Bridging Sound and Culture Concert Series: Music of Turkey

9, 11 October 2019   |   The Chinese University of Hong Kong





Date: 9 October 2019

Time: 4–6 pm

Venue: Lee Hysan Concert Hall, CUHK


Concert of Traditional Turkish Music with the Marmara University Ensemble


Date: 11 October 2019

Time: 7:30–10 pm

Venue: Lee Hysan Concert Hall, CUHK



Mr Ali Kocakaya

Mr Hasan Sakarya

Ms Sibel Sakarya

Mr Murtaza Tunç

Mr Yasin Yiğit



Prof. Seyfi Kenan

Faculty of Education, Marmara University, Turkey


Photo Exhibition “Echoes from Anatolia: Images from Turkish Classical and Folk Music”


Date: 4–18 October 2019

Time: 9 am–5 pm

Venue: Lee Hysan Concert Hall, CUHK




Global China Research Programme

Department of Music, CUHK



As part of the mission of enhancing CUHK’s global educational profile, the GCR and the CUHK Department of Music are proud to present the “Bridging Sound and Culture Concert Series”. The goal is to introduce selected non-Western musical cultures to the campus community. For each country, we present a lecture-demonstration, a concert, and a photo exhibit. We invite expert musicians from each country to share their talents and skills. By introducing how each individual society defines and performs music, we hope to provide insights on the complexity of that society’s culture and the role that music plays in it. We tentatively plan to present eight groups in this series in the next three years.


The first theme of the series is “The Music of Turkey”. To provide a thorough introduction to traditional Turkish music, a lecture-demonstration was held to illustrate the function and role of some instruments. The musical instruments included: the Saz (a type of lute), tanbur (a long-necked lute), ney (a long-necked end-blown flute), kanun (a plucked zither), tef (a frame drum), and the darbuka (a goblet-shaped drum). While Prof. Seyfi Kenan explained the development of Turkish music at different stages, some popular Turkish songs and music were played.


The concert consisted of three parts: Sufi Music, Classical Turkish Music, and Turkish Folk Music. Chants created in the 17th century and folk songs from various regions of Turkey, amounting to 31 programmes in total, were performed. Both events were attended by a total of 160 people.


Introduction to Turkish Music

Turkey, which straddles Europe and Asia, is an amalgamation of many cultures and has a long history. The music of Turkey can be roughly divided into the art and folk music genres. Turkish music dates back to the 9th century. During the Ottoman court (14th century–1923), this genre was greatly affected by musical practices from the Persian and Byzantine cultures.


Turkish folk music is closely related to the daily life of the people, and derives from the distinct cultural values of those who live in the region. There are two main kinds of Turkish folk music: Türkü and aşıks. Since the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, attempts have been made to modernize and transform the music of the former Ottoman Empire. Nowadays, in addition to the folk and art music traditions, there are many popular genres such as Arabesk, pop, rock, and contemporary folk genres in Turkey.