Since I reference these instruments when talking to my students, I thought it might be a good idea to put up a quick guide to the instruments you’ll hear most often in Turkish music.
A fretless lute with a big, bowl-shaped body. The most common type of lute heard in oriental music.
A goblet shaped drum played with the hands. Known in Arabic as a doumbek or tabla.
A stringed instrument related to the dulcimer and zither. The strings are plucked with the fingers.
A frame drum.
A tambourine. (“Zilli” = with cymbals, so literally a frame drum with cymbals.)
A two headed drum hung on a cord worn around the neck and played with sticks. Very common in Roman music, probably due to its portability.
These names are often used interchangeably. They are lutes with smaller bodies than the oud, used in central Anatolian folk music and classical Ottoman music.
A reed flute.
A stringed instrument that looks much like a banjo. They were developed in Istanbul in the 1930s as a cheaper alternative to the oud.
An ancestor of the oboe, with a strong, whining sound. Associated with mehter (military) music.
Wooden spoons. Played in southern Turkey, often while dancing.
Cymbals. Generally refers to finger cymbals. “Ziller” is simply the plural of “Zil”.