Music plays a central role in the Mevlevi tradition. It is essential to the performance of Sema, the ceremony of whirling ‘dance’ and music for which the Mevlevis are well-known, and also to Ilahiler, or sacred songs, sung by Mevlevis and usually accompanied by traditional classical Turkish instruments.
These instruments include the ney (reed flute), oud (lute), kanun (zither), tanbur (long-necked lute), kemence (short-necked fiddle), rebab (fiddle), kudum (kettle drum), bendir (frame drum) and helile (cymbals).
The music and song of the Mevlevi tradition are things of great beauty, but more than that, they are designed to generate enhanced states of consciousness. Listen to a taste from Mevlevi Australia's music meditation.
Mevlevi music draws heavily on classical Turkish music and has contributed enormously to its repertoire. The form of classical Turkish music uses a system of ‘makams’, or modes, each of which resonates on the listener in a particular way and affects him or her accordingly.
Makams are known for a variety of qualities related to this resonating impact and in particular their healing power.