Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
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.
These changes can include:
1- Changes in the region’s music due to imitation of other works of music
1 .1. imitating a variety of works of music outside the performer’s native region in order to attract non-native audience;
1.2. imitating a variety of musical pieces outside the home region of the performer in order to compete with a variety of regional music pieces which, in the view of the performer, are more technical. (In competitions the problem is even more severe);
1.3. imitating all types of official urban music in order to attract urban audiences;
2. Changes in the music of the region as a result of performing in a new environment;
1.2. Conscious changes in the music: because of the presence of new audience compared to the audience for whom regional music performers usually perform, the regional music performers often cannot play the music of that particular region with all characteristics, for the reason that its performance needs the active attention of the audience (the examples of this type of music may include a variety of ritual and religious elements along with chorus or dance);
2.2 unconscious changes in the music: due to the presence of unfamiliar audience (especially urban audience) or new stage, the performer does not mentally connect with the audience and the music consequently goes through changes (the examples of this type music may include a variety of narration and storytelling accompanying the music).
The aforementioned cases are only part of the reasons for the change in the quality of the performance of regional music in the festivals. On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, there are many reasons why these festivals cannot be held in different regions, and the organizers of these festivals have to inevitably accept the above-discussed decline in the quality of regional music.
The audience of these festivals is made up of two large groups: 1- the public, and 2- researchers.
The public: this group of fans of regional music attends regional music festivals with the aim of familiarizing themselves with the music of different ethnic groups. Therefore, the drop in quality described above has little effect on this group. Generally speaking, the public does not listen to this type of music in a detailed and scrupulous manner. Moreover, this group of the audience is not able to identify the shortcomings. Of course, the presence of these people in the festivals is not only useful for familiarizing with regional music, but their financial support can lead to the motivation and, eventually, the continuation of the activities of regional music narratives.
Cultural scholars: These audiences of regional music festivals watch the performance of regional musicians in a more sophisticated manner. Therefore, should never consider that the performances in regional music festivals are the same as performances done in regional musicians’ home regions. In conclusion, although musical festivals in large cities make the people familiar with less-known cultures and increases people’s material and spiritual support for regional musicians, a music researcher can only find clues through these festivals about cultural incidents. In order words, music researchers cannot consider these performances as a perfect example of music in the regions, the researcher must investigate for his research work in the same area where the particular regional music belongs to.
- Lilly Afshar, Iranian Guitar Legend, passed away
- Mohammad Esmaili passes away
- Inefficiency of some chords and harmonization systems in Iranian music
- The response of the fired musicians to the interview of the managing director of Rudaki Foundation
- Loss of Development in Iranian Music
- Last Year under the Light of Music
- Interview with Farhad Poupel (II)
- 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)
From Past Days…
On June 19, 2021 , young Iranian composer and pianist, Farhad Poupel’s piece, Road to Bach, was performed at the prestigious Suntory Hall by the great Japanese pianist, Kotaro Fukuma. The piece was commissioned by Kotaro Fukuma to have its world premiere in Suntory Hall during a concert by the same name.
April 6 marks the anniversary of launching HarmonyTalk.com. Back in 2004, HarmonyTalk was rather a blog dedicated to music. Gradually, however, it found its way to becoming a more sophisticated journal with an intensive but not exclusive concentration on classical music.
Fantasia on One Note was my first professional work for piano, which had its world premiere by the great pianist Peter Jablonski in Sweden, and it has been performed by various pianists in the UK, Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. The recording of this work has also been broadcast on the Dutch public radio, NPR Radio 4.
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.
UnTwelve Non-profit Organization announced the results of its 2014/2015 composition competition on January 28, 2015. Shaahin Mohajeri, an Iranian Tonbak player, microtonalist, acoustician and composer, was awarded the second prize for his piece “Castle of Babak.”
Tehran Flute Choir was established in 1394 (late 2015) by Firouzeh Navai. Tehran Flute Choir, Iran’s first largest flute choir, recruited its members mostly from young talented flutists of Iranian Flute Association. Featuring piccolo, flute, alto flute and bass flute, Tehran Flute Choir, directed by Firouzeh Navai, premiered under the batons of Saeed Taghadosi on January 7-8, 2016 at Roudaki Hall in Tehran.
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 year 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Evlin Baghcheban’s death. She played a crucial role to promote opera and choral music in Persia (Iran). Born to an Assyrian-French family in Turkey, she studied singing and piano at the Ankara State Conservatory. In 1950 Evlin married the Persian composer and fellow student Samin Baghcheban and moved to Tehran.
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:
Almost three months into the new Iranian year (starting March 21), it is still not too late to have a look at the last year and the challenges that the musicians faced. The following article was published on the first day of the New Year in the Persian edition of the HarmonyTalk journal.