Infobox Instrument
names=Zurla,Surnay,Zournas,Zurnas,Zurma,Sornai,Lettish horn,Surla,Surna,Surlja,Tuiduk

classification=Double reed

:"For other meanings, see Zurna (disambiguation)"

:"For other spellings, see Surna (disambiguation)"

The "zurna" (also called "surnay", birbynė, lettish horn, surla, sornai, zournas, zurma) is a double-reed outdoor wind instrument, usually accompanied by a davul (bass drum) in Anatolian folk music. Organologically, the zurna differs from the "ney", a quiet double-reed instrument with a plaintive sound compared to the loud, strident zurna. The mey has a reed as large as the body of the instrument compared to the small zurna reed.Tuiduk is a wind instrument (similar to surnai). Turkmen say that Adam who was moulded from clay had no soul. It is said that it was only due to the melodious tuiduk playing Archangel Gabriel could breath life into Adam. According to a Turkmen legend the main role in tuiduk invention was played by the devil (note the term ″devil openings,″ "şeytan delikleri", in Turkish for the small apertures on the bell). There is a ritual of inviting guests for a celebration which has survived from ancient times. Two tuiduk players stand in front each other, point their instruments upwards and play in unison. While doing this they perform magic circular movements which remind that this ritual used to be linked to shamanism.

Characteristics and history

It has 5 or 7 finger holes above and one finger hole below. It is similar to the Mizmar. The Zurna had often been featured in the Ottoman military bands. Zurnas are also used in the folk music of the countries in the region, especially Turkey, Armenia, Bosnia, Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Iran and the other Caucasian countries. It has origins in ancient Egypt, and has now spread throughout the Islamic world, China, and Eastern Europe. In Russian folk music, it is used in sad folk songs. It is often used in the music of Lithuania and Belarus, where bands such as Sutaras and Stary Olsa use them in traditional music.

The Zurna is most likely the immediate predecessor of the European Shawm as well as related to the Chinese Suona still used today in temple and funeral music. The Japanese "charumera", or "charamera", traditionally associated with itinerant noodle vendors is a small zurna, its name deriving from the Portuguese "chirimiya". Few, if any noddle vendors continue this tradition and, if any, would undoubtedly use a loudspeaker playing a recorded charumera.

There are several types of zurnas. They all share one and the same sound inductor - the so called "kalem" - which is actually a very tight (and short) double reed, sometimes made out of wheat leaves. The longest (and lowest) is the Kaba zurna, used in northern Turkey and Bulgaria. As a rule of thumb, a zurna is conical and made of wood.

Etymology and terminology

Oldest Turkish records suruna in Codex Cumanicus(CCM fol. 45a) < Persian word that is combined of two parts:
# Sur = festival & red
# Nay / Na = Reed / Pipe ". [ Picken, Laurence. Folk Music Instruments of Turkey. Oxford University Press. London. p. 485 ] .

Terminology in Anatolia

Turkish terminology

1. Head and reed
* zaynak Ankara
* nazik Abdal
* ula Uludağ
* çatal Çankırı
* zinak Diyarbakır - Kurdish
* nezik Gaziantep
* fasla Kırklareli
* zaynak - Kurdish

2. Pipe
* metef Ankara
* metem Abdal
* çığırdan Uludağ
* demir Çankırı
* bülbülük Diyarbakır
* kanel Kırklareli
* metef - Kurdish
* lüle Sivas

almiej (Zalejka, hornpipe)

Reconstruction of the European reed instruments known since the 11th century. The instrument is made by master Todar Kaskurevic. In Belarus, common people called hornpipes zalejkas since the 11th century, while the dukes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania called them salmiejs.


Reed instrument a folk oboe with a conical body made of wood or horn (ever buree = horn), widening towards the end. It has seven finger holes and one thumbhole. A metal staple carries the reed and a lip-disc in the shape of a funnel. The short form of the instrument is known as "haidi", meaning 'flute of the sea'.

ee also



External links

* [http://www.duduk.ca/dudukhtml/zurnafingiring.html zurna fingiring]
* [http://www.duduk.ca/dudukhtml/zurna.html Armenian Zurna By master Arthur Grigoryan ]
* [http://musicalconfrontations.com/MC5/wlc/mcb/cul/mim/mfl/mtm/foc/JNS/jns0000000002.htm History of the Zurna, from ancient times until the 18th century; in German: Janissary instruments and Europe]
* [http://www.fromnorway.net/yaylas/zurna/zurna_faq.htm Zurna-FAQ] This site is trying to answer the typical questions a beginner has about zurna, explains and illustrates key techniques a zurna player must master.
* [http://www.kabazurna.cjb.net KabaZurna] This site is mostly in Turkish but has pictures from the making, sound clips etc.. The kabazurna, the largest member in size of the zurna family, has a smaller employment area than the other folk music instruments. On the other hand, it is the primary instrument of Mehter music and folk dancing music

Turkish people whose roots are based on the military since the plains of the Central Asia have a completely exceptional music and band owning different characteristics than other world nations with respect to meaning and importance also to music and performance. This band of Turkish people is called mehteran and the music mehter musikisi.

The documents which demonstrate the existence of the mehter musikisi expressing the feeling of the Turkish soldiers reach out very early ages. Literarily, mehter is used as harmonica player, tent maker and kavas. The word called mihter in Persian language means also the greatest and majestic. Mehterhane is the name of the group of players before the acceptance of the military band by the Ottomans.

Mehter being the Ottoman military music arose in the era of Osman Gazi and had been played in the wars and in the ceremonies organized for various aims everyday in accordance with the custom. There isn’t, however, definite information about this organization until the era of Fatih. With Fatih, while the establishment of the empire was improving, a radical improvement started also in the mehter organization.

Mehter tunes are found as old as XVIth century. Nevertheless, it is known that Abdülkadir Meragi, the great Turkish music master, came the Ottoman land during the era of Yıldırım Beyazıd Han and composed some mehter melodies for the Turkish military. In the period, Nefiri Behram Ağa and Emir-i Hac also wrote some mehter tunes. Mehter bands played some compositions of Hasan Can and Gazi Giray Han of Kırım, too. There was a great development in Turkish music in XVIIth century. In the mean time, mehter-s such as Zurnazenbaşı (head of the zurna players) İbrahim Ağa, Zurnazen Daği, Ahmed Çelebi from Edirne, Mehter Ahmed from Edirne composed also mehter tunes.

Evliya Çelebi gave important data about mehterhane and mehter musikisi in the middle of XVIIth century. “There are 300 artists in mehterhane-i Hümayun (the mehterhane of the palace) in Istanbul. These are quite precious and well paid people. There is additionally a mehter takımı of 40 people in Yedikule since there is a citadel. They are on duty three times a day, in other words they give three concerts, so that public listens to Turkish military music. This is a law of Fatih. Moreover, there are 1.000 mehter artists in addition to them in Istanbul. Their bands are in Eyüp Sultan, Kasımpaşa (kapdan-ı Deryalık, the center of Turkish Naval Forces), Galata, Tophane, Rumelihisarı, Beykoz, Anadolu Hisarı, Üsküdar and Kız Kulesi. These mehter bands are on duty (i.e. give concerts) twice a day, in the daybreak and sunset hour.”

Mehterhane preserved its existence changing continuously until the Janissary corps was abolished. According to its final form, each one was composed of nine davul-s, nine zurna-s, nine nakkare-s, nine cymbals and nine horns. This band was called Dokuz katlı mehterhane (mehterhane composed of instruments, each instrument’s number is nine). Mehter had many improvements in its music and performance parallel to its organization and establishment. Furthermore, renovations in the areas of art and culture influenced the music also. The studies and compositions of the music teachers of the palace in XVIIth century such as Hanende Recep Çelebi, Zurnazenbaşı İbrahim Ağa, Eyyubi Mehmet Çelebi, Solakzade Mehmed Hendemi (at the same time very famous historian) and III. Selim, the sultan and one of the great music masters of XVIIth century, had influence on the renovation of the mehter musikisi and the growing of the repertoire.

This well known and traditional organization was annulled while the radical and western types of reforms were taken place in the Ottoman Empire in the era of II. Mahmut (1808 - 1839). As “European style of music shows” were widened with the impact of the reformist efforts of the palace and its environment, II. Mahmud left the mehter aside and wanted a military band to be established in accordance with the western precedents. Muzıka-i Humayun (the military band of the palace) began officially to function in 1831 and this was the beginning of an obscure period in the history of the mehter having a past of at least 500 years

The documents reached from the ancient time to the present indicate that yurağ (zurna), sıbızgı (sipsili nefir, the horn), the horn of Hun (şahnay), burguv (the horn), kuğruv (kös), tümrük (davul) ve çeng (the cymbals) were the instruments in the tuğ band of the Turks in the central Asia.

There were two types of the zurna in the Ottomans. One of them called the kabazurna having a low tone was played in the mehterhane-s of the Ottomans and Kırım. 100 instrumentalists had played the kabazurna in XVIIth century in Istanbul. The other called the curazurna, small in size and having high tone was played in accompaniment of the davul or the çifte na’ra. Evliya Çelebi wrote “There are boathouses belonging to the sovereigns. If the sultan wants to go to the new-palace or somewhere else, he travels at the back of a light galley under the precious dome on the jewel throne by watching the waterside houses, vineyards and orchards and shipyards on the side of Haliç with the accompaniment of only the curazurna and the çifte na’ra performing“, while he was talking about the garden of the shipyard in Istanbul. The curazurna as the small zurna was planned to be added to the military mehter takımı, which was intended to be established by Enver Paşa in 1917. There were the kabazurna producers in Istanbul in XVIth century.

The musical instruments played in the mehterhane of the Ottomans could be classified as follows:

Wind Instruments

The Kabazurna, the Cura zurna, the Horn, the Mehter pipe, the clarinet

Percussion Instruments

The Kös, the Davul, the Nakkare, the Tabılbaz, the Def

The Cymbals and the Rattles

The Cymbals, the Çoğan

The Mehter bands were divided structurally into squadrons having a commander called bölükbaşı. The number of these squadrons was equal to the number of the kinds of the musical instrument; squadrons of the zurna players, of the horn players, of the nakkare players, of the cymbal players, of the davul players, of the kös players, of the çoğan players.

Zurnazenler Bölüğü (the squadron of the zurna players) has a squadron master called zurnazen who has also the identity of mehterbaşı (head of the mehter). Other members of the squadron were called zurnacı or zurnazen whose rank was the soldier. Zurnazen-s were dressed in purple quilted cap wrapped by a white destar on their head, a white robe, sash around the waist, red shalwar, yellow yemeni (light, flat heeled shoes) and red biniş (cübbe).

The zurna is the most fundamental music instrument of the mehter band. It can play all the melodies in solo. Its sound is colorful, lively, pastoral, imposing, emotional and frisky. Sliding sounds and short and sharp sound can be obtained. Many virtuosos of this music instrument, the most convenient instrument for highly performing art among the Turkish music instruments, such as zurnazenbaşı İbrahim Ağa and Daği Ahmed Çelebi from Edirne whose name are still very well-known were bought up. Moreover, there are great zurna masters among Ottoman pashas such zurnazen Mustafa Paşa.

* [http://www.macedoniadirect.com/instruments/zurla.htm Zurla]
* [http://exoticmusicshop.com/sf-articles-of-Zurna_oboe_-aid-26-tp-1_11.htm Historical background of Zurna]

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