A nation is known, recognized and distinguished among the world nations by certain characteristic features. The highest and the greatest of these features is culture.

HEYDAR ALIYEV

Ozan-ashug art form began to form in Azerbaijan since ancient times.

Ashiq's art is a music form of oral art formed in folk environment and in terms of impact strength, popularity and uniqueness of maturity it is an expression having no analogue. This is a small performance, the music, saz and author-ashug make here unity.

Ashiq art includes songs praising of ancient epic legends, people, freedom, heroism, friendship, love songs. Ashiq art is synthetic, that is, ashig (minstrel) composes music, writes poetry, plays saz and dances simultaneously. And wind instruments ensemble and balaban often accompany ashiq. However, the main instrument of ashig is saz. Saz is ancient stringed musical instrument. The most common genre of ashiq art is the epic genre, that is epics, especially the heroic eposes. Vocal and instrumental parts in epics replace poems with parts of speech.

In lyrical genre of ashiq art praising ( tariflama), beatification (“gozallama) are specially famous. This gozallama can be devoted both to the lovely, beautiful woman and the hero, for example, brave Koroglu, its legendary Qırat. Part of the ashiq songs is full of sadness, (Yaniq Karami, Dilqami), and the other part can be like in Afsharı Sharili songs, which are wonderful examples of ashug lyrics.

In ashiq art ustadname genre is also interesting like advising songs.

The genres of the national poetry qoshma, mukhammas, ustadname, qıfılband, as well as its poetic forms like garayli, divani, qoshma, tajnis are favorite songs of ashug. These forms may be included in legends.

The most widely used poem rhyme in the ashuq creation is syllable. Structure of major ashuq songs is four (verse) form. Each and every couplet of verse has the beginning and each couplet is separated from each other with the instrumental solo.

In ancient times and Middle Ages ashuqs called as “ozan- minstrel, varsaq, dada.

The most ancient written sources on predecessors  of modern Azerbaijani ashig – ozan, their ancient life, love, patriotism, the bravery is folk epos of the seventh century, Dede Korkut .

Historically, musical folklore had a big influence on the creativity of composers. For the first time features of ashug music were used in the opera of the composer U.Hajibayov’s Koroglu.  Another composer Gara Garayev combining technical means of modern music with ashuq music could manage to create its combination in the second part of the third symphony.

Although ashuq art like set of arts combine few arts in self but the main place in this set is of traditional havajat (songs’ set). The traditional ashuq songs’ set rich with means of musical description and artistic summarizing is characterized by aesthetic constant value, polished language-style, deep philosophical means, and ethical orientation.

Expressiveness of oral folk poetry (fingers count syllable rhyme) and writing poetry (aruz) comprises the base of poetry of ashug havajat.  

Like a part of havajat the classic ashiq poem carries out the task qaydaqoyuchuluq (normative).

Here the traditional classical ashuq melodies bayati, garayli, qoshma and tajnis based on poetic forms. There are more than 80 (Karami, Afsharı, Kurdu, Dilqami, Yaniq Karami) different area options of ashug melodies.

The mutual link of poetic text in ashiq melodies has an important influence on the formation of their melodic-rhythmic form features. The main rhyme of ashiq poetry is syllable rhyme. Structure of melodies is formed in connection with form and syllable structure of the poem, separation characteristics. Gurbani (16th century), Abbas Tufarqanlı, Sary Ashiq (17th century), Khasta Qasim, Ashiq Valeh, Ashiq Dilgam (18th century), Ashiq Ali, Ashiq Alasgar, Ashiq Hussain Shamkirli (19th century) and etc are considered as classics of ashiq art. Among ashiq of modern time Ashiq Hussein Bozalqanly, Ashiq Asad, Ashiq Mirza, Ashiq Islam, Ashiq Shamshir, Hussein Sarajly, Emrah Gulmammadov, Huseyn Javan, Ashiq Kamandar, Imran Hasanov, Mikail Azaflı, Akbar Jafarov and etc distinguish. Ashiq art is especially spread in Gazakh, Tovuz, Shamakhy regions, as well in settlements of historical Goycha and Borchali.  

Meikhana is a musical-poetic genre belonging to Azerbaijan, sung with accompaniment of percussion instrument or recitation.  It is mainly spread in the villages of Baku.

It is usually sung in the form of debate of two or more poet-singers impromptu. The specific genre of meikhana, color patterns is more expressive and deep. The factor giving this unique appearance to meikhana is using metro rhythmic percussion instrument for accompaniment, which shows the ancient history of this genre.

Only during the twentieth century the genre of meikhana had passed from three stage development. The stages coincide with period full of contradictory events in the life of the people of Azerbaijan. After the April revolution in April 1920 spreading of the new ideology gave a wide place to meikhana.  Meikhana had gained a good position in repertoire of “Critical-application theater, and in general fiction literature, as well as in stage works.

During war years of 1941-45 meikhana turned to fellow of people, inspired the people, and increased his belief in hope, faith.

Since 90-es years of the last century meikhana stepped at third development stage. However, when the country gained independence, the new approach to meikhana genre is formed: In TV meikhana competitions are held, masters of meikhana are invited to the celebrations, meikhana collections are published and finally, meikhana becomes the object of research.

Meikhana is continuation of folk poems in modern time, its development. Each period has its own meikahana. This genre that takes the pulse of the time, was always linked with genre that reflect colors of environment the created, always reflected people's desires and wishes and criticized disadvantages of the period. 

Distinguished kinds of meikhana for its structure and genre:

a) rhymed meikhana

b) radif meikhana

c) Verse meikhana

d) meikhana without rhymes, badihas 

 

Meikhana singers

Mirza Abdulkhaliq Yusuf, Hashim bey Saqi, Mirza Samandar, Aliaga Vahid, Mashadi Azer, Yayha Molla oglu, Ahmad Anatollu, Aghadadash Muniri, Dilgam, Aghasalim Chıldag, etc. Poets had created classic examples of meikhana.

At present, a lot of talented men engaged in this art. Among them Agamirza, Agakerim, Namiq Mana, Vugar, Namiq Garachukhurlu  etc.are recognized.

Vocal performance

Popular music samples divided in two parts: with bahr and without bahr. With bahr means, music genre having clear metro-rhythm, playing percussion instruments during accompaniment. This type of music includes composer tasnif, rang, dance and folk songs. “Without bahr kind includes music kind which not uses percussion instrument, free rhyme music samples- music dastagah, vocal music.

Like in every nation’s musical heritage, the folk music heritage of Azerbaijan consists of vocal, instrumental and vocal-instrumental music.

The scientific and practical development of the national vocal art in Azerbaijan is connected with name of the founder of the national school of vocal art - Bulbul. The development of a national school of vocal school is closely connected with collection of vocal folklore and its study. To this end, in 1932 the Scientific Research Music Cabinet was approved.

Bulbul that was well-known vocalist received vocal training as a first Azerbaijani student of the State Conservatory organized in 1921, and learned Russian and European classical music here, broadened his world outlook. During tours of the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg the creation art of famous Russian singers, especially the work of Shalyapin and Sobinov influenced him. In 1927 Bulbul went in Italy for getting deep knowledge of vocal art, who learned here for 4 years from the well-known musicians, benefited creative works of the well-known Italian singers. Bulbul has opened a new page in the music; his creation was an important stage in the development of vocal art.

 

Vocal works

Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s vocal creation is presented with songs and romances-gazals. Romance-ghazal genre was appeared in 1940-es in art of  U.Hajibeyov. In connection with 800 anniversary of the thinker, poet, outstanding figure of classic poetry of Azerbaijan in XII century, U.Hajibeyov had composed two vocal works on the base of the poet's two gazals “Without You (1941) and Sweetheart (1943), and so the foundation of the romance genre-ghazal was laid.

Without You and Sweetheart romance-ghazals is distinguished with style of music in terms of its originality, harmony.

Even in the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan in the period 1918-1920 National anthem, The Azerbaijani march, The Black Sea was waved had created character songs in the spirit of the patriotic hymn, which are considered as most beautiful examples of vocal  music. Words of National anthem” belongs to U.Hajibeyov, The Azerbaijani march and The Black sea was waved to Ahmad Javad. These works were considered to be lost for a long time. But they became famous and was published in Turkey. Only in 1980, they were found and restored by the employees of memorial house museum of Uzeyir  

Later vocal music became one of the main areas of Azerbaijani music, almost all the composers (especially G. Garayev, F. Amirov, T. Guliyev, A. Huseynzade, V. Adigozalov, etc well-known composers) had addressed more to this genre. Bulbul, R. Behbudov, M. Babayev, F. Gasimova, X. Qasımova, A. Zeynalov, T. Amrah, etc. artists are considered vocalist having special place in Azerbaijani music. 

In rock music using of the electronic musical instruments, being satisfied with playing music made by self is a second-degree and sometimes it leads to wrong ideas. Therefore, the belonging of some of the music kinds to rock is under question. At the same time kinds of fashion, subcults like hippies, punks, gots is closely connected with rock. Rock has light light rock-n-roll (rock and roll) and aggressive grindcore kind. Songs can narrate of light and free, deep and philosophical themes. Sometimes rock and pop music are compared with each other. In fact, between the rock and pop concepts there is no clear boundary many kinds of music kinds remain between them.

The main development centers of rock are in the United States and Western Europe. The United Kingdom is leading rock loving country.

The rock music is widely spread in Azerbaijan 1966- 75. At that time, the youth listened Western rock music on radio waves. More young people who wanted to listen quality music, listened groups like Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Animals. In universities, cultural houses, schools rock groups were created. Many faced difficulties in understanding the words of the music played in foreign languages, so when the original word played was not used always.

As Azerbaijan is a country with a great musical culture there was no special control over the nature of this music coming from the west. Komsomol Committee was the main organizer of rock festivals. However, it was necessary to make up for the communist slogans for concert.

In 1960-70-es Eksulap (Medical University), Khurramids (University of Economics), Color and rock groups were created and lived by youth. Compared to the influence of Western music of the 70-es they created their own musical style. These included “Jur-ba-Jur (under the leadership Jahangir Garayev), Brevis, Three fire.

2 groups  played a major role in the formation of the rock music style. They are Expriment Ok and Ashugs (under the leadership of Ali Shihkaliyev) group. Ashugs in own music uses oud, tar, and  kamancha. Elkhan Shikhaliyev also played saxophone in Experiment OK group. Unformal group has been awarded the Red Crescent Prize for the best rock groups in 2001, in BIC Fest 01 festival. Even American radiostations wanted to sound the composition “I’ll hope  there'll be played but due to lower qualities of sound they have failed to do it.

Presently the audience of Azerbaijani rock music is weak. But, nevertheless, such groups continue to function, and often perform concert programs in foreign countries.  

Hip-Hop (Rap) music was appeared in the United States in 1970. This type of music, which is not accepted by whites, was criticisized and was oppressed. Then music experts assumed that rap was formed among blacks and would disappear among them. But despite all this, within a short time rap started to spread all over Europe.

This genre known in Azerbaijan since the early of 1990 was met by the people with great sympathy. Role of Azerbaijan's National Hero Chingiz Mustafayev in the development of rap, its popularity is irreplaceable. In addition, Chingiz Mustafayev was the founder of first disco-club in Azerbaijan. At that time songs of popular Snap, Dr.Alban negro groups were sounded. Thus, Chingiz Mustafayev recorded his name as a first man brought Negro rap in Azerbaijan.

Then with the Poor song song Anar Nagilbaz composed the first rap in Azeri. In 1993, the album presented by A. Nagılbaz to public was a cause of interest than it was expected. This enre already caused an interest in each. Winner of Patriotic Song Contest “Deyirman group later became popular with “Garabagh or Death song.

Elshad Khose’s Life is unchanged album was met by rap funs with interest.

In 2000 Anar Nagilbaz gathered talented young people around self by Azeri Image Service project. At this project, known as the first rapper girl McRain proved that rap was not only for boys.

In 2001-2002, a new rapper Uran (Ibrahim Ibrahimov) stepped into the world of rap.

Besides Deyirman group in 2002 Uran and in 2009 Chaos rap groups were created.

Children songs 

It is one of the most common types of music kinds in Azerbaijan. A. Zeynalli had laid the foundation of  children's music for the first time with Child suita work in the history of Azerbaijani music. Later many Azerbaijani composers appealed to the topic of children throughout their works. 

 

The list of most popular children's songs:

1. Chıq-chıq (Lyrics: Ilyas Tapdiq,  Music: Nariman Mammadov)

2. Sportsmen's song (Lyrics: Hussein Abbaszadeh, Music: Ganbar Huseynli)

3. Needle (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

4. Echo (Lyrics: Khanumana Alibayli, Music: Hokuma Najafova)

5. Birthday (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

6. Apple (Lyrics: Mehdi Seyidzade, Music: S.Rustamov)

7. Mother and daughter (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Ramiz Mustafayev)

8. Pear (Lyrics: Khanumana Alibayli, Music: Shafiga Akhundova)

9. Bear (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Midhat Akhmedov)

10. Our garden (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

11. Spring (Lyrics: Yusif Hasanbey, Music: Vasif Adigozalov)

12. Spring comes (Lyrics: Yusif Hasanbey, Music: Ramiz Mustafayev)

13. Little Captain (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

14. I am little oil worker (Lyrics: Rafik Zeka, Music: Telman Aliyev)

15. Little hunter (Lyrics: Hikmat Ziya, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

16. Song of Bip-bip (Lyrics: Teymur Elchin Music: FAmirov)

17. Our Baku subway station (Lyrics: Hikmat Ziya, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

18. Our ship (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

19. Our yard (Lyrics: Teymur Elchin, Music: F.Amirov)

20. Calf (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

21. The third (Lyrics: Teymur Elchin, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

22. Chickens (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Ganbar Huseynli)

23. Dragonfly (Lyrics: Yusif Hasanbey, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

24. Live corner (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Midhat Akhmedov)

25. Mountains (Lyrics: Mehdi Seyidzade, Music: S.Rustamov)

26. Friendship Train (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

27. My hare (Lyrics: Yusif Hasanbey, Music: Ganbar Huseynli)

28. O, my brave army! (Lyrics: Hikmat Ziya, Music: Emin Mahmudov)

29. Beautiful Land (Lyrics: Teymur Elchin, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

30. Flowers (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Midhat Akhmedov)

31. The Sun (Lyrics: Aydin Ibrahimov, Music: T. Bakikhanov)

32. I would be the sun (Lyrics: Khanimana Alibayli, Music: Hokuma Najafova)

33. Sun, come! (Lyrics: Mehdi Seyidzade, Music: S.Rustamov)

34. Come spring (Lyrics: Teymur Elchin,  Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

35. Come on (Lyrics: Teymur Elchin, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

36. Young gardeners (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Ganbar Huseynli)

37. Young Sportsmen's song (Lyrics: Hikmat Ziya, Music: M.Mirzayev)

38. Village (Lyrics: Yusuf  Hasanbey, Music: Nazim Aliverdibeyov)

39. Small cook (Lyrics: Yusif Hasanbey, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

40. Small fishermen (Lyrics: Hikmat Ziya, Music: Efser Javanshirova)

41. Toy (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

42. My toy is ill (Lyrics: Yusif  Hasanbey, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

43. Layla (Lyrics: Sardar Asad, Music: Ramiz Mustafayev)

44. I’ll go to school (Lyrics: Ilyas Hasanbeyr, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

45. Pupils (Lyrics: Anvar Alibayli, Music: I. Guliyev)

46. My toys (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Midhat Akhmedov)

47. Mastan (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Ganbar Huseynli)

48. Drive my car (Lyrics: Yusif  Hasanabey, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

49. Deer (Lyrics: Mehdi Seyidzade, Music: S. Rustamov)

50. Sawn (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

51. Cattle comes (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

52. Land of Fire (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Amirov)

53. Father Winter (Lyrics: Mehdi Seyidzade, Music: S.Rustamov)

54. Winter Song (Lyrics: T. Mutallibov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

55. Winter song (Lyrics: Teymur Elchin, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

56. Red balloon (Lyrics: Jahangir Mammadov, Music: Agabajı Rzayeva)

57. Rose (Lyrics: Sardar Asad, Music: Ramiz Mustafayev)

58. Black girl (Lyrics: Ilyas Tapdiq, Music: Nariman Mammadov)

59. Train (Lyrics: Zeynal Jabbarzade, Music: F.Amirov)

60. Entertainment (Lyrics: Khanimana Alibayli, Music: Oktay Zulfugarov)

61. Birds song (Lyrics: Hikmat Ziya, Music: Rasim Badalov)

62. My dear chap (Lyrics: Mehdi Seyidzade, Music: S.Rustamov)

63. My dear chap (Lyrics: Zeynal Jabbarzade, Music: F.Amirov)

64. Hello, our school (Lyrics: Hussein Abbaszadeh, Music: Ganbar Huseynli)

65. Caspian Sea (Lyrics: Mehdi Seyidzade, Music: Said Rustamov)

66. Welcome, New Year (Lyrics: Hikmat Ziya, Music: Agabaji Rzayeva)

The history of folk dances of Azerbaijan is very old. The scenes of dances reflected on Gobustan rock pictures are proof of that. Like in many nations of the world Azerbaijanis also had as first dances the ritual and hunting dances. 

Beginning since early the medieval centuries various types of folk dances began to form. 

Azerbaijani folk dances are very colorful from the viewpoint of themes and these types are – labor, ceremony, household, heroism, sport, chorus game (e.g. “Yallı”, “Halay”) etc. For terms of continuation, richness of the rituals and colorful the marriage ceremony is most important. 

Azerbaijani folk dance as a rule  consists of 3 parts: the 1st part is speedy,  dance on circle; the 2nd part is lyrical, as if the dancer frees on spot (“dances slowly”), the body is sharp and is strong and proud; the 3rd part – again dance on circle, ceremonial and with big emotional ardour. The dances of male and female shaprly differ from each other. The development of female dance is conditioned with costumer: long skirt defined the tender movement of feet, the dance is focused entirely on used technique of upper parts of arm and corpse (shoulder, head, mimics of face etc).The main feature of male dance is technique of feet. The dancer stands quickly on the tiptoe, and goes down ion knees, etc. 

The musical volume of Azerbaijani dances is – 6/8 and 3/4. Dances are mainly performed by folk dance people dances: the trio of zournas (2 zourna və sazanda trios), these dances are accompanied by (tar, kamancha) etc.

 

Most spread folk dances are:

Abayı

Alçagulu

Asma Kasma 

Asta Qarabaghi

Avarı

Ay beri bakh (Hey, look at me)

Azerbaijan 

Banovsha (Violet) 

Birilliant 

Çhalpapaq

Jamyşh bagha girdi (The buffalo entered the garden)

Chattadı

Chahribeyim

Jangi 

Jeyrani

Chit tuman

Darchini

Dartma, yakham cyrildy – Don’t pull me, my shirt is torn

Dasmalı

Anzali 

Gelin atlandı – bride on horse

Gelin getirme – bride bringing

Gelin havası – bride tune 

Gulgaz (dance)

Gulmeyi

Heyvagulu

İki arvadlı – with two wives

İnnabı 

Kechi mamasi –goat breast  

Kendiri

Kasme

Koroghlu 

Koroghlu’s  return

Lala - Tulip 

Mirvari – Pearl 

Mirzayi

Misri

Mujassama

Naznazı

Pahlavanı

Gaytaghy

Gazaghy

Gitqilda

Gızılgul 

Gizlar bulaghi- maiden spring 

Gochali

Gofta 

Rangi

Shahsevani

Shalakho

Samukh 

Sarybash –Yellow head 

Sheki

Samani 

Tamara 

Tarakama

Toy reqsi -Wedding dance

Turajy

Uch badam, bir goz – Three almonds, one walnut 

Uzundara

Vaghzaly

Velachola

Khalabajy

Khanchobany

Yallı

Yerli reqs –Local dance

Yuz bir- one hundred one

Zoghaly