Kurdish MUSIC


This page holds information about some of our most populars and beloved Kurdish Singers, band players, these individuals are among the finest musicians that Kurdistan has to offer and together represent a great cultural wealth of Kurdish Music.


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What is Music?


By Lorin Atroushi



Music is any kind of harmony that people enjoy listening to. It doesn't have to involve guitars, drums, or voices. What sounds better than the water streaming down from a beautiful waterfall in the middle of a dark dense forest? Music liked most is repeated with rhymes and smoothly flows repeating the same message, over and over. It is somewhat forced what kind of music you like. Attempt this, if you don't believe me. Buy a decent CD in the store of music that you have never heard. Listen to it about ten times through, and you will probably start to enjoy the beats and harmony produced. You just have to give some music a chance to find your ear. Sure, some people are prone to some kinds of music, but what I'm saying is that every kind of music can be found enjoyable. And the music you like is really only based off what music is played in your environment and accepted in your mind.

Music is science It is exact, specific; and it demands exact acoustics. A Conductor's full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody, and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.


Music is mathematical
It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done, not worked out on paper.


Music is a foreign language
The terms are in one of any language ; and the notation is certainly not English but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.


Music is history
Music usually reflects the environment and times of its
creations, often even the country and/ or racial feeling.


Music is physical education
It requires fantastic coordination of finger, hands, arms, lip, cheek, and facial muscles, in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.

Music is all of these things, but most of all

Music is art

It allows a human being to take all these dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion.

That is one thing science cannot duplicate: humanism, feeling,  emotion, call it what you will.


Kurdish Music


By Christian Poche


Kurdish music belongs to the same family as Persian music, but its main characteristic, as in Indian music, is the exploration of the octave. the basic structure is a model development in which the elements are elaborated and organized by improvisation in such a way as always to result in a melodic rhythmic conclusion. In the musical construction the improvisation at the outset is balanced by means of a measured concluding part. Kurdish music is neither learned music nor folk music, but all in one. Like Persian music, it is passionate, sensuous music, very often tinged with a profound melancholy. Although close to each other, these two worlds are very different and cannot be confused when heard, Persian music being more refined and that of the Kurds being more instinctive and more impulsive.

At first sight, the way the Kurdish musician considers his art may appear disconcerting to a westerner, for there exists no terminology indispensable in defining the phenomenon of sound. There are no precise terms relating to the art of making music; the rules, the forms, and the musical scales are in the Kurdish language all associated with concrete phenomena. the basic notation are expressed by simple terms taken from daily life and generalized. In Kurdish the word "music" is conveyed by the term "saz", a word of Persian origin which signifies both music and any musical instrument or a particular musical instrument. Another term employed in the same way is "tanbur," which likewise designates music and particular stringed instrument. This term has long been the subject of a sharp controversy: is the origin of the long-necked lute found in India and attested in ninth-century Poland by Arabic writers to be sought in Sanskrit and does it mean the instrument which gives the "tone?" Does it come from Sumer, as some authorities maintain? Or is it a legacy of the Scytho-Sarmatians and thus of the Caucasian civiliz ation?

When a Kurdish musician talks about music he never refers to concept with which we are familiar on account of formal or expressive connotations. To convey the idea of improvisation he uses a term which means "work", in the sense of "working" an instrument. A musician gifted with great inspiration is spoken of as one who knows what he has to do, a difficulty in execution is interpreted in terms of a mountain that has to be crossed. The construction of musical form can be presented as the healing of a wound, an idea that reminiscent of the thesis put forward by Rymond Ruyter in his book "La genése des formes vivantes". To denote a particular mode of maqam -the Kurds say maqãmé- also called maghmä, proper names, such as women's names, and names of religions and tribes are used. "Dersem", for instance, which is a Kurdish dance, takes its name from a region in Anatolia, an d "Sheikhane," another well-known dance, comes from the region of Djebel Sindjiar in northern Iraq. When a magam is designated by a girl's name, for example magämé Mariamé, it is understood that the remembrance of the young Mariamé has given rise to a particular melodic motif to which a modal ethos is applied. It could thus be inferred that Kurdish music, like Indian or Arabian music, utilizes an infinite numbers of modes (raga or magam). But this is not so. In fact, the musical art of the Kurds is based solely on the use of one single mode, and this bears witness to the antiquity of the culture which has developed its tradition by preserving a single scale, which the neighboring people call "kord" or Kurd (its characteristic being a minor second followed by a major second) and is none other than the Dorian mode employed by the Flamenco musicians of Spain. Are the Ku rds aware of this scale? In terms of music itself there is no doubt that they are, for if the musician deviates from the degrees prescribed for the mode and determined by the fourteen frets on the tanbura, they will notice immediately that this represent a departure from their tradition. But they have never called this scale Kord. On the contrary, they have always associated it with the spirit of an ethos. To say that a Kurd is improvising the magämé Kord in the same way that one would say that a Persian is developing Shur or that an Indian is unfolding Bhairavi, is a nonsense. One would have to be more precise and say the magämé Abdalé or magämé Mariamé, because it is the structure of the Abdalé or Mariamé song which displays the Kurd scale.




Kurdistan Democratic Party - Iraq
Information Office-Internet
Information officer Alex Atroushi
Tel: + 46 70 790 40 97    + 46 73 509 40 97