Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
The article you are about to read was written by Rouhollah Khaleqi (1906-1965), composer, and conductor of Golha Orchestra (established in 1956). Khaleqi was one of the most prominent promoters of polyphony for the Iranian music and is one of the best representatives of the school of Ali Naghi Vaziri. In this article, he reviews the history of polyphony in the Iranian music and offers his points of view:
A survey of the history of the Iranian music proves that the Iranian music has always been unison. Although in some of old Iranian books on music, the pleasant and unpleasant characteristics of intervals are discussed, it is not imaginable that “harmony” has been part of the Iranian music. However, in the Western world harmony has been experimentally applied since the tenth century B.C. and was first used in church performances and the harmonic human voice. Harmony was introduced to form orchestras and the issue of orchestral harmony emerged.
As far as I remember, the first step in harmonizing the Iranian music was taken when the French Alfred Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (1842-1907), a military musician and composer, visited Iran [in 1868]. Lemaire arranged some of the Iranian songs for the piano, which were played with the right hand and the left hand accompanied by playing some “chords”. They were very simple and basic, and were then arranged by the so-called military music “technicians” for a military orchestra. I remember that when I was a child, some of these melodies and Tasnifs were performed by musicians. Some of these songs were published by Mozaffar ad-Din Shah (the fifth Qajar king of Iran, reigning from 1896 until his death in 1907) in France, a copy of which is available at the Library of the National Conservatory of Music.
Monsieur Lemaire used to teach music theory to students at Dar ul-Funun where the first book on the theory of music in Iran was compiled by the French musician’s Persian language interpreter and was published by Dar ul-Funun publishing house in 1882.
In the next years, Gholam Reza Khan Minbashian, a.k.a Salar-Mo’azez, a student of Dar ul-Funun, who later graduated from military music from the Conservatory of Petrograd, was appointed as the head of the music school and followed Monsieur Lemaire’s works.
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- Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (III)
- Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (II)
From Past Days…
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.
In addition to the above-mentioned, polyphony can be also formed when a melody is performed by several singers in different ambiances or different sound registers according to their physiologic abilities. An example of this has been performed in rituals of Khanqah of Ghaderi darawish of Mahabad[i].
22.214.171.124 Regarding the great linear distance and the unusual distance between the first and forth fingers, the first finger while playing the doubles of ninth and tenth interval, can be twisted in the knuckle area and the point mentioned in 126.96.36.199 paragraph in relation to the way first finger is placed indicating that the first joint of this finger in back of hand must be in line with the direction of forearm and left hand is not true here.
Iranian pianist Layla Ramezan has always sought to create a connection between her Persian origin and the contemporary music which she encounters daily. Sound, phrasing, a particular sense of rhythm and a refined understanding of the “time of musical development” are the foremost qualities of her interpretations. Her musical and pianistic education began in Tehran at the age of 8 with Mostafa-Kamal Poortorab. Having moved to Paris and received a scholarship from Albert Roussel Foundation, she integrated the classes of Jean Micault and Devi Erlih at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot, where she received a Diplôme de Virtuosité in piano performance and chamber music.
When the author was working on the piece “Playing Love” by Ennio Morricone (from the legend of 1900), he realized a failure of the Lip Technique. Needing to play a chord in the 14th position of the guitar and in order to complete the harmony, it is necessary to play a harmonic note on the 7th or 5th position; it was not possible to touch the string to play this harmonic note, because the Lip Technique is used for getting the notes and not to touch the string and producing harmonic notes. Naturally, the only possible way to touch the string was to use the nose at the required position and playing the note with the right hand, and this was the best option the author found to how to play such harmonic notes, and where the Nose Technique was generated.
Tehran Flute Choir was established in 1394 (late 2015) by Firouzeh Navai. Tehran Flute Choir, Iran’s first largest flute choir, recruited its members mostly from young talented flutists of Iranian Flute Association. Featuring piccolo, flute, alto flute and bass flute, Tehran Flute Choir, directed by Firouzeh Navai, premiered under the batons of Saeed Taghadosi on January 7-8, 2016 at Roudaki Hall in Tehran.
The Association of Iranian Contemporary Music Composers (ACIMC) and SHAHREAFTAB Art & Cultural Association are pleased to announce a call for papers for SIMF 1396.
One of the most popular terms used by Iranian instrumentalists is the existence or a lack of musical “sense”. Both musicians and fans of music consider having “sense” while playing music as an important principle to the extent that they use it vis-a-vis having technique.
Developments in Composing
Along with developments in the Iranian instruments, composition of the Iranian pieces developed as well. As a matter of fact, the developments of the two, mutually affected each other. In other words, instrumental developments led to developments in composition and vice versa.
UnTwelve Non-profit Organization announced the results of its 2014/2015 composition competition on January 28, 2015. Shaahin Mohajeri, an Iranian Tonbak player, microtonalist, acoustician and composer, was awarded the second prize for his piece “Castle of Babak.”