The lively Turkish folk music, which originated on the steppes of Asia, is in complete contrast to the refined Turkish classical music of the Ottoman court. Until recently, folk music was not written down, and the traditions have been kept alive by the 'asiklar', or Turkish troubadours. Distinct from Turkish folk music is Ottoman military music, now performed by the 'mehter takimi' (Janissary Band) in Istanbul, which originated in Central Asia, and is played with kettle drums, clarinets, cymbals and bells. The mystical music of the Whirling Dervishes is dominated by the haunting sound of the reed pipe or 'ney', and can be heard in Konya during the Mevlana Festival in December.
There are six varieties of traditional Turkish performing arts:
Plays are put on in accordance with rural traditions on special days, weddings and holidays.
A kind of one-act dramatic play where the narrator also imitates the various characters in the play.
Traditional show theatre, where the shadow puppets of human and animal figures, cut out of leather and colored, are thrown onto a white curtain using a light source behind it.
In style and theme resembles Karagöz, but is performed by real actors.
A mixture of Orta Oyun and western theater.