From the Wedding Festivity to the Music School: Master Apprentice System and Changes in the Methods of Transmission of Tradition in the Ashiq Poetic-musical Art

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Tehran UnMA. Graduate of Ethnomusicology, School of Performing Arts and Music, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.iversity

2 Associate Professor, Department of Music, School of Performing Arts and Music, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


Ashiqs who have had different characteristics, usage and functions in the history, are one of the players, singers, poets and storytellers throughout Turkic-speaking cultures, located in Turkey, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, as well as from the northwest to central provinces of Iran, such as Qom and Zanjan. The ashiq art tradition in Zanjan is performed in many contexts, including wedding ceremonies, coffee houses, concerts, urban festivals, and professional festivals. Although each of these contexts has its own characteristics but the most important and common context, however, is wedding ceremony. This context is not only the main source of ashiq’s income, but also this is during these wedding ceremonies that nearly all parts of the society can face with ashiq, hear and see his performance and request their desired music from him and finally evaluate ashiq and his performance. These poet-musicians are required to learn some skills in order to begin to perform in the wedding ceremonies as a professional musician. In this paper, based on qualitative research method and fieldwork in Zanjan, we are going to study the ways in which this tradition is going on in the culture. This is important question, because we can understand the values of the system during the process of learning and teaching. Using theoretical concepts of Edward Hall, who propose informal, formal and technical learning, and Alan Merriam, who propose enculturation, socialization, education and schooling, we will show that in the traditional (pre-modern) methods of transmission of tradition ashiqs have learnt their profession informally through the process of enculturation in the wedding ceremonies. It was necessary for each apprentice to accompany a master ashiq by playing qaval (a kind of drum) in the ceremonies for many years in order to learn the ways of playing, singing and managing ceremony and audience. But, today, during the process of learning and teaching through modern methods, some changes occurred which caused separation of apprentice from context of learning of this profession (wedding ceremonies) which, in turn, caused disappearance of some musical and poetic genres, such as dastan. Later, all genres were introduced to apprentice in the wedding ceremonies, but today ashiqs will no longer be familiar with the context of performance and will be unable to make an active contact with their audience, perform audience’s musical and poetic requests and manage the ceremony. Moreover, modern methods of transmission of tradition divided the process of learning into separated parts: some musical courses are held for playing saz, the books are used for learning and memorizing poems and then CDs and cassettes for learning dastans and havas. More than anything, modern ways of learning and teaching emphasize on musical abilities instead of poems and dastans and try to introduce new musical-poetic values to ashiqs and then audience. Thus, the changes which have occurred in the methods of transmission of this musical-poetic system is going to change the musical values of the musicians as well as musical taste of audiences, however, there are some opposing forces which may conflict to these changes.


استراوس، انسلم و جولیت کربین (1394)، مبانی پژوهش کیفی، فنون و مراحل تولید نظریۀ زمینه‌ای، ترجمۀ ابراهیم افشار، نشر نی، تهران.
درویشی، محمدرضا (1383)، دائره المعارف سازهای ایران، ماهور، تهران.
فاطمی، ساسان (1393)، جشن و موسیقی در فرهنگهای شهریِ ایرانی، ماهور، تهران.
قفقازیالی، علی (1388)، مناطق عاشیقی ترکان ایران، ترجمۀ احمد بشیر (شاهین)، به کوشش بهروز ایمانی، نشر اختر، تبریز.
کوپریلی، محمدفؤاد (1385)، صُوفیان نخستین در ادبیّات ترک. ترجمه و توضیحِ توفیق هـ . سبحانی، انجمن آثار و مفاخر فرهنگی، تهران.
محرمی، مهدی (1395)، موسیقی عاشیقی در بستر اجتماعی زنجان، پایان‌نامه‌ی کارشناسی ارشد، دانشگاه هنر تهران.
نلر، جورج (1388)،  انسان‌شناسی تربیتی، ترجمۀ محمدرضا آهنچیان و یحیی قائدی، آییژ، تهران.
نیک‌آیین، بهرنگ (1395)،آشیق‌لار بایرامی: عاشیق‌های ایران زیر یک سقف، ماهنامه گزارش موسیقی، مرداد، شماره 83، 56-57.
Albright, Charlotte (1976), The Music of Professional Musicians of Northwestern Iran (Azerbaijan), PhD Dissertation, University of Washington.
Başgöz, İlhan (1952), Turkish Folk Stories about the Lives of Minstrels, The Journal of American Folklore, Vo. 65, No. 258, pp.331-339.
Başgöz, İlhan (1970), Turkish Hikaye Telling Tradition in Azerbaijan, Iran, Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 83, No. 330, pp.391–405.
Başgöz, İlhan (1975), The Tale Singer and His Audience: an Experiment to Determine The Effect of Different Audiences on a Hikaye Performance, In Folklore: Performance and Communication, ed. Dan Ben Amos and Kenneth Goldstein, 143–203, The Hague, Mouton.
Başgöz, İlhan (1978), Structure of Turkish Folk Romance Hikaye, In Folklore Today, ed. Linda Degh, Henry Glassie, and Felix Oinas, 12–23, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.
Başgöz, İlhan (1986), Digression in Oral Narrative: A Case Study in Oral Narrative by Turkish Romance Tellers, Journal of American Folklore, No.99, pp.5-23.
Başgöz, İlhan (1998), Turkish Folklore and Oral Literature: Selected Essays of Ilhan Basgoz,
ed. Kemal Silay, Indiana University Turkish Studies, Bloomington.
Başgöz, İlhan (2008), Hikaye, Turkish Folk Romance as Performance Art, Indiana University,
Eldarova, Əminə (1984), Iskusstvo ashugov Azerbaidjana, Ishiq, Baku.
Erdener, Yildiray (1987), Dueling Singers: Strategies and Interaction Processes among Turkish Minstrels, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University.
Hall, Edward (1959), The Silent Language, Doubleday, Garden City, New york.
Khaligh-zade, Fattakh (2009),Training System in Azerbaijani Ashiq Music Tradition, In Sacered Knowledge: Schools or Revelation, Ed. Razia Sultanova: 26-35, Lambert Academic Publishing, Köln.
Markoff, Irene Judith (1986), Musical Theory, Performance, and the Professional Baglama Specialist in Turkey, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington.
Merriam, Alan P. (1964), The Anthropology of Music, North Western University Press, Illinois.
Nettl, Bruno (2015),How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Teaching and Learning, The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-One Issues and Concepts, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago.
Oldfield, Anna (2008), Women aşiqs of Azerbaijan: Tradition and Transformation. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Qasımlı, Mәhәrrәm (2003),Ozan Aşıq Sәnәti, Uğur, Baku.
Rice, Timothy (2003),The Ethnomusicology of Music Learning and Teaching, College Music Symposium, Vol. 43, pp. 65-85.