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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From Past Days…
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.
In the tradition of classical music, it is generally tried to use the same technical terms related to music in all countries. Even in the cultures in which native terms exist to refer to musical terms, usually the better known universal terms are employed.
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.
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.
Mr. Mohsen Ghanebasiri, author and critic in the field of economy, culture and arts, as the next speaker, highlighted the role of arts, specially the music, in development of societies: “As far as the individual upbringing is concerned, a newborn baby is absolutely dependent. The relation between the baby and the parents is based on orders. There is lots of relativity in these orders; therefore, they are political orders. In the economy, however, the relations are mutual and based on common logic; hence, the formation of the concepts of democracy and individuality.
The alleged similarity between the Iranian and South Korean National Anthems has been a matter of discussion among musicians in Iran for several years. Earlier in 2021, the issue was taken to the media again with not only claims that the anthem is very similar to another song but also the suggestion that its musical content should draw more on the Iranian national music. Some even went to the extent to suggest replacing it with the song “O, Iran” composed by the late Rouhollah Khaleghi. Before delving more into the main issue, it would not go amiss to consider some technical characteristics of the song “O, Iran” composed in 1944.
Creating sound continuity between two notes in the source and destination positions when left hand position changes and “two different finger numbers” are involved is called portamento. Portamento can be performed on single string or two neighboring strings and with hand moving on fingerboard either upward or downward.
Hossein Aslani, Iranian pianist residing in the US, passed away due to cancer in late January 2020. His last musical activity was an article written for Harmony Talk entitled “Iran amidst musical struggle” in 2016, his memoir entitled “I Play You Again” in the same year and his album “Symbolic Emotion” published by Arganoun Publications in 2014. Here is a brief biography of Hossein Aslani according to his own website:
In response, it should be said that it is better for the national anthem of a country to use the musical material exclusive to that country; however, some problems might come up in doing so the most important of which include: lack of familiarity of other countries’ music performer with the concerned country’s specific music intervals and special musical technique; and secondly, the strangeness of that music to the foreign listener.
The world of music has unparalleled respect for Bach. Bach is considered the spiritual father of classical music; Bach’s great position is due not only to his great achievements in the fields of harmony, counterpoint, and compositional sciences but also to his respect for and adherence to the artistic principles of classical music. In the history of classical music, it is recorded that Bach walked about fifty kilometers to listen to the music played by the great German organist Dieterich Buxtehude, and this is the path that every idealistic classical music student should walk.