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…
Regional music festivals are organized to, firstly, introduce the music of different regions and, secondly, to support its performers. Regional music festivals are held in large cities for various reasons, including the availability of financial and executive facilities and the presence of an audience. However, the organization of these festivals has always been one of the challenging issues of ethnomusicology. The reason is that the presence of regional music performers in large cities places them in a context other than the context they would normally perform in their homes; consequently this change in situation leads to changes in the quality of their performance.
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.
In the world music culture, there are instruments which were traditionally associated with a certain gender. It remains disputable to what extent these gender-based perceptions have been logical and scientific. For example, as playing wind instruments need more breath strength and the public opinion believe that men have stronger breath compared to women, these instruments are predominantly a male domain. Harp is also considered a female instrument as the public opinion believe that women have finer fingers and can therefore better perform nuances and delicate techniques on the instrument.
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 name of Maestro Hassan Kassai is so vehemently intertwined with Ney (Persian reed flute) that one cannot imagine one without the other immediately coming into mind. Ney is one of the instruments which went through a lot of ups and downs in the history of the Iranian music since the time of Sassanid kings to the time when shepherds found playing it consoling when they took their cattle for grazing. However, Nay could never demonstrate its main capacities to gain a stable position among the musicians and the people like other instruments including Oud, Tar, Santour, all sorts of bowed string instruments and plucked string instruments.
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.
4.3.1. To practice playing of doubles of notes involving two different fingers, each note is played at separate bows with slow tempo, each note is played perfectly regarding its bass and tenor sounds and then the considered double is played at another bow while considering the resulted sound of the double.
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.
Composing a traditional Iranian opera using the Iranian modal system, dastgāh, has always been my dream. I first approached this by composing an opera called Ashura followed by the operas Rumi and Hafez. I believe that in order to attract an international audience for Iranian opera, it is essential to fuse dastgāh with Western classical forms.
Gholamreza Khan Minbashian taught courses such as organology, orchestration of military music and harmony based on the books which were translated from French into Persian with the help of Aliakbar Mozayyan-o-Dolleh (1846-1932).