Folk songs. The songs, which are one of the oldest and most important genres of musical and poetic creativity of the Azerbaijani people, vividly reflect its pure, high spirituality, inner world, dreams, and hopes.
Azerbaijani folk songs are divided into several genre groups due to the variety of themes and content, clarity and diversity of music, and poetic language. These include labor songs, ceremonial songs, household songs (including lyrical songs), and historical songs.
One of the ancient types of song creation of the Azerbaijani people is ceremonial songs. The people's festivities, weddings, and mourning ceremonies were accompanied by traditional songs, and many of these songs still live among the people to this day. The text of these songs was composed of bayats, the most widespread form of folk literature.
Domestic songs are also divided into children's songs, humorous and satirical songs, and lyrical songs, depending on their content, form, and feelings. Children's songs, especially lullabies sung by mothers to their children, are historically the oldest types of household songs.
Lyrical songs are the richest and most beautiful type of song genre. Lyrical songs are also the largest part of this genre. Pure love, the description of the beauty of the lover, separation, anticipation, grief, sorrow, and so on. feelings are the basis of the content of lyrical songs.
Lyrical song creation has become one of the strongest means of national artistic self-expression of the people. Some of these songs are optimistic and happy in content, while others are sorrowful. Epic-historical and heroic songs also play an important role in the songwriting of the Azerbaijani people. These songs, which date back to ancient times, are dedicated to any historical event in the history of the country or to national heroes who played a significant role in the life of the people.
A series of songs about Koroglu, his lover Nigar and his comrades-in-arms are dalilar, and his faithful horse Girat are examples of this.
Dances. Along with the popular song genre, dance music is an important part of the national folk music of the Azerbaijani people. Folk dances are the basis of Azerbaijani national instrumental music. Dances have been created by the people and passed down orally from generation to generation for centuries. As in folk songs, the dances reflected the feelings, emotions, and temperament of the people.
Among folk dances, women's dances are distinguished by their lyricism, elegance, and subtlety, for example: "Vaghzali", "Uzundere". Some dances are performed only by women, such as "Nalbeki", "Jeyrani". Men's dances are full of emotions, fast rhythm, strength, and temperament. For example, "Gaitagi", "Jangi", "Gazagi", "Khanchobani", and so on.
There are also collective dances among the people. Many of them accompany the labor process and household ceremonies. For example, "Halay" dances are like this. The "Vaghzali" dance usually accompanies the wedding ceremony. One of the dances performed with women and men is "Yordu-yordu". The most widespread of the ancient collective dances is "Yalli", which has its roots in very ancient times.
Mugham. Along with song and dance music, genres of oral professional traditions of the people lived and developed in the musical folklore of Azerbaijan. The most important of them were mughams. Mughams are the pinnacle of national classical music of Azerbaijan, as well as the peoples of the Middle East, the highest creative example of folk vocal-instrumental composition with deep, complex content, ideas, emotional meaning. From ancient times, the gradual development of mugam over the centuries has led to its formation and perfection. In Azerbaijani music, the term mugham is used in two senses. The first is the same as the term mode. At present, there are 7 main modes or mugams in Azerbaijani folk music: Rast, Shur, Segah, Chahargah, Shushtar, Bayati-Shiraz, Humayun, and several additional mugams. Second, mugham is an extremely complex and interesting piece of music with a multi-part form, with only a unique structure. Mugam singers are accompanied by a singer and a group of accompanying musicians (trio-tar, kamancha, tambourine) or solo instrumentalists, depending on their creative imagination, ability, and talent, they made various changes over the centuries include new shades, bells, etc. Singers perform mugams on lyrical and philosophical ghazals of famous poets - Khagani, Nizami, Nasimi, Fuzuli, and others.
Rhythmic mughams are another type of instrumental vocal mugams in Azerbaijan. These include: "Heyrati", "Arazbari", "Ovshari", "Mansuriyya", "Simai-shams", "Kerami", "Kesme-shikesta", "Karabakh shikestasi". The main distinguishing feature of these mugams is that the singer's vocal mugam improvisational part has a precise metrorhythmic accompaniment.
Ashug creativity. The professional oral traditions of Azerbaijani music, along with mughams, include the musical and poetic creativity of ashugs. The word "ashug" comes from the word "love", which means passion (love) for art. The term originated around the fourteenth century. The art of ashug, which originated in ancient times, was very popular and popular among the people because it sang the wishes and desires of the people.
The content of ashug art, which is essentially democratic in nature, is very wide, diverse, and colorful. The most widespread genre of ashug art is epos, especially heroic-epic epics. Vocal-instrumental parts in the epics replace the spoken parts of the poem. Some of the songs of the ashugs are full of sorrow and grief, such as "Yanig Kerami", "Dilgami", and others are playful warm songs such as "Afshari", "Sharili", which are beautiful examples of ashug lyrics.
The most widespread verse in Ashug's work is syllabic. The structure of most ashug songs is in the form of couplets. At the beginning of each couplet, there is an instrumental introduction and each couplet is separated from each other by an instrumental solo.
The oldest written source dedicated to the life, love, patriotism, and courage of the ancient poets, the ancestors of modern Azerbaijani ashugs, is the folk epic "Kitabi Dada Gorgud" of the seventh century.
Historically, for many years, centuries, the music of Azerbaijani poets has had a great impact on other areas and types of our musical folklore, and later on the creativity of our composers in modern times. Our composer U.Hajibeyov was the first to use the unique features of ashug music with great professionalism and skill (in his masterpiece "Koroglu" opera). Another Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev, who skillfully combined the features of ashug music with the technical means of modern music, was able to create a beautiful unity of them in the second part of his third symphony.