Category Archives: Contemporary Music

Last Year under the Light of Music

Almost three months into the new Iranian year (starting March 21), it is still not too late to have a look at the last year and the challenges that the musicians faced. The following article was published on the first day of the New Year in the Persian edition of the HarmonyTalk journal.

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.

The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (VI)

Researcher: Mohammad Tarighat Translator: Fatemeh Alimohammadi Hooks and attached rings: The junction of the ring to the arch is about 3 centimeters from the skin.  The ring with its side rings should be as far as the diameter of a ring (about one and a half to one and eight centimeters) to make a proper…
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The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (V)

ehrouz Mohammadi, “Daf and its feasts in Ghaderieh’s Tekyeh” mentions that the outer thickness of arch where studs are located, [is] between one to one and a half centimeters (Mohammadi, 2001: 12). The thickness of arch should be gradually reduced from the installation place of rings to skin (Avazeh of Daf) to create a high volume, clear sound from Daf; also, the connection of arch to skin should not be less than one millimeter, because in this case the skin will be torn due to the sharpness of the wood (Mogharab Samadi, 2009: 79-78). The thickness of wood on the skin side is about two to three millimeters (Tohidi, 2002: 79).

The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (IV)

Researcher: Mohammad Tarighat Translator: Fatemeh Alimohammadi Daf Structure The Structure of Daf in different cities of Iran has a great variety in terms of dimensions, components and even appearance; some of which are as follows: – Square Daf, on which the skin was stretched either on one or both sides, with strings installed inside it…
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The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (III)

“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).

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.

Is the Iranian National Anthem a Copy? (I)

The alleged similarity between the Iranian and South Korean National Anthems has been a matter of discussion among musicians in Iran for several years. Earlier in 2021, the issue was taken to the media again with not only claims that the anthem is very similar to another song but also the suggestion that its musical content should draw more on the Iranian national music. Some even went to the extent to suggest replacing it with the song “O, Iran” composed by the late Rouhollah Khaleghi. Before delving more into the main issue, it would not go amiss to consider some technical characteristics of the song “O, Iran” composed in 1944.

Farhad Poupel’s piece, Road to Bach, performed at Suntory Hall

On June 19, 2021 , young Iranian composer and pianist, Farhad Poupel’s piece, Road to Bach, was performed at the prestigious Suntory Hall by the great Japanese pianist, Kotaro Fukuma. The piece was commissioned by Kotaro Fukuma to have its world premiere in Suntory Hall during a concert by the same name.

Homayoun Rahimian & Iran’s National Orchestra

The Roudaki Foundation presented the permanent conductor of the National Orchestra (Orchestr Melli), Homayoun Rahimian, in a ceremony, and finally, after four years, the national orchestra found a permanent conductor. Homayoun Rahimian is the fourth permanent conductor of this orchestra after Farhad Fakhreddini, Bardia Kiaras, and Fereidoun Shahbaziyan. He, who has previously had experience of conducting concerts besides being Meister’s concert of this orchestra, performed the concert “Autumns” on the 20th of Tir, performing works by Rouhollah Khaleqi, Javad Ma’roufi, and Hossein Dehlavi.

Negation of Changes in Iranian Music: Embracing Tradition

The perspective that denies any alteration or innovation beneath the realm of Iranian music, and more broadly, the performance and even the structure of Iranian music instruments, stems from the discourse of “tradition-oriented”* and the “return to self” movement in Iranian music. Given that some educators still adhere to this discourse and emphasize the necessity of preserving tradition, a perception is formed among art students that Iranian music, including Radif, lacks dynamism and is confined within a rigid framework.

From Past Days…

Non-profit “Microtona” Project Released

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.

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs was held in Niavaran Cultural Center, in Tehran, Iran on Feb. 28th, 2015. The initiator of the festival was Sajjad Pourghanad, Iranian music writer, researcher, founder of the festival and Persian setar and tar player.

Principles of Violin Playing (IX)

4.3.1. To practice playing of doubles of notes involving two different fingers, each note is played at separate bows with slow tempo, each note is played perfectly regarding its bass and tenor sounds and then the considered double is played at another bow while considering the resulted sound of the double.

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.

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.

A Look at Ali Tajvidi’s Manifold Musical Activities (I)

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.

A Promising Concert by National Instruments Orchestra

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.

Shaahin Mohajeri Wins UnTwelve Composition Competition

UnTwelve Non-profit Organization announced the results of its 2014/2015 composition competition on January 28, 2015. Shaahin Mohajeri, an Iranian Tonbak player, microtonalist, acoustician and composer, was awarded the second prize for his piece “Castle of Babak.”

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.

Ashoura Opera

Ashura Opera was composed by Behzad Abdi, the Iranian composer, in 2008 based on librettos compiled by Behrouz Gharib. The main source for the libretto is poems by Mohtasham Kashani, a sixteenth century Iranian poet.