Azerbaijan: final thoughts

The subsequent posts on Azeri music provided detailed description and examples of the three streams of Azeri music –  the mugham system linked to Iranian urban influences, the ashiq art connected to Turkic bards, and the rural folk music. 

I do believe more attention should be give to the relationship between the three musical streams. Listening back to back to these different streams, it is not hard to follow the evolutionary perspective proposed by Kerimova (1996) and Sipos (2004), and to imagine the origins of mugham in folk music – though I do not eliminate a reflective relationship in which folk music may have been influenced by the urban musical and mugham genres as well. Underlying the resemblance is how the music draws from similar tonal material, using primarily stepwise motion of just a relatively small set of notes – a tetrachord or less. Yet, this description can also describe a layer of the folk musics for the rest of the entire Caucasus. There were some songs among the 111 Azeri folk songs I heard which reminded me of some of the more simple Georgian and Armenian folk songs and it would be an interesting yet intensive study to try to identify these similarities in a cross-Caucasian context.

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