Saz – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Musical Instruments Glossary

What is a Saz?

The Saz, also known as the Baglama, is a traditional stringed musical instrument that is widely used in Turkish and Middle Eastern music. It is a long-necked lute with a pear-shaped body and a varying number of strings, typically ranging from six to twelve. The Saz is played with a pick, known as a “mızrap,” and is known for its rich, resonant sound that is often used in folk and classical music.

History of the Saz

The Saz has a long history that dates back to ancient times. It is believed to have originated in Central Asia and spread to the Middle East and Europe through trade routes and cultural exchanges. The instrument has undergone various transformations over the centuries, with different regions developing their own unique styles and variations of the Saz.

In Turkey, the Saz has been an integral part of the country’s musical heritage for centuries. It has been used in traditional folk music, as well as in classical Ottoman music. The Saz gained popularity in the 20th century with the rise of modern Turkish music, where it became a symbol of national identity and cultural pride.

Types of Saz

There are several different types of Saz, each with its own unique characteristics and playing styles. The most common type is the Bağlama Saz, which has a small body and a long neck with six strings. Other variations include the Divan Saz, which has a larger body and a deeper sound, and the Cura Saz, which has a smaller body and a higher pitch.

In addition to these traditional types, modern variations of the Saz have been developed, such as the Electric Saz, which incorporates electronic amplification for a louder sound, and the Acoustic Saz, which is designed for more intimate performances.

Construction of the Saz

The Saz is typically made from wood, with the body carved from a single piece of wood and the neck attached separately. The strings are made from nylon or metal, and are stretched over the body and neck to produce different pitches and tones. The pick, or mızrap, is usually made from plastic or tortoiseshell and is used to pluck the strings.

The construction of the Saz requires skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail, as the shape and materials used can greatly affect the instrument’s sound and playability. Many Saz makers take pride in handcrafting each instrument, using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations.

Playing the Saz

Playing the Saz requires a combination of fingerpicking and strumming techniques, as well as a good sense of rhythm and timing. The player holds the Saz in a vertical position, with the body resting on the player’s knee and the neck pointing upwards. The strings are plucked or strummed with the mızrap, while the player uses their other hand to press down on the strings to change the pitch.

The Saz is a versatile instrument that can be used to play a wide range of musical styles, from traditional folk songs to classical compositions. Its unique sound and expressive qualities make it a popular choice for solo performances and ensemble playing.

Notable Saz players

There have been many talented Saz players throughout history who have helped to popularize the instrument and showcase its musical capabilities. Some notable Saz players include:

– Talip Özkan: A renowned Turkish musician who was known for his virtuosic Saz playing and innovative approach to traditional music.
– Arif Sağ: A prominent figure in Turkish folk music who has been instrumental in preserving and promoting the Saz.
– Erdal Erzincan: A modern Saz player who has gained international recognition for his innovative compositions and collaborations with other musicians.

These musicians have helped to elevate the Saz to new heights and showcase its potential as a versatile and expressive musical instrument. Their contributions have inspired a new generation of players to explore the rich tradition of Saz music and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with this ancient instrument.