Interview with the Makers of the New Qeychak (I)

Translated by Mahboube Khalvati

On occasion of the 8th anniversary of launching HarmonyTalk Online Journal on 6 April 2012, Reza Ziaei, master luthier and researcher on classical music instruments (violin family), announced that the first phase of the project to improve Qeychak has borne fruit. The new instrument would feature a bowl of ribs and the material used for the surface would be wooden. Carrying out the second phase of the project took more than 7 years engaging the new members of Reza Ziaei’s Workshop. In this phase, new researches were conducted from different aspects on the Qeychak and the modern versions of the instrument which were introduced previously by other instrument makers. The available versions of the instrument were studied in terms of their weak and strong technical features.
The second design of the new Qeychak with four soprano strings and a single-piece bowl was designed and made in 2019; the third and fourth versions of the instrument, namely, four-string alto Qeychak and five-string soprano-alto Qeychak, both featuring single-piece bowls were made in 2020.
After preparing the first versions of the instruments, Qeychak players were surveyed on the new instrument and the project entered the final stage for inauguration.
The above-mentioned phases shed light on the generalities of the project to modify and improve folk Qeychak and modern Qeychak; however, there are still a lot to be said about the design and crafting of the instrument which necessitates detailed interviews with the Workshop members involved in the project. Therefore, an interview was conducted with project members the summaries of which follow:
Reza Ziaie

Reza Ziaie, master lutier and researcher on classical music instruments (violin family):

HT: What is the research background for this instrument? Why and when did you think of working on it?
RZ: With regard to the historical background of Qeychak, I should say that the sources we referred to for our research mainly consisted of open sources and literature available to the public. But the major part of our research on the instrument focused on studying the why-ness and how-ness in designing the instrument’s elements, the overall mechanism of the instrument, strong points and structural weaknesses as well as the opinions of Qeychak players.

In assessing each of these reasons and how-nesses, we have tried to make proposals to improve the overall conditions of the instrument based on scientific principles and our experience. Therefore, surveying the changes brought about in the new instrument requires a critical investigation on the same reasons and how-nesses together with a clarification on physical, mechanic and acoustic reasons which were drawn upon in designing the new Qeychak; which are however beyond the limit and scope of this interview.

Regarding the second part of your question, it can be mentioned that we started working on this instrument because we were repeatedly requested by friend artists to improve some of the historical Iranian instruments based on our expertise and knowledge. So, after conducting preliminary researches on the issue while continuing with the Workshop’s main specialized activities, we crafted the first sample of the instrument in 2012; in 2018, we put doing new researches and making new samples, with the collaboration of a group consisting of Workshop’s current and former members, on our agenda.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
Your email is never shared.

HarmonyTalk Journal’s Twentieth Anniversary Celebration

On the 10th of Khordad, 1403 (equivalent to May 30, 2024), the twentieth anniversary celebration of the online journal “HarmonyTalk” took place at the Ersbārān Cultural Center. The event garnered such interest from enthusiasts that the venue was completely filled.

A combination of technique and musicality in the fingers of a pianist

In the world of classical music, the position of soloist has always been exceptional. Apart from the technical ability that many orchestral musicians also have, the soloist must also have a special power to be able to present a different and unique perspective of a piece. The soloist must maintain its special power of expression not only in solo roles but also when interacting with the orchestra.

From Past Days…

Principles of Violin Playing (I)

The present series of training articles, “Principles of Violin Playing”, seek to help students, to appropriately understand this field, by gradually introducing, categorizing, and teaching the myriad relevant points. One of the principles of playing violin, which must be always kept in mind, is that the selection of the most natural position for the body parts while playing is the best and most appropriate solution. As a matter of fact, any unnatural body part position which requires lots of energy or unusual stretching to maintain, is wrong.

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.

Iranian Fallacies – Global Performance

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.

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.

Is the Iranian National Anthem a Copy? (II)

In response, it should be said that it is better for the national anthem of a country to use the musical material exclusive to that country; however, some problems might come up in doing so the most important of which include: lack of familiarity of other countries’ music performer with the concerned country’s specific music intervals and special musical technique; and secondly, the strangeness of that music to the foreign listener.

A brief examination of Ardavan Kamkar’s Santour playing style

I still think of those fish in a crystal bowl for the Haft sin table and those disappointed old men who went out to sell blackfish.

Farshad Sanjari, Forgotten Iranian Conductor Met His Tragic End

Farshad Sanjari, one of the most renowned Iranian conductors in the 1970s in Iran died after fire broke in his apartment in Vienna on November 22, 2019. Farshad Sanjari was not involved in politics; however, he was one of the victims of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, his name was never seen as the conductor of any programmes.

The Mystery of Messiah

Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 18 December 1737) was an Italian luthier and is considered the most significant and greatest artisan in this field.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (V)

In addition to the above-mentioned, polyphony can be also formed when a melody is performed by several singers in different ambiances or different sound registers according to their physiologic abilities. An example of this has been performed in rituals of Khanqah of Ghaderi darawish of Mahabad[i].

“The Art of Silence” Project Will be Released

Shaahin Mohajeri, the award-winning Iranian microtonal compose, has contributed to The Art of Silence is an international project which features unpublished pieces by microtonal composers from Iran, Japan, the United States, and other countries.