1345) Interconnections of musical traditions of Armenian and Tatars

The historical-political and regional conditions defined many general traits in cultures of Armenians and Turks. They were most pronounced in the epoch of Ottoman Empire. By the example of the revealed interconnections of these cultures, the interconnections of many other cultures, in particularly, of the Crimean and Kazan Tatars can be shown.

The investigations in the field of musical and musical-poetic traditions of the Crimean and Kazan Tatars show the cultural connections beyond the All-Turkic and All-Muslim world. One of the possible aspects of the study is the comparison of the musical and musical-poetic heritage of Armenians and the Kazan, Crimean Tatars.

Art of ashugs of Armenians representing a part of musical-poetic heritage of Turks-Muslims is a prominent example of these interconnections.

It is known that repertoire of the first Armenian ashugs Gul Ogli Erzinkaci (XV c.); Naapet Kuchak (XVI c.) included the Turkish songs (3). The Muslim hymns sung by the Crimean and Kazan Tatars were included in the repertoire of Armenian ashugs.

The creative activity of the Armenian ashugs, a famous Sayat-Nova among them, is represented by the musical-poetic patterns. These patterns were the essence of traditional cultures of many Turkic. The performance of the melodies using the classical subjects of Muslim East Leyli and Medjnun, Farhad and Shirin, Shahsenem and Garip and others, by the Armenian ashugs shows us once again close musical-poetic links between Armenians and Tatars (5, p.11).

According to the Armenian researches the Armenian ashugs were preceded by mtrubs at the musical-poetic stage (3, pp.17-18). The creative activity of mtrubs one can find in the medieval musical cultures of the Kazan Tatars. The classical poetic texts, in particularly, the “Jumjuma-I Sultan” of Hisam Katib of the Tatar-Turkic poet of the XIVth century, point to this fact (4, p.139). The function of mtrubs was similar both in the Armenian and Kazan Tatar musical cultures.

The commonness of musical traditions of Armenians and the Crimean Tatars can be revealed at the mode and melodic-intonation level. It is explained by the centuries-old cultural contacts and regional peculiarities.

The analogies are traced at the level of instruments as well. The traditional instruments characterizing the Armenian musical art are also typical for the Tatar musical tradition. Such instruments as zurna, tar, kemancha and others were the classical art instruments of both the Kazan and Crimean khanates.

As it was mentioned before, Turkish-Armenian musical-poetic interrelations are reflected in the ashug’s tradition. Armenians-Christians performed naat’s (7), ilahi’s, gazel’s, kaside’s, semai’s in the competitions with Turks-Muslims (2).

In Armenian ashug’s tradition it is revealed similarities with the culture of Turkic-Muslims on the following levels:

1.the genres and forms of classical Muslims poetry – naat, ilahi, gazel, kaside, semai dastan;

2.the forms of Turkic poetry – mani, koshma, gerayli;

3.the symbols of sufy poetry reflected in the dastans;

4.musical-poetic compositions writing by the metro-rhythmic systems of heje vezn and aruz;

5.interrelations of model and melodic-intonation systems, particularly, in Armenian and Crimean Tatar music.

Mentioned above peculiarities of Armenian ashug’s tradition make possible to take relations not only between cultures of Armenian and Turkish, but between cultures of Armenian and Crimean Tatars, and other Turkic-Muslims, particularly, Kazan Tatars.

The interrelations of the Armenian musical tradition with the traditions of Iranians, Azerbaijanians, Turks and Crimean Tatars are evident. The interconnections of the musical culture of Kazan Tatars with Armenians can be traced and revealed by Armenian-Iranian, Armenian-Azerbaijan, Armenian- Turks, Armenian-Crimean Tatars interrelations. This fact opens up fresh opportunities for studying the cultures of Armenians as well as Turkic peoples.


1. Aliyev F. Antologiya krımskoy narodnoy muzıki. Simferopol, 2001.

2. Bayrak M. Alevi-Bektaşi edebiyatında Ermeni Âşıkları /aşuğlar/. Ankara, 2005.

3. Grigoryan Ş.S. Armyanskiye gusanskiye pesni i ih literaturnıye sootneseniya (s drevneyşih vremen do XVII veka). /Avtoreferat dissertasiyi. Yerevan, 1965.

4. Makarov G. Klassiçeskiye instrumentalnıye tradisii musulmanskogo Vostoka v starotatarskoy muzıkalnoy culture. – Islamkoye iskusstvo v Volgo-Uralskom regione. Red. G.F. Valyeva-Suleymanova. Kazan, 2002.

5. Naryan M.H. Armyanskiye pesni Sayat-Novı. / Avtoreferat dissertasiyi. Yerevan, 1964.

6. Şerfedinov Ya. Yanray kaytarma. Taşkent, 1978.

7. Yeniterzi E. Türk edebiyatında Na’tlar./ http://www.yagmurdergisi.com.tr

Aynakulova - Kayseri

Source: © Erciyes University 2006


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