Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
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.
For example, the first book on harmony which was translated by Salar Mo’azzez in Iran was entitled “Tanasob” (meaning relation) and some of its terms such as “harmony” and “keys” were translated into Farsi as “Tanasob” and “Mezrab”. However, through time, Western terms found their place in the terminology of the Iranian music.
Therefore, in the tradition of classical music, similar to scientific matters, imitating from a non-native term is considered as a conventional issue. Classical music terms has been studied and investigated by the scientific society of classical music and rarely suffers from basic shortfalls. However, in the countries with old musical traditions, sometimes some terms enter the mainstream classical music which have their own specific meaning and their addition to the classical music terminologies leads to ambiguities. An example of this situation consists of the terms such as composition and arrangement.
“Tanzim” (arrangement) is one of the most frequently used terms in the Iranian classical music. The term has been inspired by the word “arrangement”. This term became very popular in the classical Iranian music when polyphonic rules of Western music were introduced in the Iranian music academies. During this period, many of the pieces by demised composers which have been composed in a monophonic manner were made polyphonic by composers who were familiar with polyphonic rules. Under these circumstances, in order to make the name of the melodist immortal, he/she was called Ahangsaz (composer) consisting of two words: ahang meaning melody and saz meaning maker. The person who made the work polyphonic was designated as the arranger.
In the tradition of pop music, the terms composer and arranger are used in the senses explained above; however, this is not the case in the tradition of classical music. In this tradition, the word arranger is used to refer to a person who reimaines a polyphonic piece and adapts a new orchestration (In an essay series entitled “One Theme; Several Arrangements” by the same author many such instances can be found).
In classical music, the term composer is used to describe a person who uses a composition of different technique including melody, harmony, counterpoint, orchestration and form. However, in monophonic pieces (especially in pieces composed for wind instruments) the title composer has been used.
Therefore, the person who finally works on a melody and employs a variety of composing techniques wins the title of a composer. Even in some instances, the person who harmonises a melody is called the composer. One can refer to Romanian Folk Dances by Béla Bartók and some pieces of the Hungarian Dances by Brahms.
As with regard to the pop music, these titles are used in another manner and the melodist is sometimes called the composer. Consequently, the person who employs expansion and polyphonic techniques is called the arranger. Interestingly, a term has been used in the pop music culture by using the titles “composer and arranger” together!
In the Iranian classical music, the pop music terminology has been used for a long while instead of using the tradition of the classical music (the area to which this music actually belongs), which is really thought-provoking.
- Interview with Farhad Poupel (I)
- About Davoud Pirnia, the founder of “Golha” radio program
- Rouhollah Khaleghi Artistic Center established in Washington DC
- Ruggero Chiesa’s Legacy
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (VII)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (VI)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (V)
- A Miracle in the Iranian Music: About Tehran Flute Choir’s Eight-year Tenacity
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (IV)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (III)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (II)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (I)
From Past Days…
The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (II)
With its simple physical structure and captivating sound, the Daf never belonged to a particular culture or location, and every nation had different usages for this instrument considering their dominant customs and traditions.
Violin’s inner mold, an essential factor in developing the idea of violin
A part of the secrets of the masterpieces from the golden era lies in the special design of the instruments, as a result of a profound insight to and awareness of the significance of the precise calculation of the various components of the object of arts being created, such as making a violin or a bow.
Iranian Fallacies: Iranian Chords
Finding a way to harmonize the Iranian music has been the subject of controversy among Iranian musicians for a long time. Some believe in the creation of harmonies for Iranian music based on a method which is similar to the tierce harmony; while others have either selected or invented some other methods. There are also some musicians who do not basically agree with the harmonization of the Iranian music.
The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (III)
“Our ancestors believe powerful blows upon the Daf scatters evil spirits of disease and distress to create a clean and holy space filled with health and prosperity. Adding tools to Daf increases this instrument’s purification, spreading, and summoning powers of evil forces and goddesses. Daf was mostly depicted by red, color of blood, in ancient times or sometimes it was depicted with green, the color of plants and nature. There were probably some mysterious designs painted upon the wooden body and frames of these instruments just like today” (Pahlavan, 2013: 44).
Musical Sense or Technique?
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.
The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (VII)
“Daf” is one of type of percussion instruments that has a long history and is commonly known as circular instruments (with a rim). In some tribes, Daf was used as the main instrument in festivity and joy ceremonies; in another tribe it was used as the main instrument for war and campaign ceremonies and some others used it for ritual and religious ceremonies.
Call for papers SIMF 1396
The Association of Iranian Contemporary Music Composers (ACIMC) and SHAHREAFTAB Art & Cultural Association are pleased to announce a call for papers for SIMF 1396.
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.
The Role of Arts in Development of Societies
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.
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.