenian, artist like Pepron, Karakas, Haim, Samran and Peruz who performed during the period following 1903.
Eventually kanto became more of a definition, a generalized genre than a musical term. Any tune that was outside of the days musical conventions, anything light that appealed to current trends and tastes was labeled kanto. Any music played with different instruments that was free rhythmic or somehow novel was labeled kanto, it was the product of a middie class urban culture, of urban Istanbul.
This music, kanto, from the beginning of this century has been accepted as the forerunner oftoday's pop culture and it succeeded in remaining popular tor close to halt a century.
Turkish pop music had its humble beginnings in the late 1950s with Turkish cover versions of a wide range of imported popular styles, including rock and roll, tango, and jazz. As more styles emerged, they were also adopted, such as hip hop, heavy metal and reggae.
The self named "superstar" of the "arrangement" (aranjman) era of the 70s was Ajda Pekkan who also debuted, along with Enrico Macias, at Olympia, Paris, while MFÖ (Mazhar, Fuat, Özkan) was the celebrated group of the pop scene with an outstanding dexterity in their use of Turkish prosody and their success of amalgamating Western and Turkish cultural ingredients and perspectives. Also one of the most renowned Turkish pop stars of the last decades is probably Sezen Aksu. She contributed considerably to the unique Turkish pop sound of this period, allowing it gain ground from its humble beginnings in the early 50s and 60s to the popular genre it is today. She was also one of the strongest advocates for Turkey to enter the Eurovision Song Contest. Her one-time vocalist and later protegé Sertab Erener won the contest in 2003.
The biggest male pop stars in Turkey are arguably Tarkan and Mustafa Sandal. Tarkan achieved chart success in Europe and Latin America with his single "Şımarık", also composed by Sezen Aksu, which has been covered by numerous artists. Mustafa Sandal has also enjoyed chart success in Europe with his 2005 single "İsyankar", which peaked at number 4 and went gold.
Turkish hip hop or oriental hip hop is a creation of the Turkish migrant worker community in Germany, which some suggest was a suitable outlet for a young generation disillusioned with Germany's treatment of its migrant class. In 1995, the Turkish-German community produced a major hip hop crew named Cartel which caused controversy in Turkey and Germany for its revolutionary lyrics. Hip hop now enjoys wide popularity among the younger generation in Turkey. Ceza (formerly "Nefret") and Sagopa Kajmer are popular figures of contemporary rap music in Turkey. Another popular Turkish hip-hop group is called "Turks with Attitude" who have a popular track called "My Melody". This track samples from the American rapper Rakim's "Check Out my Melody", using a traditional form of Turkish music called arabesque to blend the two styles and cultures together.
Its mainstream popularity rose so much in the 1980s that it even threatened the existence of Turkish pop, with rising stars such as Muslum Gurses and Ibrahim Tatlises. The genre has underbeat forms that include Ottoman forms of belly-dancing music known as fantazi from singers like Ebru Gündeş and with performers like Orhan Gencebay who added Anglo-American rock and roll to arabesque music.
The Turkish rock scene began in the mid- to late 1960s, when popular United States and United Kingdom bands became well-known. Soon, a distinctively Turkish fusion of rock and folk emerged; this was called Anatolian rock, a term which nowadays may be generically ascribed to most of Turkish rock. Cem Karaca and Barış Manço are the best known performers and Moğollar is the best known group of older classical Anatolian rock music.
Other recent rock bands with a more western sound include maNga, Duman and Mor ve Ötesi who enjoy large mainstream success. Şebnem Ferah and Teoman are two examples of individual rock artists with substantial fan-bases. Turkey also boasts numerous large-scale rock festivals and events. Annually held rock festivals include Barışarock, H2000 Music Festival, Rock'n Coke, and RockIstanbul.
The Turkish music industry includes a number of fields, ranging from record companies to radio stations and community and state orchestras. Most of the major record companies are based in Istanbul's region of Unkapanı and they are represented by the Turkish Phonographic Industry Society (MÜ-YAP). The major record companies produce material by artists that have signed to one of their record labels, a brand name often associated with a particular genre or record producer. Record companies may also promote and market their artists, through advertising, public performances and concerts, and television appearances.
In recent years, the music industry has been embroiled in turmoil over the rise of the Internet downloading of copyrighted music and general piracy; many musicians and MÜ-YAP have sought to punish fans who illegally download copyrighted music. On 13 June 2006 it was reported that MÜ-YAP and The Orchard, the world's leading distributor and marketer of independent music, had reached an agreement on digital global distribution, representing approximately 80% of the Turkish music market.
There is not a substantial singles market in Turkey. It is album orientated, although popular singers such as Yonca Evcimik and Tarkan have released singles with success. Most music charts not related to album sales, measure popularity by music video feedback and radio airplay.
Turkish radio stations often broadcast popular music. Each music station has a format, or a category of songs to be played; these are generally similar to but not the same as ordinary generic classification. With the introduction of commercial radio and television in the early 1990s ending the monopoly of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), a multitude of radio and TV stations were opened by newspaper media moguls. These media chains sponsor award ceremonies such as the Kral TV awards for music, but most accredited music awards are based on sales given out by industry societies such as MÜ-YAP and the Magazine Journalists Society (MJS).
Though major record companies dominate the Turkish industry, an independent music industry (indie music) does exist. Indie music is mostly based around local record labels with limited, if any, retail distribution outside a small region. Artists sometimes record for an indie label and gain enough acclaim to be signed to a major label; others choose to remain at an indie label for their entire careers. Indie music may be in styles generally similar to mainstream music, but is often inaccessible, unusual or otherwise unappealing to many people. Indie musicians often release some or all of their songs over the Internet for fans and others to download and listen to.
Perhaps the most successful Turkish name associated with the indie music outside of Turkey is Ahmet Ertegün of Atlantic Records. His promotion of some of the most famous R&B and soul artists in North America and his contribution to the American music industry has earned a place in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, together with his brother Nesuhi.
Higher education in the field of music in Turkey is mostly based around large universities, connected to state music academies and conservatories. Universities may also have a musicology department, and do research on many styles of music especially the Turkish traditional genres, while also keeping a database of sounds in their sound libraries.
Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir are also home to numerous music festivals which showcase styles ranging from the blues and jazz to indie rock and heavy metal. Some music festivals are strictly local in scope, including few or no performers with a national reputation, and are generally operated by local promoters. Recently large soft drink companies have operated their own music festivals, such as Rock'n Coke and Fanta parties, which draw huge crowds.