“Pledge of Love”

The “Pledge of Love” is the first album in a series composed based on the tasnifs by the renowned Iranian tasnif-maker Mohammad Ali Amir Jahed and recorded by Sahba Kohan Ensemble with Ramin Bahiraie as signer. The album was released by Mahoor Institute of Culture and Arts in September 2015.

In this album, Sadjad Pourgahnad has re-composed Amir Jahed’s tasnifs’ by adding phrases and by making polyphonic the already existing ones. Pourghanad has also composed an overture entitled “Trannom” in which all instruments introduce themselves through the parts they play. The album cover written by composer reads:
“The current album results from the approach to the Persian music which was founded 90 years ago by Ali Naghi Vaziri and was followed by his students and colleagues and which has survived up to this day. In this school, there are no limitations for employing non-Persian musical techniques in composing; therefore, different techniques are used as long as they do not disturb the context of the Persian music.
“Due to unrestricted use of composing techniques some of which are totally new to the Persian music, works composed by the composers who follow this school have two important characteristics: 1. More variety and expanding composing horizons 2. Persian music becomes more attracting for those who are used to the Western classical music’s polyphony and are capable of following different sound lines.
This album consists of 6 Tasnifs by Mohammad Ali Amir Jahed which I have re-composed. In re-composing these Tasnifs, vocal parts are left intact while I have re-written the instrumental parts.
“In this album, I have tried to employ harmony, counterpoint and orchestration techniques for Iranian instruments to the extent that it does not disturb the context Amir Jahed had created. Based on each piece’s ambience, various polyphony and orchestration techniques are drawn upon the understanding of which is not challenging for trained listeners and those with the ability to follow multiple lines; however, those who are less familiar with polyphonic music might find them tough. Therefore, it is recommended that they listen to the album at least three times before they judge it!
“In the past several decades, one of the obstacles on the way of composing for an orchestra of Persian instruments has been the excessive use of percussion instruments to the extent that rhythmic variety has turned into an indispensible tradition for Persian orchestras. This tradition has made composers evade writing calculated and challenging counterpoints and impose the rhythmic variety and the continuous bass line to the audience in a primitive and deficient manner. Consequently, in this album percussion instruments were deliberately avoided so that in their absence counterpoint can play its role efficiently.
“This album includes some of the undiscovered or less listened-to Tasnifs by the great master of Iranian Tasnif-writing, Mohammad Ali Amir Jahed. I hope that the new approach applied to re-composing these Tasnifs adds to their beauty – Sadjad Pourghanad.”

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HarmonyTalk Journal’s Twentieth Anniversary Celebration

On the 10th of Khordad, 1403 (equivalent to May 30, 2024), the twentieth anniversary celebration of the online journal “HarmonyTalk” took place at the Ersbārān Cultural Center. The event garnered such interest from enthusiasts that the venue was completely filled.

A combination of technique and musicality in the fingers of a pianist

In the world of classical music, the position of soloist has always been exceptional. Apart from the technical ability that many orchestral musicians also have, the soloist must also have a special power to be able to present a different and unique perspective of a piece. The soloist must maintain its special power of expression not only in solo roles but also when interacting with the orchestra.

From Past Days…

Banan: the Artist of the Age

Gholam Hossein Banan was born in 1911 in Tehran. He was born in an affluent art-loving family who were Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1848-1896)’s relative. The Qajar King was his mother’s uncle on her father’s side. He learnt his first lessons in music while his father sang Iranian avaz (improvised rhythmic-free singing), he then attended classes by the renowned Iranian composer, Morteza Neydavoud (1900-1990) along with his sisters; the composer is, therefore, considered as his first teacher. He then learnt Iranian avaz under the supervision of Mirza Taher Zia Resaee (Zia-o Zakerin) and Naser Seif in an oral manner.

Maestro Hassan Nahid’s Role in Promoting the Ney

Maestro Hassan Nahid is one of the most prominent and distinctive artists who values high morals, discipline and hard work. His music activities include playing the Ney as both soloist and an accompaniment in the most important Iranian music orchestras and ensembles during the last fifty years, including the Orchestra of Iranian Instruments (Nusratullah Golpayegani), the Orchestra of National Instrumentalists of the Ministry of Culture and Arts (Payvar Orchestra), the Orchestra of Iranian Instruments (Morteza Hananeh) , Darvish Orchestra, Samaie Orchestra, Roudaki Orchestra, Maestros’ Ensemble, Aref Ensemble, as well as performances in various radio programs, many concerts in different countries, as well as a long teaching experience in the National Conservatory of Music, music universities and other music institutions to name but a few.

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.

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.

A Look at Ali Tajvidi’s Manifold Musical Activities (II)

Tajvidi thought of studying harmony and orchestration with Houshang Ostvar (who was eight years younger than him) at a time when he had gained a reputation among musicians. His humbleness, making him willing to kneel before the scholars at any age and position, became the key to his scientific success. After this period, Tajvidi made some of his works polyphonic, the most prominent of which is “Burn” set to a poem by Abdullah Ulfat. However, his ability to make his works polyphonic was not so great to make him self-sufficient; so he depended on musicians such as Farhad Fakhreddini, Fereydoun Naseri, Kambiz Roshanravan, Fereydoun Shahbazian and Morteza Hananeh for the arrangement of his compositions.

A brief examination of Ardavan Kamkar’s Santour playing style

I still think of those fish in a crystal bowl for the Haft sin table and those disappointed old men who went out to sell blackfish.

Interview with the Makers of the New Qeychak (I)

On occasion of the 8th anniversary of launching HarmonyTalk Online Journal on 6 April 2012, Reza Ziaei, master luthier and researcher on classical music instruments (violin family), announced that the first phase of the project to improve Qeychak has borne fruit. The new instrument would feature a bowl of ribs and the material used for the surface would be wooden. Carrying out the second phase of the project took more than 7 years engaging the new members of Reza Ziaei’s Workshop. In this phase, new researches were conducted from different aspects on the Qeychak and the modern versions of the instrument which were introduced previously by other instrument makers. The available versions of the instrument were studied in terms of their weak and strong technical features.

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.

Three singers in one larynx

Sima Bina (b. 1945) is a unique singer among the singers of Golha radio programmes which were broadcast on Iranian National Radio for 23 years from 1956 to 1979. She received her first lessons in music from her father who was a poet, a musician and the most important supporter of Sima’s cultural activities.

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs was held in Niavaran Cultural Center, in Tehran, Iran on Feb. 28th, 2015. The initiator of the festival was Sajjad Pourghanad, Iranian music writer, researcher, founder of the festival and Persian setar and tar player.