Prominent Iranian Musicologist Passes Away in Vienna

Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
Khosrow Djafarzadeh, musicologist and architect, who was also one of the main authors of HarmonyTalk journal passed away on 15 July 2019.
Born in 1941 in Hamedan, Iran, Djafarzadeh finished his secondary studies in Iran and moved to Vienna, Austria to study architecture. Even though he learnt to play violin at the age of 12, in Europe he devoted himself to architecture and the study of Europe’s history, culture and civilization.
One of his early writings entitled “experimental theatre in Vienna’s house of artists” which concentrated on the European culture and civilization was published in 1975. In the same year, the Iranian musician, Houshang Zarif visited Vienna to introduce the Iranian music to Europeans when Djafarzadeh obtain the opportunity to meet Zarif. Seizing this opportunity, Djafarzadeh managed to learn to play Tar under the supervision of one of the most virtuoso Iranian Tar players. Meanwhile he felt the urge to study about Iran’s history and culture concentrating on music history.
Amidst these developments one cannot ignore the role his wife, Professor Forough Karimi from Vienna Academy of Fine Arts played.
At the same time, Djafarzadeh established the Society of Iranian Artists in Vienna and published a quarterly entitled “Vienna’s souvenir” (Rahavard Vien) and staged musical performances with different ensembles including Shiraz Ensemble. Society of Iranian Artists in Vienna organized a variety of cultural and artistic programs for Iranian artists, and these activities led Jafarzadeh became familiar with musicians including Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Hossein Alizadeh, Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Shahram Nazeri, Parviz Meshkatian, Dariush Talaie, Aliakbar Shekarchi, Kayhan Kalhor and Arshad Tahmasebi.
Djafarzadeh’s main academic and educational background was in architecture, and music had always been his second favorite field, though today the value of his work in music is no less than the value of his architectural pursuits. For the past several years, Djafarzadeh had been working on “vulgarity” in the scientific discourse of Iranian music. He argues that the lack of a scientific language in the discourse of the Iranian music has been the main reason behind lack of consensus among theorists of the field and the inefficiency of conventional theories of the Iranian music.
In 2019, the second edition of Djafarzadeh’s first book “Iranian-music”-ology was published by Art of Music publication. The research consists of three chapters namely “systems of sounds in music”, “metre and rhythm in the Iranian music” and “performance of the Iranian music” which feature interesting and original research on the Iranian music. In “systems of sounds in music”, Djafarzadeh proposes a new approach for theorizing Iranian music by analyzing modal “gousheh”s in Radif instead of introducing all the goushehs in the Iranian Radif.

Djafarzadeh goes even further than the current established Iranian modes available in the radif and introduces “combined mughams” (modes) introduces new modes by bringing various examples of combination of different modes of folk music, Iranian music and even Turkish and Arabic music.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*
Your email is never shared.

About Davoud Pirnia, the founder of “Golha” radio program

Davoud Pirnia, writer and musicologist was the founder of “Golha” (Flowers of Persian Song and Music) programs on Tehran Radio (1956-1966). He received his early education from his father, Hassan Pirnia (Moshir al-Douleh), and several tutors of the time (Taraghi, interview, July 1989) and continued his studies at Saint Louis School in Tehran and then in Switzerland and graduated in law. While studying law, Pirnia got acquainted with European classical music. Upon returning to Iran, he was employed by the Ministry of Justice and founded the Lawyers’ Guild. Then he was transferred to the Ministry of Finance and established the Department of Statistics in this ministry. Later, he became the head of the state inspection office at the Prime Ministry; he was, then, promoted to the position of the Deputy Prime Minister (Navab Safa, interview, August 1999)

Rouhollah Khaleghi Artistic Center established in Washington DC

Golnoush Khaleghi (1941-2021), a Washington-based Persian musician and the daughter of the contemporary Persian (Iranian) composer and theoretician Rouhollah Khaleghi (1906-1965) founded a musical center called RKAC to keep the name and the work of her father alive.

From Past Days…

A Miracle in the Iranian Music: About Tehran Flute Choir’s Eight-year Tenacity

Tehran Flute Choir is a 40-member orchestra of Iran’s best flutists; Iran’s best flutists? Yes! If you write down the names of the greatest Iranian flute players who participate at concerts and contribute to academic centers in Iran, you will see that most of them are among the choir’s members.

The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (VII)

Conclusion

“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.

Parviz Meshkatian’s Heart Beat for People (II)

As such, the young Meshkatian reached the position of a great maestro in the Iranian music. Up until 1997, Meshkatian remained prolific and composed many pieces which were characterized by progressiveness while drawing on the music of the past Iranian musicians. In some of Meshkatian’s works, one can trace the influence of maestros such as Faramarz Payvar; however, this influence is so balanced that one can neither say that Meshkatian is a progressive and deconstructionist composer nor does he use cliché forms in his compositions.

New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (II)

When the author was working on the piece “Playing Love” by Ennio Morricone (from the legend of 1900), he realized a failure of the Lip Technique. Needing to play a chord in the 14th position of the guitar and in order to complete the harmony, it is necessary to play a harmonic note on the 7th or 5th position; it was not possible to touch the string to play this harmonic note, because the Lip Technique is used for getting the notes and not to touch the string and producing harmonic notes. Naturally, the only possible way to touch the string was to use the nose at the required position and playing the note with the right hand, and this was the best option the author found to how to play such harmonic notes, and where the Nose Technique was generated.

A note on “Illusion or Ingenuity” article

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.

Qanun, a feminized instrument?

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.

Hossein Aslani passed away!

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:

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.

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.

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.