From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (II)

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Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
Rouhollah Khaleghi was the master of composing beautiful melodies. He was the premier of the course of history which was first established by Ali Naghi Vaziri and which improved the Iranian music from simply a gathering music to the classical music of the country. First efforts to compose independent and instrumental music can be also traced in Khaleghi’s works.
Pursuant to Vaziri’s activities, Khaleghi managed to incarnate attractive capacities of mahour, rast panjgah and other dastgahs of Iranian music in orchestral compositions. He developed the Iranian music to the extent that today the Iranian composers can draw on its dramatic diversity. Appropriate use of instruments and their employment in a way that represent special and various human feelings was one of the most significant measures which was introduced by Khaleghi’s efforts. It was Khaleghi who established a musical ambience which resulted in the emergence of composers able to create various works.
Khaleghi knew very well that a lively and rich art necessitates moral genealogy on the part of its creator. Khaleghi realised how the absence of values of the Iranian music in our culture has tragically constructed an ill structure for closed-circle gatherings of short-sighted people unable to think. He tried his best to solve such problems of music and use this opportunity for the sake of a valuable and wise presence. For the same reason, Khaleghi paid a great attention to moral genealogy of students he audited for music school. Khaleghi and Abolhassan Saba are the pillars of reviving the Iranian national music. Two pillars which have Vaziri at their foundation; a musician who blew the spirit of Constitutional Revolution into our music and paved the ground for the activities of enthusiastic young artists such as Khaleghi and Saba. These three artists redirected our country’s national music to a path that will never turn into an area for prejudiced people’s manoeuvrings. Today, we have masters like Javad Maroufi, Hossein Dehlavi, Farhad Fakhredini, Kambiz Roshan Ravan and Faramarz Payvar who were educated in the afore-mentioned national Iranian music school. An artist like Faramarz Payvar added more styles to the school.
The influence of this school on Iranian music was even evident vis-à-vis the opponents of the school. When the traditional school of music, which was inclined towards reviving Qajari style, had to offer orchestral works as necessitated by the requirements of the Revolution, it had to draw on the achievements of the national music school for orchestration. This incident proves that Iranian national music school could even meet the basic needs of its opponents as well.
As a result of this, in contemporary Iran, we have a new generation of composers who seek to complete efforts by previous groups. Composers such as Mohammad Reza Darvishi, Kazem Davoudian, Peyman Soltani, to name but a few, are the artists whose activities not only strengthen the Iranian composers’ styles but also can lead to the emergence of new styles in the country’s art through avant-garde experiences.
Rouhollah Khaleghi is the first professional national Iranian composer. Let us hope that the initiative Khaleghi took lead to the creation of more musical styles and make Iranian music influential beyond Iranian borders.

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Gholam Reza Khan Minbashian: a pioneer in Iranian music (I)

Gholam Reza Khan Minbashian, a.k.a Salar-Mo’azez, was a pioneer in several domains in the history of the Iranian music. He is recognized as the first Iranian musician who was educated in classical music. He is also the first Iranian the score of whose works were published in Europe. He is the first Iranian to have launched courses on Western classical music and was also the first Iranian teacher of classical music. Moreover, he is the first founder of a string orchestra in Iran, the first author of the Iranian Radif which was available in oral form. Minbashian is also the first Iranian who studied music in Europe.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (VI)

Torqeh or jal is the same bird (Bimaculated lark) and is the name of a muqam which is well-known in Torbate Jam and those areas. Jal muqam is called Torqeh in Esfarayen and Bojnourd. This muqam which was used to be played by Bakhshis/Bagşies (dutar-players) in the past is seldom performed today.

From Past Days…

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Polyphony in Iranian Music (II)

With regard to each polyphonic form, only one specific and distinguished example is analyzed. These polyphonic forms are as follows:

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Principles of Playing Violin (V)

3/1/2/5: When the first finger lands next to the nut, continuation of first phalange of this finger, on back of the hand, should be in line with continuation of the back of the wrist and the left hand; moreover, it should not pass them and bend at knuckles. Otherwise, an uncommon stretch is created in first finger’s knuckle also reducing the freedom of other fingers (especially the fourth finger) in finger placement.

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From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (I)

Music as an art has its own special history; emergence of a singer, of an instrumentalist and then the emergence of the strong character of a composer covers three significant phases of the art of music. With the emergence of composer which was simultaneous with the emergence of the language of music, this art managed to offer a domain for criticism for its composer; a procedure which led to a magnificent variety and evolution in musical production. Even though the conflicts between singers and instrumentalists have not met their end in the Iranian society and while singers can achieve high, instrumentalists have yet to play behind curtains . In a special era, with the efforts of musicians such as Ali Naghi Vaziri (1887-1979) and Rouhollah Khaleghi (1906-1965), glimmers of a composing era started to glow bearing fruit in Khaleghi’s achievement as Iran’s first professional composer. Khaleghi made his reputation as a composer while Vaziri deserved to pioneer this path. By then Vaziri was well-known as a Tar player.

National Instruments Orchestra

Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (I)

At the end of the Qajar era and as Iran entered the power transition period, known as the constitutional era, the Iranian music went through a lot of changes. These changes gained momentum as the students and followers of Ali Naqi Vaziri’s entered the musical scene. These changes greatly influenced designs of instruments, playing methods, singing, composing, etc.

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Principles of Playing Violin (VI)

B. applying force: the force needed for putting finger on finger board is applied through finger tips and using the rest of hand set especially wrist is not allowed. To practice this, it is possible to hold violin without the bow and throw the fingers on the finger board from 1-2cm distance; apply force only through finger tips.

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A year without Mohsen Ghanebasiri

The year 1396 (21 March 2017-20 March 2018) was the most sorrowful year for HarmonyTalk journal. One month after holding HarmonyTalk’s 13th establishment anniversary in Mohsen Ghanebasiri’s house in Tehran in April 2017, he untimely passed away. Mohsen Ghanebasiri was the prominent HarmonyTalk author.

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New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (I)

Joint application of the two techniques of “Lip” and “Nose” could be effectively applied for hearing and playing far-away intervals, by the Classical Guitar. Before this, a Classical Guitar player had to waive playing intervals not possible with the left hand, and had to replace or eliminate some notes, making it possible to play such intervals; specifically the capability of the left hand of the musician, was also a factor in such a selection. These methods are hereby illustrated by photographs and a video-file, in order to provide optimum comprehension of applying these methods, invented by the author; specifically the “Lip” technique, which is considered to be a more significant technique, emphasized by the author.

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Prominent Iranian Musicologist Passes Away in Vienna

Khosrow Djafarzadeh, musicologist and architect, who was also one of the main authors of HarmonyTalk journal passed away on 15 July 2019.

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A note on “Illusion or Ingenuity” article

The author of the “Illusion or Ingenuity” article, who is apprehensive of the future of the Music in Iran, enumerates some symptoms of the music weakening in the country for example decreasing in the quality of the music as well as lack of the innovation in creating them, a gradual decline in the music public taste and the drop in the application of layered sound and polyphony in music. He explains that one reason for this gradual weakening might be our unawareness of the fact that we are not so intelligent nation. He believes that we, Iranians, have a comprehensive “Illusion of the high national intelligence “that make us ignorant of the unfavorable realities of our music and consequently no searching for the remedy is taking place. His point of view brings to the mind a patient who thinks he is healthy, therefore delays the treatment and finally is killed by the disease. The author also refers to the national difficulties which gradually will lower the national intelligence score such as the increased rate of the immigration and brain drain, low quality of the nutrition, incompetence of the education system and etc and predicts that the condition of the music of Iran might deteriorate in the future because of the mentioned illusion of its great status.

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Kayvan Mirhadi and O.R.P Qaurtet

Establishing O.R.P. Quartet is Kayvan Mirhadi’s latest activity as a guitarist, composer and conductor of Kamerata Orchestra. Besides working with this Quartet, Mirhadi is busy these days recording and mixing some of his own works as well as some pieces by 20th century composers. O.R.P Quartet performed a concert in Rasht, Gilan Province in late May 2016 and offered a master class.