Turkmen music and musical instruments

Music of Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan’s music has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. It is heavily influenced by the country’s nomadic traditions and cultural exchanges with neighboring countries, such as Iran and Afghanistan. 

Turkmen Music

Folk music is a popular genre in Turkmenistan and is often played at weddings, festivals, and other social events. It features simple melodies and rhythms and is often accompanied by traditional dances. 

Ashik music is a type of ballad singing that is popular in Turkmenistan and other parts of Central Asia. It features solo vocalists accompanied by instruments such as the dutar, and often tells stories of love, war, and other themes. 

Classical music has a long history in Turkmenistan and is often associated with courtly life. It features intricate melodies and rhythms and is played on a variety of instruments, including the dutar, gharmon, and daf.

Turkmenistan Musical instruments

The dutar is a fundamental part of Turkmen music and is used in all of the primary genres of music and singing in Turkmenistan. It is a traditional instrument with a long neck, a pear-shaped body covered by a thin wooden sounding board, and two strings. Dutar music can be played on its own or accompanied by singing or recitation of poetry and prose. It plays an important role in Turkmen ceremonies, national celebrations, festivals, and social gatherings.

The gharmon is a small accordion-like instrument that is commonly used in Turkmen music. It has a distinct sound and is often played in ensembles with other instruments, such as the dutar. 

The daf is a large frame drum that is played in many Turkmen musical styles. It has a circular shape and is often decorated with intricate patterns and designs. The daf is played by striking it with the hand or a small stick.

The gyjak is an upright instrument with three or four strings, played using a bow made of horsehair. It is often crafted from a blend of apricot and mulberry wood and creates a sound that may remind you of the ever-changing Kara Kum desert or a prolonged screech. Typically, it is played as an accompaniment to the dutar.

The gargy-tuyduk is a lengthy reed flute that produces a poignant sound, mimicking the winds blowing across the desert. In contrast, the dilli-tuyduk is a shorter flute that generates a high-pitched sound.

The gopuz is a diminutive metal instrument that is also known as a Jew’s harp in other regions. When placed in the mouth, the protruding stainless steel reed is strummed by a quickly moving hand. The mouth acts as a sound chamber, and the pitch is adjusted by varying the breath. Women mainly play the gopuz, and it emits a distinctive twang.


See also Music and Dance from neighbouring countries

Page updated 20.3.2023

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