Unknown tunes; unusual tones; different rhythms and sounds... unusual tones, different rhythms and sounds. A complete contrast in compositions of the varied types of Turkish music, which for the first time on hearing is unfamiliar. Listen awhile and what the ear initially perceives will gradually become accustomed to the series of sounds - from the mystical music of the Whirling Dervishes through to the fashionable beat of Turkish 'Pop'.
The haunting sound of the 'ney' (reed pipe) dominates the music of the Whirling Dervishes and is perhaps the most striking sound heard during the Mevlana Festival which takes place in Konya every December. Each musician having crafted his own instrument can produce an extension of tones whose soulful sound, they say, is akin to God's voice.
The refined Turkish classical music of the Ottoman court is a complete contrast to the lively, appealing Turkish Folk music which originated on the steps of Asia and is now played in the villages. And for something else completely different -the Ottoman Janissary military band whose music is now performed by the 'mehter takimi' in Istanbul. Its wealth and volume of sound as the big bass drums, clarinets, cymbals and bells join together, as they once did when they marched with the corps into battle
From the grand band sound to the quieter tunes of the lone man band' - the asik - who first appeared in Anatolia in the 15th century and would travel from one village to the next playing the bag lama (or saz) and singing tunes based on political and social issues. the songs of the great troubadours are still popular and can be heard at occasional festivals such as those held in Konya.
The most 'alien' tones, perhaps, are those of the 'Arabesque' - a different brand of music with rather mournful tunes, often heard as you climb into some big city taxi. Music which seems more appealing to the ear tends to be the more fashionable well-played, contemporary styles - 'Taverna', Folk Guitar and 'Pop' music etc. Popular, easy listening melodies which you'll hear whilst you're out and about - good rhythms, catchy beats and sensuous sounds drifting across from the cafe, bar, disco and dolmus!