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The zurna (also called surnay, birbynė, lettish horn, surla, sornai, dili tuiduk, zournas, zurma), is a multinational outdoor wind instrument, usually accompanied by a davul (bass drum) in Anatolian folk music. The name is from Turkish zurna, itself derived from Persian سرنای surnāy,[1][2] composed of سور sūr “banquet, feast” and نای nāy “reed, pipe”. 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 breathe 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 of 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

The Zurna (pronounced zewer-na), like the duduk and Kaval, is a woodwind instrument used to play Anatolian and Middle Eastern folk music. The zurna is a conical oboe, made from the fruit tree Apricot ( Prunus Armeniaca ), and uses a double reed which generates a sharp, piercing sound. Thus, it has historically been played outdoors during festive events such as weddings and holidays. It has 8 holes on the front, 7 of which are used while playing, and 1 thumbhole which provide a range of one octave.

It is similar to the Mizmar. Zurnas are also used in the folk music of the countries in the region, especially Armenia, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Greece, Assyria, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia and the other Caucasian countries, and has now spread throughout China, and Eastern Europe.

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 noodle 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 ".[3]

Terminology in Anatolia

Turkish terminology

1. Head and reed

zaynak Ankara
nazik Abdal
ula Uludağ
çatal Çankırı
zinak Diyarbakır
nezik Gaziantep
fasla Kırklareli
zaynak -

2. Pipe

metef Ankara
metem Abdal
çığırdan Uludağ
demir Çankırı
bülbülük Diyarbakır
kanel Kırklareli
metef -
lüle Sivas

Salmiej (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. (See also Google references to schalmei, some of which mention the shawm.)

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'.
See also



^ Güncel Türkçe Sözlük
^ Nişanyan Sozluk
^ Picken, Laurence. Folk Music Instruments of Turkey. Oxford University Press. London. p. 485

External links

zurna fingering
Armenian Zurna By master Arthur Grigoryan
Professional Zurna
Pontic Zourna
History of the Zurna, from ancient times until the 18th century; in German: Janissary instruments and Europe
Zurna-FAQ This site tries to answer the typical questions a beginner has about the zurna; it explains and illustrates the principal techniques a zurna player must master.
KabaZurna This site is mostly in Turkish but has pictures of making the instrument, sound clips etc..

The kabazurna, the largest member in size of the zurna family, is to be found in a smaller area than the other folk music instruments. On the other hand, it is the primary instrument of Mehter music and folk dancing music.

Historical background of Zurna

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