String Instruments

The History of the Saz: From Traditional Music to Modern Innovations

The saz is a long-necked stringed instrument that originates from Turkey. It is also known as the ba─člama and has been a central instrument in traditional Turkish music for centuries. Over time, the saz has evolved to incorporate modern innovations, making it a versatile and popular instrument in various genres of music across the world. In this article, we will delve into the rich history of the saz and how it has become an essential part of musical traditions.

The Origins of the Saz and The Role of the Saz in Turkish Music

The saz has a rich and complex history that spans over 1,000 years. It is believed that the instrument was first introduced by Central Asian nomads who migrated to Anatolia during the 8th century. The early versions of the saz had three strings and were played by plucking the strings with a plectrum. Over time, the saz evolved to incorporate more strings and became an essential instrument in Ottoman classical music.

In Turkish music, the saz is an instrument that represents the soul of a musician. It is traditionally played to accompany solo vocalists and is used in various genres of music, including folk and classical. The saz is often tuned to different modes or maqams, which are scales that create the mood and atmosphere of the music being played. The intricate playing techniques of the saz have been passed down from generation to generation, making it an important part of Turkish musical heritage.

Boma Music and the Globalization of the Saz

In recent years, the saz has gained popularity outside of Turkey, thanks to musicians and bands like Boma Music who have incorporated the instrument into their music. This has resulted in the modernization and globalization of the saz, with musicians experimenting with different playing techniques, tunings, and genres. Today, the saz is used in various music styles such as rock, jazz, and even electronic music, creating a new generation of saz players and enthusiasts.

Modern Innovations in Saz Design

As Turkish music continues to evolve, so does the saz. Modern innovations in saz design include the use of different materials for the instrument’s body, such as carbon fiber, which creates a more durable and lightweight instrument. There are also electric saz models that incorporate pickups and effects, giving musicians more flexibility with their sound. With these innovations, the saz has become an instrument that can be adapted to various playing styles and music genres.


The saz has a rich and complex history that has made it an essential instrument in Turkish music. As the instrument continues to evolve, it has become a versatile and popular instrument in various genres of music across the world. From its humble beginnings with Central Asian nomads to its modern-day innovations in saz design, the saz will continue to play a part in shaping global musical traditions.


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