Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
The article you are about to read was written by Rouhollah Khaleqi (1906-1965), composer, and conductor of Golha Orchestra (established in 1956). Khaleqi was one of the most prominent promoters of polyphony for the Iranian music and is one of the best representatives of the school of Ali Naghi Vaziri. In this article, he reviews the history of polyphony in the Iranian music and offers his points of view:
A survey of the history of the Iranian music proves that the Iranian music has always been unison. Although in some of old Iranian books on music, the pleasant and unpleasant characteristics of intervals are discussed, it is not imaginable that “harmony” has been part of the Iranian music. However, in the Western world harmony has been experimentally applied since the tenth century B.C. and was first used in church performances and the harmonic human voice. Harmony was introduced to form orchestras and the issue of orchestral harmony emerged.
As far as I remember, the first step in harmonizing the Iranian music was taken when the French Alfred Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (1842-1907), a military musician and composer, visited Iran [in 1868]. Lemaire arranged some of the Iranian songs for the piano, which were played with the right hand and the left hand accompanied by playing some “chords”. They were very simple and basic, and were then arranged by the so-called military music “technicians” for a military orchestra. I remember that when I was a child, some of these melodies and Tasnifs were performed by musicians. Some of these songs were published by Mozaffar ad-Din Shah (the fifth Qajar king of Iran, reigning from 1896 until his death in 1907) in France, a copy of which is available at the Library of the National Conservatory of Music.
Monsieur Lemaire used to teach music theory to students at Dar ul-Funun where the first book on the theory of music in Iran was compiled by the French musician’s Persian language interpreter and was published by Dar ul-Funun publishing house in 1882.
In the next years, Gholam Reza Khan Minbashian, a.k.a Salar-Mo’azez, a student of Dar ul-Funun, who later graduated from military music from the Conservatory of Petrograd, was appointed as the head of the music school and followed Monsieur Lemaire’s works.
- Interview with Farhad Poupel (I)
- About Davoud Pirnia, the founder of “Golha” radio program
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- 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…
Principles of Violin Playing (VII)
18.104.22.168 Regarding the great linear distance and the unusual distance between the first and forth fingers, the first finger while playing the doubles of ninth and tenth interval, can be twisted in the knuckle area and the point mentioned in 22.214.171.124 paragraph in relation to the way first finger is placed indicating that the first joint of this finger in back of hand must be in line with the direction of forearm and left hand is not true here.
Parviz Meshkatian’s Heart Beat for People (I)
Amidst the popularity of traditionalism in the Iranian music, Parviz Meshkatian (1955- 2009) moved from Neyshabur to Tehran. He learnt to play Santour and became educated in the Radif of Iranian music at the Centre for Preservation and Promotion of Music which was at the forefront of promoting the return to musical traditions. Despite his studies at a centre which promoted the use of the phrase “traditional music” in Iran, Parviz Meshkatian emerged as a creative artist whose innovative and unique ideas attracted the admiration of Iranian artists and people from different walks of life. This article studies the reason behind Meshkatian’s deviation from the wrong approach of traditionalism strongly promoted by the Centre and argues that apart from the issue of theory of Iranian music, he can be considered as Ali Naqi Vaziri’s successor.
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.
Behzad Abdi’s opera Rumi was physically released by Naxos
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.
Iranian Fallacies – School of Vaziri
The term “School of Vaziri” is often used in writings on Iranian music, but the exact meaning of the term is not clear; some of the authors have used the term to only refer to the group of Vaziri’s students, including a large group of his conservatory students and his Tar students such as Abolhassan Saba, Rouhollah Khaleghi, Ahmad Foroutan Rad, Hossein Sanjari, Heshmat Sanjari and others. But can we consider all Vaziri’s students as followers of his school of thought? This is definitely a mistake, because we know that some of Vaziri’s students have chosen a completely different path than that of Vaziri.
Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (I)
At the end of the Qajar era and as Iran entered the power transition period, known as the constitutional era, the Iranian music went through a lot of changes. These changes gained momentum as the students and followers of Ali Naqi Vaziri’s entered the musical scene. These changes greatly influenced designs of instruments, playing methods, singing, composing, etc.
The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (I)
Today, percussion instruments have such a high place in music that are an essential element of orchestras. This has attracted many people to this type of instrument with roots as old as the first humans. A historical study of music, shows that humans used the sound of these instruments to defend themselves against wild animals and, over time, for alerting each other, signaling their readiness and encouraging people for war, ritual ceremonies, dances, etc. in a manner that is still clearly visible in music and some ritual ceremonies.
History’s Impact on Evaluating a Work of Art
With this description, we have automatically included a criterion called “History”, Until we know the time of the creation of a work of art, we cannot judge whether it has been easy to create or not. Suppose that, in a historical study, we find a musical work that is similar in compositional techniques (including form, melody, context, and orchestration) to a minor work of the nineteenth century; however, our research proves that, this work dates back to 200 years prior to that date. Can we still consider this work insignificant? Definitely not! So this is where the first use of history-based judgment comes into play.
From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (I)
Music as an art has its own special history; emergence of a singer, of an instrumentalist and then the emergence of the strong character of a composer covers three significant phases of the art of music. With the emergence of composer which was simultaneous with the emergence of the language of music, this art managed to offer a domain for criticism for its composer; a procedure which led to a magnificent variety and evolution in musical production. Even though the conflicts between singers and instrumentalists have not met their end in the Iranian society and while singers can achieve high, instrumentalists have yet to play behind curtains . In a special era, with the efforts of musicians such as Ali Naghi Vaziri (1887-1979) and Rouhollah Khaleghi (1906-1965), glimmers of a composing era started to glow bearing fruit in Khaleghi’s achievement as Iran’s first professional composer. Khaleghi made his reputation as a composer while Vaziri deserved to pioneer this path. By then Vaziri was well-known as a Tar player.
Iranian Fallacies – Composition and Arrangement
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.