Chalgia or chalgija is a special genre of Macedonian folk music. 

Macedonian chalgia is rooted in the music code of many generations. This music represents base and structure for many contemporary musical forms and also represents a distinctive phenomenon which blends folklore with heritage of music tradition of Istanbul, both Byzantine Church music and Classical Ottoman in one, corresponding with the Octoechos and Maqam system.
Beside this, chalgia connects the difference between Eastern and Western musical heritage, with mixing of the Oriental and West European instruments in the same time.

The word "chalgia" is a Turkish word meaning:

1) whistle, 

2) musical instrument. 

    "Çhalgacija" or çalgici is the musician that plays chalgia music. According to the dictionary of Blazhe Koneski, chalgia is:

 1) instrument for playing, musical instrument, 

2) group of musicians, music, musician. 

In explaining the term, Blazhe Koneski goes further by giving it an orchestral mark, which is still present in Macedonia as such. 

     Chalgia is a typical "Old City music", which has been nurtured in many cities, especially in Veles, Ohrid, Bitola and Solun. Chalgii are played at weddings, religious holidays, rituals, fairs etc.
However, the incredibly original, rich and extremely numerous musical forms, created in a period of only a century and a half, testify to a musical quality much more valuable than if chalgia would be just a "copy of the Turkish musical expression", as some consider it. 
An old chalgia ensemble

    The musical and rhythmic structures in chalgia are derived from the Macedonian folk language, which in the city came into contact primarily with Byzantine church singing, Turkish classical music, but also with folk music of all ethnicities living on the soil of Macedonia. In such a spiritual constellation, in time, the Macedonian melody gave birth to a perfectly original and specific tonal dialect and musical expression called - "Macedonian chalgia". 

Chalgia ensemble

    Čalgija is performed by ensembles with instruments such as a dajre (tambourine) and tarabuka (hourglass drum) providing percussion for ut (lute), canon (zither), kemane and clarinet (also known as grneta) on the other.

Ut (lute)
     In the Macedonian musical tradition, the chalgia is associated with a specific ensemble or ensemble of musicians with instruments of Persian-Arab origin, which performed Old-Cown traditional music. Chalgii bands in Macedonia appeared sometime in the 19th century, and experienced their development and rise in the 20th century. This type of chalgii songs and instrumental composition in Macedonia, bears signs of musical orientalism, the melody is decorated with numerous melodies and a characteristic touch of the Chalgii orchestra. 
Canon (zither)

    All of this was merged into the so-called Old City Tradition, an urban style that emerged by the end of XVIII century and it reached its zenith in the XIX and XX century. These chalgia groups are a result of an urban music tradition from this period and it was a widely popular music in its heyday. When one refers to chalgia it usually refers to an older type of chalgia.  

      There are two styles that are prevailing in this tradition. The first one originates from secular Byzantine music and through classical Turkish music it synthesizes elements from the Orient and the Mediterranean, which are ultimately filtered through the rich musical tradition and life of the Macedonian people. The later style of music is somewhat new and its beginnings can be traced back to the 1920's, still building upon the characteristic sound imagination manifesting itself not only within the frames of a single musical phrase, but in a wider context, thus enabling it to incorporate and express the spirit of the new century. According to its melodic and formal structure, this tradition is one of the most developed traditional musical forms that have existed in an urban setting.

Tarabuka (hourglass drum)
    The music itself, clearly reflects the style of oriental so-called "alla turca" playing. The chalgia as a characteristic instrumental composition is a typical representative of the Old City oriental music culture in Macedonia. Often, the chalgadzii themselves sing and play, which is why people call them "troubadours". There is a general knowledge among the people that the chalgia in Macedonia has a centuries-old tradition, and its arrival and creation is associated with the arrival of the Turks in the Balkans. 

 In the XIX and until the middle of the XX century in the Macedonian cities it was common to play chalgii, and Veles, Skopje, Bitola and Ohrid were centers where especially this typical city music was performed, which combines the folklore with the heritage of the musical tradition of Istanbul. Its roots are in Persia. The Macedonian chalgadzi played in taverns, at weddings, at various festivities in the cities, and were sought after more widely. Chalgia was also the existence of the musicians, they lived from the music. "A famous Chalgadzi from Veles started making barrels to feed his family when Chalgia was banned for six months due to the death of a sultan ..."

Dajre (tambourine)
- We came to the realization that not only it wasn't forcibly imposed and it is not an infiltrate, but chalgia is, in fact, related to the universal musical language that was created and synthesized by several nations in Constantinople. Such a synthesis of such a cult musical language was made by Byzantium and then the Turks followed that language and perfected it. Thus, Ottoman classical music is the last musical expression of that classical expression in music. In parallel with the Western classics, Eastern classics developed in the East. Our chalgia is a kind of synthesis of the connection with the classical music of the East and the domicile folklore. Turkish musicians who have had the opportunity to play our chalgia say that it has an incredible rhythm that can't be found in Turkish folk music. That is another proof of its authenticity, says the screenwriter Risto Solunchev.