Polyphony in Iranian Music (V)

Written by Dr. M. Taghi Massoudieh (1927-1998)
Originally published in Honarhaye Ziba (Fine Arts) 3, 1998, 95-104.

Translated by Mahboube Khalvati

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]. Khanqah ritual of Ghaderi darwaish is constantly accompanied by dance and avaz. Constant repetition of a melody or motif leads to the monotony of dance movements and consequently leads to ecstasy or comma. This constant monotonous repetition can be compared to hypnosis. Ecstasy and comma based on this are metaphysical status and are considered as a border between life and death [ii]. Probably for the same reason, in Ghaderieh Khanqah in Sanandaj, extraordinary and agonizing acts such as thrusting a blade or dirk inside body organs is considered a joyful act. Therefore, ecstasy happens with anesthesia in a way that the dancer passes out on the floor at the end of the dance; and, consequently, his return to the material world features a scream [iii].

The polyphonic forms which were introduced occur unconsciously. On the contrary, there are some polyphonic forms in Iranian music that happen intentionally. These examples are mostly instrumental and are usually performed by dutar. Below an excerpt of these polyphonic forms are presented:

 

Farangi Rezagholi (Transcription No.7)

Transcription No.7

One of the popular muqams in Lorestan music is Farangi Rezagholi (Transcription No.7). The reason it is called farangi is that the melody is adopted from foreign music and “Rezagholi” is the name of the narrator of the muqam or an individual after whose name the muqah’s name is adopted [iv]. In Lorestan, dutar is called Tamireh. Imam Gholi Imami, Lorestan’s well-known tamireh player, performed Farangi Rezagholi (Transcription No.7).

Melodic figures of Farangi Rezagholi muqam is accompanied by a second voice like the voice of drone. The drone constantly follows the ascending and descending movement of the melody. Relocation of drone in this manner shapes a type of parallelism or a duet sequence. Farangi Rezagholi muqam consists of three melodic figures (Transcription No. 7, a + b + c staffs 1, 6, 14). Out these three figures, only the first one (a) experiences the most drastic change. Sequence of two voices due to sequence or relocation of drone exists in all Lorestan’s musical muqams including “Farangikhan-e Mirza”, “Male Jiri” and also “Avazen Be Poova Mouri”. Here only one example is introduced.

A parallel coincidence of two voices as a result of the relocation of drone also exists in instrumental pieces in Khorasan and Torkaman music. Here two examples are introduced; one is “Torqeh” belonging to North and Northwestern Khorasan and the other one is “Kach Falak” belonging to Turkmen music.

 



[i] Recorded from Iranian Culture TV on 15/12/1975.

[ii] Bose, Fritz; Musik und Musiker in auBereuropäischen Kulturen: “Humanismus un Technik 14, Heft 1, 1970, S. 1-8.

[iii] Recorded by the author in rituals of Ghaderieh Daravish Khanqah in Sanandaj conducted by Tofiq Moghadam.

[iv] As mentioned by Hamid Izadpanah.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*
Your email is never shared.

Iranian Fallacies – Global Performance

One of the most important criteria for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music is number of times the piece has been performance by different ensembles and orchestras in different eras. This belief has become so pervasive in some societies, such as Iranian society, that it is considered the only criterion for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music.

Iranian Fallacies – School of Vaziri

The term “School of Vaziri” is often used in writings on Iranian music, but the exact meaning of the term is not clear; some of the authors have used the term to only refer to the group of Vaziri’s students, including a large group of his conservatory students and his Tar students such as Abolhassan Saba, Rouhollah Khaleghi, Ahmad Foroutan Rad, Hossein Sanjari, Heshmat Sanjari and others. But can we consider all Vaziri’s students as followers of his school of thought? This is definitely a mistake, because we know that some of Vaziri’s students have chosen a completely different path than that of Vaziri.

From Past Days…

Non-profit “Microtona” Project Released

Microtona is a sixty-eight-page Booklet with personal comments by the contributing microtonal artists. The booklet also includes a DVD which consists of 8 original video tracks and 9 original audio tracks. The project is an international one featuring unpublished pieces by composers from Iran, Japan, U.S., France, Austria, Germany and Belgium.

Principles of Violin Playing (II)

Since for playing violin, it’s necessary that the player’s palms and fingers be inclined toward the fingerboard, therefore, the player, while bringing up his hand, should turn it toward the fingerboard.

Ennio Morricone’s music for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight

After watching Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, The Hateful Eight, everyone was excited by its novel music besides the beautiful scenes of blood and guts.
The Hateful Eight is the first collaboration between the world-famous film music composer, Ennio Morricone, and Quentin Tarantino as a famous director.

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 (I)

Despite the fact that Iranian folk music (regional music of Iran), like the Radif of Iranian traditional music, is monophonic and follows heterophony in principal, we experience polyphonic forms, albeit, majorly unconscious.

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.

Principles of Violin Playing (I)

The present series of training articles, “Principles of Violin Playing”, seek to help students, to appropriately understand this field, by gradually introducing, categorizing, and teaching the myriad relevant points. One of the principles of playing violin, which must be always kept in mind, is that the selection of the most natural position for the body parts while playing is the best and most appropriate solution. As a matter of fact, any unnatural body part position which requires lots of energy or unusual stretching to maintain, is wrong.

Principles of Violin Playing (III)

Violin players should always pay attention to the proper position of the left thumb and other points related to it and to its joining point to the palm.

Henry Cowell: “Persian Set”

Persian Set: Four Movements for chamber orchestra: Moderato; Allegretto; Lento; Rondo

Henry Cowell, one of the most innovative American composers of the 20th century, was born in 1897. Cowell and his wife visited Iran in 1956 and stayed there the whole winter, upon the invitation by the Iranian Royal Family, when he composed his album “Persian Set” in four movements for chamber orchestra. His composition is expressive of the characteristic quality of the Persian or the Iranian music.

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.