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The Turkish long-necked lute or bağlama

boek baglama saz turkse langhalsluitThis book about the Turkish long-necked lute, also known as the saz or bağlama, is the first book about the instrument to be published in the Netherlands. The bağlama has a prominent position in Turkish music culture.  It serves as the core in all folk music ensembles and orchestras and is a popular instrument in arabesk, entertainment and pop music.  It is the pre-eminent instrument of Turkish music education and the religious rituals of Turkish Alevis.  Nowadays the bağlama is appearing more frequently as a solo instrument on international stages.

The instrument, belonging to the tanbur family, has a long history in Turkey.  The original two-stringed tanbur was already mentioned in pre-Islamic Persian sources.  The tanbur travelled along the Silk Road and inspired a large family of three-or more- stringed variations. Some of these instruments had strings arranged in courses, and this variety included the Turkish saz and bağlama. The book opens with the fascinating origins and development of the lute from antiquity to the present, with the aid of a geographical map.  We are introduced to many styles of the instrument including innovative modern bağlamas.  Subsequently the focus is on the production process, drawing on field research and interviews with instrument makers, including the renowned Kemal Eroğlu from Istanbul.  The different stages of construction are described as are the shapes and adornments.  Another chapter is devoted to the technique of playing. The Turkish tonal system is explained to the Western reader and this is followed, with the help of a geographical map, with an overview of Turkish folk music as it is played today.

With the exception of Laurence Picken’s ‘Folk Musical Instruments of Turkey’ from 1975, no other book gives such a complete, detailed and accessible description of all things associated with the bağlama. The book is richly illustrated (colour and black and white) and comes with a CD of recordings by Okan Murat Öztürk, demonstrating different playing techniques and instruments from the bağlama family.  The book concludes with a discography, bibliography, glossary of musical terms and an index.

Not only for lute players (Dutch and Turkish), the book will be interesting to all lovers of world music.

*This book was published with the financial support of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

Illustrated,  bound (with CD), 17 x 23 cm, 160 pages, isbn 978 909024004 6 | nur 660, price € 19,50.
Available through quality bookshops. You can also order the book from www.baglamaboek.nl, however this will involve some postage costs.