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)
Influence of Islam Arose in Arabia in 7th century; was unifying force among Arabic tribes. Arabic language and culture begin to absorb Persian.
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).
Classical Music of Iran TAR NEY KAMANCHE SANTOUR ZARB / DONBAK SETAR
Persian Carpets Persian Calligraphy Persian miniature (Tabriz School, 13th cent.) EXAMPLES OF PERSIAN ART FORMS
Khandan/Musiqi Continuum Musiqi Khandan “Unacceptable” “Acceptable” Dance music (esp. belly dance) Highly rhythmic Precomposed Professional Ensemble Instrumental Chant Unmetered Improvised Amateur Solo Vocal
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
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
DASTGAH = SHUR SELECTED GUSHES (melodic motifs) http://www.dejkam.com/music/iran_traditional/about/
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)
Traditional 19th century Iranian court musicians playing kamanche, dombak, dayere, tar, santour
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