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"The Rich Cultural Heritage of Turkmen Music: An Insight"

The Rich Cultural Heritage of Turkmen Music: An Insight

Turkmen music is an integral part of the rich cultural heritage of Turkmenistan, a country located in Central Asia. With a history steeped in musical influences from nomadic tribes, Islamic traditions and the former Soviet Union, Turkmen music reflects the diverse social and political journeys of the Turkmen people.

Turkmen music, with its unique style, melody, and rhythm, is a reflection of the Turkmen people’s soul and spirit. From soulful folk tunes to the enchanting rhythms of modern music, the musical traditions of Turkmenistan are as diverse as they are fascinating. Through the ages, these diverse musical expressions have evolved, influenced by various factors and steeping the rich tradition of the country with even more richness.

Historical Context

The history of Turkmen music dates back to the pre-Islamic period where mystical and shamanic rituals played a significant role in the Turkmen culture. With the advent of Islam, the music underwent considerable changes and adjustments. Ritualistic music of ancient times evolved into stylistic music forms, reflecting social transformation and Islamic influence.

The twentieth century marked a significant shift in Turkmen music as it faced the impact of Soviet rule. The Soviet regime made a concerted effort to suppress the national identity of the Turkmen people, significantly influencing their music. This, however, did not deter the musicians who carried forward the essence of traditional music, fostering its survival and evolution.

Folk Music

Turkmen folk music forms a significant part of the country’s musical tradition. It is marked by the use of traditional instruments such as the dutar (a two-stringed lute), the gyjak (a bowed string instrument), and the tüýdük (a wind instrument), among others. Folk music in Turkmenistan is notably influenced by its pastoral nomadic culture, with many songs and melodies based on life in remote regions.

Classical Music

The classical music of Turkmenistan, often enclosed under the term “mugam,” is deeply rooted in Islamic and Persian traditions. It is often complex and intricate, requiring a high degree of musical craftsmanship to perform. The classical music of Turkmenistan is primarily spiritual, intended to evoke a particular mood or emotion.

Modern Turkmen Music

With the advent of the 21st century, modern Turkmen music has significantly emerged, infusing Western influences with traditional Turkmen tunes. Pop stars and music bands have taken centre stage, presenting a contemporary image of Turkmen music while holding strong its traditional roots.


In conclusion, the cultural heritage of Turkmen music serves as an extraordinary bridge to the past, revealing the historical, cultural, and societal evolution of the Turkmen people. Though it has undergone transformations over the centuries and has experienced influences from various other cultures, it retains its distinct identity. The rich tapestry of Turkmen music, from the soulful notes of folk songs to the beat of modern pop, is a testament to the Turkmenistan’s musical heritage’s resilience and dynamism.


What instruments are commonly used in Turkmen music?

The dutar, gyjak, and tüýdük are some of the traditional instruments used in Turkmen music.

What influence did the Soviet Union have on Turkmen music?

The Soviet Union tried to suppress Turkmenistan’s national identity, affecting its cultural traditions, including music. However, Turkmen musicians managed to keep the spirit of their music alive throughout that period.

What is the classical music of Turkmenistan like?

Classical music in Turkmenistan is deeply rooted in Islamic and Persian traditions, and it’s typically complex and spiritual in nature.

What is the nature of modern Turkmen music?

Modern Turkmen music combines Western influences with traditional Turkmen tunes. It includes a mix of pop, hip hop, rock and traditional music.

What role does music play in Turkmen culture?

Music is integral to Turkmen culture. It reflects the country’s history, traditions, beliefs, and the spirit of its people. It’s used to tell stories, express emotions, and mark significant life events.


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