This article examines how changes in methods of transmission are enhancing a tendency toward musical change in the Azerbaijani ashiq genre as it is performed in the Republic of Azerbaijan and northern Iran. Based on fieldwork in both of these regions, the authors have observed the ashiq genre in flux, shifting from an essentially narrative bardic genre to an essentially musical genre. Although many factors influence this change, this study focuses on how changing methods of transmission are impacting this change. Although the Republic of Azerbaijan and northern Iran are different contexts, the processes are similar: as the genre has changed from being taught in a master-apprentice model to music lessons and self-teaching, many of the skills specific to bardic dastan (epic) recitation are not being transmitted to younger ashiqs. Instead, musical skills that encourage virtuoso performance are being transmitted and are popular with contemporary audiences. This paper seeks to explore and contextualize this change from bardic to musical values within discussions of transmission and musical change in the disciplines of folklore and ethnomusicology.