Turkmenistan Arts and Literature


The motifs in the oldest Turkmenic sago tax are common to the Turkish and Iranian peoples of the area and developed into orally traditioned epics of both heroic and romantic nature. The most famous verse story is “Kör-oglu” (“The Son of the Blind”, 16th-16th century), with a vengeance at the center. A classic in the 18th century Turkmen word art was Mahtumkuli, who renewed the lyrical form.

Turkmenistan Population Pyramid

  • Countryaah: Population and demographics of Turkmenistan, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.

In the mid-1920’s, Turkmen newspapers and magazines began to be published, and a writer’s association was established in 1934. The foremost name of modern Turkmen literature is Berdy Kerbabayev, whose “Nebit Day” (1957; not in Swedish translation), about oil workers at Caspian the sea, has become a Soviet classic.


The music culture in Turkmenistan is akin to the surrounding Turkmen: Turks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Uzbekers. A large part of the folk songs are linked to work in agriculture and livestock. Folk dances are few and simple. Bağşji is a title bestowed on outstanding singers, poets, storytellers and musicians. These have traditionally been of high status and, since independence in 1991, have gained renewed importance for national development.

Classical poetry by the poet Machtumguli Pyragi (1733-82) forms the basis of an artful music that is sung to the lute dozen or spitgigan gidzjak. Widespread is the epic, the one, which is sung by special bards, ozan.

The instrumental music is highly valued and can be divided into three main categories: shepherd music and folk songs on the pipe- leaf instrument diliit邦jd邦k and gidzjak, versions of classical songs on the flute t邦jd邦k and lutan komuz as well as richly developed solo pieces for dutar, including a version of a central form of music Turkmenistan is called mukam (compare maqam, mugam shashmakam). In Dutar music, considered the foremost Turkmen music form, the emphasis is on impact techniques, tone and rhythm. As elsewhere in Central Asia are toj, festivities in connection with e.g. Baptism, circumcision and wedding, common occasions for performing music.

In the Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan, during the 1930’s, a musical life was developed around new institutions (cultural houses and music schools) and a centralization of cultural life. Several folk instrument orchestras were created. The music ethnologist and composer Viktor Uspensky (1879-1949) wrote works on Turkmen music and the first symphonic works on Turkmen motifs. Later composers are Nuri Chalmamedov (1940-83) and Chari Nurimov (1941-93). Overall, however, Western art and popular music have played a limited role. In the 21st century, restrictions on opera, ballet and recorded music were introduced. Several Turkmen popular music artists are active abroad, including Sinan Erbil (born 1965).

Turkmenistan Arts and Literature