Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
Ali Tajvidi (1920 – 2004), one of the most prominent Iranian musicians, passed away sixteen years ago. He was one of the most distinguished Iranian artists. To specify one of the fields in which he was unique, one can refer to Tasnif composition. A brief review of his manifold musical activities is presented below.
Tajvidi, the composer of Tasnifs
Ali Tajvidi is outlived by his many Tasnifs. As Tajvidi mentioned, out of 300 to 350 pieces he has composed, the majority have been either Tasnifs or Taraneh. One can rightly claim that out of all these Tasnifs, more than 20 of them are still popular and have been performed and re-worked over and over.
Interestingly enough, Tajvidi has composed valuable works in two Dastgahs which were less used by his fellow composers, i. e., Chahargah and Nava, which are still well-known among Iranians. Avoiding clichés and coming up with innovations were features of his pieces even when he was composing in more popular Dastgahs such as Bayat Tork; this is while few artists could evade the clichés of this mode as much as Tajvidi did. In his Tasnif, “I Am Worried”, Tajvidi stands somewhere between Bayat Tork and Shoor; and in his “Childhood” no clichés of “model melody” of the Radif are identified.
Apart from his Tasnifs’ melodic strength, Tajvidi was excellent in setting poems to music in his own time. Maestro Hossein Dehlavi, prominent composer and the author of a book entitled Marriage of Poetry and Persian Vocal Music (2011) brought examples from Ali Tajvidi’s Tasnifs describing the latter as a composer who always observes the rules of setting poems to music unconsciously.
Tajvidi, the Violinist
There are many recordings available of Tajvidi playing the violin which has the following four characteristics: 1. his personal style in combining the violin playing styles of Abolhassan Saba and Hossein Yahaghi; 2. Remarkable variety of Tahrir 3. Using spiccato techniques in a skillful manner which is rarely done by other Iranian violinists 4. Playing out of tune on and off.
The last of the above-mentioned features along with his often harsh sonority made Tajvidi’s playing style fail to become popular among the general public. Was it not for this feature, he would have been an unrivaled violinist whose technical characteristics and edition could serve as a bridge to fill the gap between the rich content and Tahrir of Saba’s style and Yahaghi’s lyrical style. A role which, in Tajvidi’s absence, Habibollah Badiee played with less variety of Tahrir; yet, he won popularity.
- 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…
No introduction is needed when talking about the position of the late Houshang Zarif (1938-2020) in the Iranian music. His character and personality are so well-known among musicians that his name per se is a symbol and role model for the Iranian youth. “Becoming Houshang Zarif” is the dream of many young people who enter the world of music in Iran and many of whom retire regretting the realisation of this dream.
The world of music has unparalleled respect for Bach. Bach is considered the spiritual father of classical music; Bach’s great position is due not only to his great achievements in the fields of harmony, counterpoint, and compositional sciences but also to his respect for and adherence to the artistic principles of classical music. In the history of classical music, it is recorded that Bach walked about fifty kilometers to listen to the music played by the great German organist Dieterich Buxtehude, and this is the path that every idealistic classical music student should walk.
Following an interview by Mehdi Salem, the director of the Rudaki Foundation, with the “Our Music” website, a response from the dismissed musicians was published in response to this conversation, which you read:
Born in Isfahan, Iran, and based in the UK, Farhad Poupel’s music has been performed and will be performed in numerous prestigious concert halls and festivals throughout the world including Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan; La Roque-d’Anthéron Piano Festival, La Roque-d’Anthéron, France; Biarritz Festival, Biarritz, France; Stoller Hall, Manchester, UK; Janacek academy of music and performing art, Brno, Czech Republic; Karlskrona International Piano Festival, Karlskrona, Sweden; by distinguished artists such as Kotaro Fukuma, Peter Jablonski, Daniel Grimwood, Margaret Fingerhut, Catherine Carby, Kristýna Znamenáčková,Jeffrey Biegel, Jean-Francois Bouvery and orchestras such as Windsor Symphony Orchestra or broadcasted on the NPR Radio 4, Netherland. The following is an interview with him on the ocaasion of the premier of the Legend of Bijan and Manijeh.
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.
Microtona is a sixty-eight-page Booklet with personal comments by the contributing microtonal artists. The booklet also includes a DVD which consists of 8 original video tracks and 9 original audio tracks. The project is an international one featuring unpublished pieces by composers from Iran, Japan, U.S., France, Austria, Germany and Belgium.
B. applying force: the force needed for putting finger on finger board is applied through finger tips and using the rest of hand set especially wrist is not allowed. To practice this, it is possible to hold violin without the bow and throw the fingers on the finger board from 1-2cm distance; apply force only through finger tips.
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.
Developments in Composing
Along with developments in the Iranian instruments, composition of the Iranian pieces developed as well. As a matter of fact, the developments of the two, mutually affected each other. In other words, instrumental developments led to developments in composition and vice versa.
The text you are reading is about Hamed Fathi, a guitarist and one of Lilly Afshar’s students, which was previously published on the Persian website HarmonyTalk.com: