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Azerbaijani music

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Azerbaijani music

The Music of Azerbaijan builds on folk traditions that reach back nearly 1,000 years.[1] For centuries Azerbaijani music has evolved under the badge of monody, producing rhythmically diverse melodies.[2] Azerbaijani music has a branchy mode system, where chromatisation of major and minor scales is of great importance.[2]


Main article: Mugam

"Azerbaijani folk song - "Tops of the mountains of Shusha are covered by snow""
File:Xan Shushinski Shushanin Daglari.ogg

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The classical music of Azerbaijan is called mugam (more accurately spelled muğam), and draws on the music of the Iranian-Arab-Turkish maqam.[3] It is usually a suite with poetry and instrumental interludes. The sung poetry sometimes includes tahrir segments, which use a form of singing similar to yodelling. The poetry is typically about divine love and is most often linked to Sufi Islam.Mugam created in ancient Iran territory and developed in Azerbaijan republic and Iran Azerbaijan provinces since Safavid(The most branch of mugam which called by bayat(like bayat-e-kurd,bayate-shiraz, bayat-e-turk...)created by an Azerbaijani tradition(Bayat which have music talents)in different provinces of Iran like , shiraz, isfahan,kurdisatn. The most of royal musicians in palaces of ancient Iran kings in provinces were Bayat and there is no relation between Persian and mugam because of different morality and life philosophy between Persians and ancient Iran traditions.

Azerbaijan has a wide range of music and music styles but the most popular is pop music. This is shown in the Eurovision Song Contest, as Azerbaijan is one of the most successful countries to ever participate with high rankings. Achieving 8th in 2008, 3rd in 2009 and 5th in 2010, Azerbaijan won the 2011 edition with the duo Ell and Nikki and "Running Scared", therefore earning the right to host the contest in 2012, which they chose to host in Baku. They have since placed 2nd in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, with the song "Hold Me" Westernised Azerbaijani pop includes Emin Agalarov, the son in law of president Ilham Aliyev. In contrast to the mugam traditions of Central Asian countries, Azeri mugam is more free-form and less rigid; it is often compared to the improvised field of pop.[4] [5]

UNESCO proclaimed the Azerbaijani mugam tradition a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 7, 2003.

Musical instruments

Instruments used in traditional Azeri music include the stringed instruments tar (skin faced lute), the kamancha (skin faced spike fiddle), the oud, originally barbat, and the saz (long necked lute); the double-reed wind instrument balaban, the frame drum ghaval, the cylindrical double faced drum nagara (davul), and the goshe nagara (naqareh) (pair of small kettle drums). Other instruments include the garmon (small accordion), tutek (whistle flute), and daf (frame drum).


Main article: Ashiq

Ashiqs are traveling bards who sing and play the saz, a form of lute. Their songs are semi-improvised around a common base.

Opera in Azerbaijan

Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885-1948)

  • Leyli and Majnun, opera, 1908. The first opera from Azerbaijan, the first Muslim opera.
  • Rustam and Zohrab, mugham opera, 1910.
  • Asli and Kerem, mugham opera in four acts and six scenes, 1912.
  • Shah Abbas and Khurshid Banu, mugham opera, 1912.
  • Harun and Leyli, mugham opera, 1915
  • Firuze, (unfinished)
  • Koroğlu ("The Blind Man's Son"), opera. (first performed 1938)

Zulfugar Hajibeyov (1884-1950)

  • Ashiq Qarib ("The Wandering Ashiq"), after the anonymous Azerbaijani romantic dastan of the same name, 1915.

Muslim Magomayev (1885-1937)

  • Shah Ismayil, mugham opera 1919, revised 1924, revised 1930.
  • Nargiz, 1935.
  • Xoruz-bey, opera

Afrasiyab Badalbeyli (1907-1976)

  • People's punishment
  • Golden Key
  • Bahadur and Sona
  • Aydın
  • Nizami, composed 1939, staged 1948.

Fikret Amirov (1922-1984)

  • Star
  • Sevil

Vasif Adigozalov (1935-2006)

  • Natavan, mugham opera, 2003

Other composers

  • Opera of "Tenderness" by Gara Garayev
  • Opera of "Motherland" by Gara Garayev and Jovdat Hajiyev
  • Opera of "Azad" (Free) by Jahangir Jahangirov
  • Opera of "The Fate of the Singer" by Jahangir Jahangirov
  • Opera of "Expectation" by Franghiz Ali-Zadeh
  • Opera of "Iskander and Shepherd" by Soltan Hajibeyov (children's opera)
  • Galin gayasi ("Bride’s rock") by Shafiga Akhundova (b. 1924) (the first opera written by an Azerbaijani woman composer)
  • Opera of "Seven Beauties" by Eldar Mansurov (rock-opera)

Ballet in Azerbaijan

Scene from Ballet of "The Maiden Tower" by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli
Scene from Ballet of "Leyli and Majnun" by Gara Garayev
Scene from Ballet of "Love and Death" by Polad Bulbuloglu
  • The Maiden Tower by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli
  • Ballet of "Smiling man" by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli
  • Ballet of "Garaja" by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli
  • Ballet of "Tarlan" by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli (children ballet)
  • Ballet of "Seven Beauties" by Gara Garayev
  • Ballet of "The Path of Thunder by Gara Garayev
  • Ballet of "Leyli and Majnun" by Gara Garayev
  • Ballet of "The Arabian Nights" by Fikret Amirov
  • Ballet of "Nizami" by Fikret Amirov
  • Ballet of "The Legend of Nasimi" by Fikret Amirov
  • Ballet of "Caspian conquerors" by Fikret Amirov
  • Ballet of "The Legend of Love" by Arif Malikov
  • Ballet of "Stronger than Death" by Arif Malikov
  • Ballet of "Twain" by Arif Malikov
  • Ballet of "Poem of Two Hearts" by Arif Malikov
  • Ballet of "Whites and blacks" by Khayyam Mirzezadeh
  • Ballet of "Love and Death" by Polad Bulbuloglu

Azeri Musicians

External video
Azeri classical music
Genre Meyxana
Azeri jazz: Vaqif Mustafa-Zadeh
Azerbaijan opera Koroglu by Uzeir Hacibeyov
Azeri symphonic rock Mugam
Concert of Iranian Azeris
Azerbaijani music 1990: Firangiz Rahimbekova
Azeri pop group Karvan, early 1990s.

The most famous contemporary Azeri musicians are perhaps jazz singer Aziza Mustafa Zadeh and her father, Vagif Mustafa Zadeh, who are quite popular internationally in jazz circles.

Mugam singers:

Popular music singers

Classic music singers

All time classics


International Azerbaijani musicians and bands

Kamancheh players

  • Habil Aliyev
  • Fakhraddin Dadashov
  • Shafiga Eyvazova
  • Arif Asadullayev
  • Ismayil Hamidov
  • Imamyar Hasanov
  • Munis Sharifov
  • Mirnazim Asadullayev
  • Elshan Mansurov
  • Gilman Salakhov
  • Talat Bakikhanov
  • Elman Badalov

Tar players

  • Mirjavad Safarov
  • Ramiz Guliyev
  • Firuz Aliyev
  • Mahmud Aliyev
  • Bahram Mansurov
  • Malik Mansurov
  • Muhlid Muslumov
  • Ahsan Dadashov
  • Haji Mammadov
  • Aga salim abdullayev

Balaban players

Oboe players

Saz players

  • Adalat Nasibov


  • Broughton, Simon and Sultanova, Razia. "Bards of the Golden Road". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 2: Latin & North America, Caribbean, India, Asia and Pacific, pp 24–31. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-85828-636-5
  • Almaty or Bust


External links

  • A collection of rare recordings of traditional Azeri music from the early 20th century. Created July 7, 2012
  • BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): Ashig troubadours, Mugham and the Kamancha. Accessed November 25, 2010.
  • BBC Radio 3 Audio (60 minutes): The Saz and Mugham singer Alin Qasimov. Accessed November 25, 2010.
  • Azeri Music
  • Azeri song lyrics

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