Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
Maestro Hassan Nahid is one of the most prominent and distinctive artists who values high morals, discipline and hard work. His music activities include playing the Ney as both soloist and an accompaniment in the most important Iranian music orchestras and ensembles during the last fifty years, including the Orchestra of Iranian Instruments (Nusratullah Golpayegani), the Orchestra of National Instrumentalists of the Ministry of Culture and Arts (Payvar Orchestra), the Orchestra of Iranian Instruments (Morteza Hananeh) , Darvish Orchestra, Samaie Orchestra, Roudaki Orchestra, Maestros’ Ensemble, Aref Ensemble, as well as performances in various radio programs, many concerts in different countries, as well as a long teaching experience in the National Conservatory of Music, music universities and other music institutions to name but a few.
However, high morals and piety are the characteristics which distinguish Maestro Hassan Nahid from all Iranian artists and music maestros; characteristics which are confirmed by all those who have collaborated with Maestro Nahid during these years. Having discipline and seriousness in work, humility, kindness and patience along with great skills and virtuosity, both playing in an orchestra and as a soloist, has made Maestro Nahid a unique person with a fully-developed personality which is rare to find among musicians. Among the Iranian classical instruments, Ney was the last instrument that was able to show its ability in accompaniment with the orchestra; a measure which was made possible through Maestro Nahid’s great efforts and abilities.
Although Maestro Nahid was not able to communicate directly with Maestro Hassan Kasaei at the beginning of his youth due to living in Shiraz while Kasaei lived in Esfahan, his great interest in learning to play the Ney made it possible for him to learn the basics of playing the instrument through radio programmes. When he moved to Tehran, he was able to introduce himself in the music community as the first Ney player who could read musical scores. However, at early stages of his work, Maestro Nahid played the Ney using the lip-positioning. Even while in Tehran and working with various orchestras, he used a combination of lip-and-tooth positioning for playing the instrument.
It is especially understandable for Ney players to what extent it is difficult to use these two methods and create balance in both sounds in terms of maintaining the tune; it does require high virtuosity in playing. Because the sound produced by the lip is naturally about a half-tone higher than the sound produced by the dental method. But later, upon receiving advice from Maestro Kasaei, Maestro Nahid completely replaced his traditional style of playing (putting the Ney on his lips) with the dental style.
It is worth explaining that using the lip positioning means that the sound of the Ney is produced by placing the Ney headpiece on the lips, a method that is still common among local musicians today. But in the dental method, the headpiece of the Ney is placed between the upper front teeth; therefore, the air enters the Ney through the tongue and the sound of the Ney is produced. This method became common among Isfahan school of musicians and today Iranian Ney players use this method.
In any case, the status and role of Maestro Nahid in the promotion and development of playing the Ney is not to be denied, and many musicians of today’s generation have been directly or indirectly influenced by the teachings of this precious Maestro.
- A brief examination of Ardavan Kamkar’s Santour playing style
- 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
From Past Days…
The name of Maestro Hassan Kassai is so vehemently intertwined with Ney (Persian reed flute) that one cannot imagine one without the other immediately coming into mind. Ney is one of the instruments which went through a lot of ups and downs in the history of the Iranian music since the time of Sassanid kings to the time when shepherds found playing it consoling when they took their cattle for grazing. However, Nay could never demonstrate its main capacities to gain a stable position among the musicians and the people like other instruments including Oud, Tar, Santour, all sorts of bowed string instruments and plucked string instruments.
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.
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.
In heterophonic variant, two performers perform a single melody simultaneously and change it. Performing and changing a single melody simultaneously by two performers leads to the coincidence of different voices.
In this project, my specialized responsibility was the basic drawings of the desired instrument with the help of engineering and mechanical software. I have also the carried out phases related to engineering designs, related variables, and volume and weight calculations under Mr. Ziaei’s direct supervision from the very beginning. Regarding the challenges of this work, suffice it to say that the set of designs for the instrument lasted more than 9 months in the final stage of the project only.
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.
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)
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.
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.
The National Instruments Orchestra of Iran performed its first concert amid much hope and anxiety on July 18, 2015. The Orchestra is founded by Roudaki Cultural and Arts Foundation which is a semi-private foundation in Iran. The Arts Director for the National Instruments Orchestra of Iran is cand the Orchestra Executive Director is Sadjad Pourghand.