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.
- 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…
The life territory of the female-male relations in the Iranian cultural context is basically a domestic territory and not a social-living one in the labour and leisure domains. To prove this, it only suffices to consider the Iranian men’s viewpoints about women. For the Iranian men, there are three perspectives regarding the women: mother, sister and wife. Mother represents the emotional territory; sister represents the logical territory at home while wife represents the sexual territory.
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.
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].
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.
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.
Torqeh or jal is the same bird (Bimaculated lark) and is the name of a muqam which is well-known in Torbate Jam and those areas. Jal muqam is called Torqeh in Esfarayen and Bojnourd. This muqam which was used to be played by Bakhshis/Bagşies (dutar-players) in the past is seldom performed today.
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.
“Our ancestors believe powerful blows upon the Daf scatters evil spirits of disease and distress to create a clean and holy space filled with health and prosperity. Adding tools to Daf increases this instrument’s purification, spreading, and summoning powers of evil forces and goddesses. Daf was mostly depicted by red, color of blood, in ancient times or sometimes it was depicted with green, the color of plants and nature. There were probably some mysterious designs painted upon the wooden body and frames of these instruments just like today” (Pahlavan, 2013: 44).
Nine-bridge and twelve-bridge Sanours were both used until the early Pahlavi dynasty. However, as Faramarz Payvar devised new methods for playing the nine-bridge Sanour, this variety of the instrument which was hammered by felted sticks became popular.
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.