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Turkish Folk Music between Ghent and Turkey

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Shaped by the processes of migration, diasporization and cosmopolitanization, musical performance conditions and contexts constantly change, while new musical forms emerge and evolve. The development of Turkish folk music is well-documented and provides rich material for study in the motherland and in the diaspora. This book explores, describes, interprets and links musical, contextual and functional aspects of Turkish folk music in contemporary Turkey and the Turkish diaspora in the Belgian city of Ghent.

The Turkish presence in Ghent is particularly interesting in its size (approximately ten per cent of the population) and constitution (mostly originating in the West Anatolian town of Emirdağ). Anchored in detailed ethnographic reality, this book expands our views on what Turkish folk music signifies in the early twenty-first century, and adds to the understanding and appreciation of this multifaceted, topical musical phenomenon.

This book’s multi-sited, transnational and comparative outlook is unique, with an added dimension generated by the inclusion of rural and small-town contexts that complement the urban perspective. It makes new contributions to scholarship in this area by including the transcription and analysis of performance styles, the evaluation of Turkish Radio and Television discourses and practices, and the exploration of understudied research contexts of Ghent and Emirdağ.

Published: Oct 22, 2021


Section Chapter Authors
List of Figures and Tables Liselotte Sels
Preface and Acknowledgements Liselotte Sels
Prologue Liselotte Sels
Turkish Folk Music in a Transnational Context Liselotte Sels
Chapter 1
A Brief History of Turkish Music in Ghent Liselotte Sels
Chapter 2
The Turkish Folk Music Network in Ghent Liselotte Sels
Chapter 3
Turkish Folk Music in Theory and Practice Liselotte Sels
Chapter 4
Turkish Folk Music Notation and the TRT Archive Liselotte Sels
Chapter 5
Turkish Folk Music Events in Turkey and Ghent Liselotte Sels
Chapter 6
Contextual and Musical Aspects of Performances in Turkey and Ghent Liselotte Sels
Chapter 7
Case Study of a Song: 'Hüdayda' Liselotte Sels
Chapter 8
Musical Functions in Turkey and Ghent Liselotte Sels
Looking Back and Forward Liselotte Sels
End Matter
Notes Liselotte Sels
Bibliography Liselotte Sels
Appendix 1: Remarks on the Turkish Language Liselotte Sels
Appendix 2: Glossary of Turkish Terms Liselotte Sels
Appendix 3: Attended Events Liselotte Sels
Appendix 4: Visited Institutions and Consulted Informants in Turkey Liselotte Sels
Index Liselotte Sels


The book concerns scholars and musicians interested in the current state of Turkish folk repertoires. Indeed, Sels brilliantly summarises the debates which address some of the issues raised in previous research, including the influence that Kemalist Reforms had on musical language (Stokes 1992) and the lack of studies of the ‘aesthetic crisis of Turkish music’ (Greve 2017). Moreover, Sels’s book fits into the line of case studies of musical practices in diaspora, which abound in the ethnomusicological world, and she is the first researcher to explore the topic in the Belgian context. Her research attests to the status of a traditional music repertoire other than Flemish or Walloon and opens the door to other studies of the musical practices of migrant communities in the country.
Ethnomusicology Forum