Investigation of Azerbaijan folk music principles is of great significance for the further flourishing of the musical art in Azerbaijan. It represents the important field of scientific-research and musical-theoretical works in the Eastern musicology.

Azerbaijan folk music is understood not only by Azerbaijani. It is within the reach of many nations of the Soviet Union. It is especially close to the peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Therefore any kind of research on the main principles and regularities of musical art of the Azerbaijan people is of great importance.

I began my investigations into the principles of Azerbaijan folk music in 1925. There was lack of any written sources, special textbooks or manuals on the theme chosen. Therefore, I should rely only on my own observations, scrupulous study, and thorough analysis of all the samples and forms of Azerbaijan folk music.

In the course of my long years of research, I made occasional scientific reports open to scientific discussion for musicians and connoisseurs of Azerbaijan music. My goal was to excite opponents who could prove the groundlessness of my arguments. They should destroy the defense of my views on the solution of various problems concerning the main points of Azerbaijan music. Harmonious system of strict consequence of Azerbaijan modes’ scales (quart structure, quint structure, structure of minor and major sixths), on which I reported, seemed to some musicians incredible, artificial and intentionally distorted. But I proved the correctness of my suppositions by examples, illustrating folk music.

In order to verify the correctness of the principles to compose music in Azerbaijan modes (which I put forward in the II part of this book), I advised the mu­sicians to compose melodies in these modes. They should follow the given rules. Composed melodies pointed that suggested principles were defined precisely and to required de­tails.

All the conclusions and rules of this book are results repeatedly tested researches and analyses, which required scrupulous work for years.

This is a theoretical textbook to learn the main principles of Azerbaijani folk music. In addition it is a practical creative guide for composers to write music based on Azerbaijan modes.

As a scientific work, I believe that it will attract attention of musical scientists to the following phenomena:

1. the quart, quint and sixth consequence in the structure of scales;

2. the origin of increased second;

3. new types of tetrachords;

4. four ways to combine tetrachords.

I believe that all above is of interest for musicology. It may enlighten those problems of ancient music that are still unsolved, due to no traces of these peoples’ practical music are available. And above prin­ciples are direct conclusions from practical music of Azerbaijan folk.

For me, as a composer, my work to learn principles of Azerbaijan music was of great practical importance. It initiated me to compose my opera "Koroglu".

Strict laws and rules forming the basis of Azerbaijan musical art (which 1 followed while composing my opera) did not suppress my creative ideas. On the contrary, they encouraged me greatly as a strong foundation. They lightened the vast endless space of my free, creative fantasy. Despite informality of its composition and complicated mu­sical texture, the opera "Koroglu" is more understandable to Azerbaijan audience than some other musical compo­sitions based on Azerbaijan national melodies and tunes. The reason was that it was composed in the native musical language of the folk.

The great attention and interest shown to "Koroglu" by non-Azerbaijan audience proves the fact that the national character of this opera does not serve an insulating barrier. On the contrary, it brightly demonstrates its international significance.

Ancient philosophers teach us not to lose touch with folk in order not to fall in Antaeus state torn off his mother—the Earth. This instruction re­fers to those composers, who, unfortunately, subjectively approaches to their creative task and forget about the people whom they are to serve.


Uzeyir Hajibeyov. Baku, 1944



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