This page is the index to my hyper-media report on the traditional classical music of Persia (Iran). Of the many ancient societies that have shaped the history of human civilization, Persia has been one of the few which has persistently maintained its identity, and individuality through the ages; this is reflected in its classical music. The purpose of this site is to allow the casual observer an opportunity to explore the musical tradition of this ancient civilization.
You will need a WAV player to hear the sound clips in this report. Click here if you need to download a player.
Below is an outline of the ideas presented in this report. To view any topic in greater detail, simply click on it.
The following characteristics are shared between Iranian and other
Central Asian music:
The following are characteristics which distinguish Persian music from other Central Asian music:
There are three instrumental forms and one vocal form in Persian music. The instrumental forms
are pishdaramad, cheharmezrab, and reng. Pishdaramad was invented
by a great master of the tar, Darvish Khan, and was inteded as a prelude to the daramad of a
dastgah. It may be in duple, triple, or quadruple time, and it draws its melody from some of
the important gushehs of the piece.
Cheharmezrab is a solo piece, mostly with a fast tempo, and is usually based on the melody
immediately preceding it. The third instrumental form is the reng, which is a simple dance
piece that is usually played at the conclusion of the dastgah.
The vocal form is called tasnif. It has a design similar to the pishdaramad, and is usually placed immediately before the reng.
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Iranian classical music is usually performed by small ensembles of variable size. These groups typically consist of the singer, one or two accompanying melodic instruments (either of kamanche, tar, santur, setar, or nay) and perhaps a rhythmic instrument, such as the dombak, or the now rarer daf. The most important instruments are listed below. Click on the names or pictures to read a description and to hear a sound sample.
Even though they have unique voicings, these instruments are intertwined in the ensemble to maintain a monophonic texture. The following example, in which all of the instruments play the same melodic line is typical of Persian music. To hear what an ensemble sounds like, click the speaker below:
The nay, tar, santur, and setar playing as an ensemble(133K WAV file).
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Bellow is a list of other sites having to do with Iran or Persian Music.
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Created 4/22/96 By Ali Zomorodi