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MUSIC OF THE MIDDLE EAST. Major Cultural Influences. Persian culture (Iran, speak Farsi, adheres to Shia interpretation of Islam; historic Persian Empire) Arabic culture (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait; speak Arabic)

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Major Cultural Influences

  • Persian culture (Iran, speak Farsi, adheres to Shia interpretation of Islam; historic Persian Empire)

  • Arabic culture (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait; speak Arabic)

  • Turkish culture (Turkey, present day Afghanistan; speak Turkic; historic Ottoman Empire)



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Influence of Islam

Arose in Arabia in 7th century; was unifying force among Arabic tribes. Arabic language and culture begin to absorb Persian.




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Islam and Music

  • Koranic chant. Emphasis on written word (Koran is revealed word of God). Koran is important source for poetry, literature and song texts.

    • Example of Koranic chant.

  • No tradition of instrumental religious music or religious dance (with exception of some sects).


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Classical Music of Iran

TAR

NEY

KAMANCHE

SANTOUR

ZARB / DONBAK

SETAR


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Persian Carpets

Persian Calligraphy

Persian miniature (Tabriz School, 13th cent.)

EXAMPLES OF PERSIAN ART FORMS


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Khandan/Musiqi Continuum

Musiqi

Khandan

“Unacceptable”

“Acceptable”

Dance music (esp. belly dance)

Highly rhythmic

Precomposed

Professional

Ensemble

Instrumental

Chant

Unmetered

Improvised

Amateur

Solo

Vocal


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Persian Classical Music

  • Transmitted in private concerts.

  • Role of improvisation.

  • Texture: monophonic or heterophonic.

  • Melodies usually ornamented.

  • Tense vocal quality.

  • Section of concert devoted to one dastgah


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Music Theory

  • Dastgah:

    • a mode, similar to Greek modes (but not limited to half and whole steps)

    • 7 primary, 5 secondary

    • Basis for composition and improvisation

    • Includes pitches, scale patterns, melodic essence (motif). Each has descriptive name and associated character

  • Gusheh:

    • subdivision of a dastgah; “central nuclear melody”

  • Radif:

    • Repertoire of several hundred melodies or gushehs in all 12 dastgahs memorized by students and used as basis for improvisation and composition


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    DASTGAH = SHUR SELECTED GUSHES (melodic motifs)

    http://www.dejkam.com/music/iran_traditional/about/


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    Classical Concerts

    • Section of concert explores a particular dastgah (usu. five instrumental or vocal pieces)

    • Concerts

      • Open with rhythmic introductory piece (like Pishdaramad)

      • Avaz (improvised, nonmetric) (considered high point of concert)

      • Concluding section (rhythmic dance or light vocal)


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    Traditional 19th century Iranian court musicians playing kamanche, dombak, dayere, tar, santour


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    Indian and Persian Classical Music

    • Similarities:

      • use complex system of pitches

      • have long history of performance and theoretical writings about music

      • Monophonic or heterophinc

      • Transmitted in concerts

      • Passed on in oral tradition

      • Incorporate improvisation and composition

    • Differences:

      • Persian tradition has no equivalent of tala

      • Ambivalent attitude of Islam towards music


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