The Qajar dynasty which faced many uprisings during its formation was stabilized in 1800 by Fath Ali Shah. Twenty eight years later when Naser al-din Shah became the king, many branches of art including music were favored by him. The reign of Naser al-din Shah which was almost fifty years provided a very good opportunity for Persian music to be complied. The direct protection and sponsorship of the court in this period of time led to the formation and the development of a special kind of music which is known today as “Persian dastgah music” or “Persian traditional music”. Also, due to the increasing impact of European culture due to the social and political relationships between Iran and Europe, a kind of western music emerged in Iran which was in fact different from the West. The only way to listen to some samples of this music is by listening to some recorded music from the late Qajar period.
The embellishment of Dastgah music is owned to the Farahani family. The head of this family was Aqa Ali Akbar Khan Farahani who was the main musician at the court of Naser al-din Shah. He also taught some students. There is a miniature belongs to that period of time showing Aqa Ali Akbar who is teaching some students learning the tar, (Figure 1). Aqa Ali Akbar died and his two sons’ education was left at hand of his nephew, Aqa Qolam Hussein. Aqa Qolam Hussein taught music to his cousins, Abodolah (Figure 2) and Hussein Qoli (Figure 3). These two brothers formulated and expanded the repertory of Persian dastgah music which was named radif and passed it down to the next generation. Due to the old traditions, the dastgah music of that time was very vocal-oriented. Singing a rhythmic song or tasnif was not very common since it was done by the motrebs and unprofessional musicians. As a result singing a tasnif was considered trivial. The great singers at that time believed that singing a tasnif was a task of women. Although the two great tasnif writers of the time, Ali Akbar Shayda and Aref Qazvini, changed the prevalent belief about the tasnif by their compositions, still the singers had the same view about singing a tasnif. The reputable composers would not compose a tasnif, or if they did, they would not mention their names. Most of the recorded music in the Qajar period including tasnifs, solos, and vocals accompanied by the instruments are played by instruments, such as the tar (Sample 1), kamanche, santur, and ney. Beside the Farahani family, the two great tasnif writers of the time, Ali Akbar Shayda (Figure 6) and Aref Qazvini (Figure 5), also played a major role in shaping the music of that era. Aref Qazvini was sympathetic with the Constitutional Revolution and most of his works were affiliated with that revolution. Also, he composed some love songs as well (Sample 2). On the other hand Ali Akbar Shayda totally composed his songs in the romantic genre (Sample 3). He never engaged himself with politics. Shayda composed a lot of tasnifs. His works are unique in the history of Persian music.
The Music of the Army
When Nser al-Din Shah was welcomed by a music band of the French Army during his first trip to Europe, he liked the ceremony very much and ordered to form such a music band in Iran. As a result, two music experts came from France to Iran. These two experts, Royun and Boske, formed the Iranian Royal Music Band in 1856. Thirteen years later, the assistant of the French Infantry Guard, Alfred Jean Batist Lumer (Figure 7) was hired by the Iranian government and began his teaching at the Dar al-Fonun college. Lumer educated many students and taught all of them to read and write music so that they could write and perform different music pieces. He also arranged and performed some of the Iranian vocal music pieces for the piano (Sample 4). These pieces were very different from their original versions since Lumer played them in the two main scales of western classical music, major and minor, whereas these pieces were not originally in these scales. In fact, Lumer could not play the Iranian music intervals with his western piano. Moreover, Lumer composed some songs and marches for different occasions so that could be played in governmental ceremonies. One of these songs was the first Iranian national anthem which was ordered in 1873 by the Iranian government. This song was recorded for the first time in 1905 and was known as “Salam-e Shahi” (Sample 5). This anthem was originally without words, but in the recent years, one of the Iranian song writers, Bijan Taraqi, put words for this anthem and later was sang by the young singer, Salar qili (Sample 6). Monsieur Lumer’s efforts were successful and some of his students became able to play in different bands. For example, one of his students, Ali Akbar Khan Shahi, established a band known as “the Shahi Orchestra” (Royal Orchestral) which would perform in many royal ceremonies at the court (Sample 7). One of the characteristics of the first music students of that period of time was that they would play the Western instruments such as the flute and clarinet in the atmosphere of Persian music. Although these instruments were not designed for Persian music, the eagerness and interests of these musicians made this possible so that they could play some dastgahs and avazs from the Persian art music repertory (Sample 8). The expertise of these musicians was such that the listeners did not feel that he/she is listening to non-Iranian music although the instruments were not Iranian. Today, after one hundred year, there are not many Iranian musicians who can perform Persian music by the western wind instruments.
Urban Folk Music
During the Qajar period, the difference between the art music and vulgar music in the scope of singing a tasnif was very little. Therefore, the singers would sing vulgar songs as well as the songs from the Persian art music with sumptuous poems. However, there were some musicians who were particularly good in performing vulgar music. Since from the technical perspective, the two areas of music, Persian art music and Persian vulgar music, did not differ that much, the only difference between the two was the poetries which were different both in terms of structure and meaning. As a result, the two trends or spheres of Persian music in the Qajar period were somehow mixed (Sample 9).
The Revolutionary Music
Before the Constitutional Revolution (1906), music in the urban areas was considered mainly as entertainment. The common theme of many songs was love. And, sometimes, the themes were so trivial. As Aref Qazvini says: Before I began to compose nationalistic tasnifs, the art of composing tasnif had declined too much that some tasnifs were composed for the king’s cat. Mozafar al-din Shah issued the Constitution decree in 1906 and the Iranian political system was changed to the constitutional monarchy. However, after few months, Mozafar al-din Shah died and his son, Mohammad Ali Shah, was crowned. Mohammad Ali Shah was determined to restore Qajar authority. He staged his counterrevolution in June 1908 and reestablished royal authority. This period of three years is known as “the little dictatorship” in the Iranian history, and it was the turning point in Iranian urban music. A major change happened in the history of Iranian music at this time. Music was not only an entertaining tool; rather, it became a mean for awakening people and a tool for national resistance against dictatorship. Aref Qazvini who was a singer, song-writer, and poet of the constitutional era composed many beautiful tasnifs about the political situation of that time. These tasnifs are important from two aspects. First, their musical structures are based on the structure of the Persian art music. Second, they were accepted by the people of the time and were sung by them since they reflected the social and political situations of that era. Aref’s tasnifs became the voice of the Iranian nation during the Constitutional Revolution and became the model for the composers with nationalistic beliefs in later generations (Sample 10).
Figure 1: Aqa Ali Akbar Khan Farahani, the great tar player from the time of Naser al-din Shah
Figure 2: Mirza abdolah Farahani
Figure 3: Aqa Hussein Qoli and his son, Ali Akbar Shahnazi
Figure 4: Sayad Ahmad Khan-e Savehi
Figure 6: Aref Qazvini
Figure 8: Ali Akbar Shayda
Figure 10: Monsieur Lumer
Figure 12: Shamsolemare
Figure 14: Payman Soltani
Figure 16: The Shahi Orchestra
Figure 18: Clarinet of Qoli Khan Yavar
Figure 20: A group of Qajar musicians
Figure 22: Aref Qazvini
In 1921, Reza Khan Mir Panj became the minister of war and two years later, he became the prime minister. In 1925, he crowned himself as the king of Iran and established the Pahlavi Dynasty. The most important event about the Persian art music history during Reza Shah’s reign was the return of Ali Naqi Vaziri from the West. Vaziri who had gone to Europe for studying music came back to Iran in 1923. In the same year, he opened his music school. The curriculum of Vaziri’s music school was designed after European music schools. In later years, Persian art music went to a new direction and some of Vaziri’s students like Ruhollah Khaleqi played important roles in the scope of Persian art music in that era.
The Persian Dastgah Music
The main figures in the scope of Persian dastgah music in this era were: Ali Akbar Shahnazi (Figure 3) who was Mirza Hussein Qoli’s son, Morteza Neydavood (Figure 2) who was the best student of Darvish Khan, Qamarolmoluk Vaziri (Figure 6), Sayad Hossein Taherzadeh (Figure 5), Abol Hassan Eqbal-e Azar (Figure 7), Reza Qoli Mirza Zeli (Figure 4), and Taj-e Esfehani (Figure 8). Malekolshoara Bahar, the great Iranian poet, also cooperated with some of these musicians. He wrote beautiful songs which became masterpieces of the Persian art music. For example, the famous song “Morq-e Sahar” was a corporation of three great artists of that era. The words of this beautiful song were written by Bahar (Figure 1). Its melody was composed by Neydavood and was sung by Qamarolmoluk Vaziri. This song has been sung by many singers since that time and is one of the most well-known songs in Iran (Sample 1).
The main difference between the musical tradition of this era and its previous one was the use of some western instruments, such as the piano and violin, in the Pahlavi era. These two instruments were played both as solo instruments as well as accompanying ones. Most of the group performances of this era are done by the tar, santūr, flute, piano, and violin (Samples 2, 3, 4 & 7). The tar was the only Persian instrument which could keep its importance in the scope of Persian art music. Perhaps, this was possible because of the presence of the two great masters of the tar at that time: Ali Akbar Khan Shahnazi and Morteza Neydavood (Samples 5).
This kind of music which was brought to Iran by Lumer was followed by his students. People like Ebrahim Mansuri, Musa Marufi, and Ali Naqi Vaziri (Figure 11) recorded some of their musical works by the different orchestras. Fortunately, the recording quality of the recorded works in this era was much higher than the Qajar period. As a result, the different instruments of the orchestra can be easily heard (Samples 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12).
In 1934, an orchestra was established in Tehran in the style of western orchestras. This orchestra was named “The Symphonic Orchestra of Baladiyeh”. Later on, the name of this orchestra was changed to “The Symphonic Orchestra of Tehran”. In fact, this orchestra was evolved from the old music band of the military established during the Qajar period. Up to 1942, “The Symphonic Orchestra of Tehran” performed many pieces from Beethoven, Dvorak, Puccini, Smetana, and other famous composers in different cities of Iran. However, this orchestra was disbanded when the Allied Power invaded Iran in 1941.
Although most of the Iranian musicians at this time were familiar with western music tradition and instruments, the folk music of the city kept its own mood and style. Probably, the reason for such a lack of change in the popular music was this fact that the first encounter between Persian music and western music happened in the domain of their art music. In fact, the western popular music did not come to Iran until 1941. Therefore, up to this time, other genres of Persian music including popular music were not influenced by western music and did not change as much as Persian art music did. As mentioned, the only difference between the Persian popular music and Persian art music was the different poetry used in each style.
In this era, a kind of popular music emerged in the cities beside urban folk music. Such musicians as Abol Hassan Saba (Figure 14 ) and Musa Marufi whose main domain of activities were Persian dastgah music, composed some works in the field of popular music (Sample 13). Sayad Javad Badizadeh (Figure 15) who was also a singer from the art music domain sang some of these popular songs (Samples 14 & 15).
One of the main characteristics of the singers of the Qajar and Pahlavi eras was their familiarity with sacred music. Some of these singers would act as professional religious singers and sing religious songs in some parts of a year (Samples 16 & 17). There were also some singers whose activities were limited only to sing prayers and singing in taziyehes.
Figure 1: Malekolshoara Bahar
Figure 2: Morteza Neydavood
Figure 4: Ali Akbar Khan Shahnazi
Figure 6: Reza Qoli Mirza Zeli
Figure 8: Sayad Hussein Taherzadeh
Figure 10: Qamarolmoluk Vaziri
Figure 12: Abol Hassan Eqbal-e Azar
Figure 14: Taj-e Esfehani
Figure 13: The military band
Figure 18: The members of Colonel Ali Naqi Vaziri’s music school
Figure 19: Colonel Ali Naqi Vaziri
Figure 20: Marufi’s orchestral
Figure 22: Orchestra from Germany
Figure 24: Abol Hassan Saba
Figure 26: Javad Badizadeh
Figure 29: Jenab Damavandi
Figure 31: Sayad Hussein Taherzadeh
The establishment of the Iranian National Radio in 1940 was a turning point in the history of Persian music. It was a turning point because not many people in those days had gramophones to listen to their desired music. Therefore, it was only the Radio which could give this kind of musical service to people. Even those who did not have radios could listen to the Radio’s music programs while they were in the public places, such as cafés or even at the houses of nobles. The Age of Radio can be named as the age of art’s prosperity. Although gramophones had come to Iran long before the establishment of the Radio, it did not have the impact that the Radio had on Persian music because the use of a gramophone was not pandemic. The music programs of the Radio were live and were broadcasted every day. They were interesting and entertaining for people and many got accustomed to those programs. People would come to home after their daily work schedules and would listen to those programs.
The Persian Dastgah Music or Traditional Music
In the first years of the radio period, the situation of Persian dastgah music was less or more similar to its previous era. Most performances were either solos or small ensembles. These ensembles consisted of three to five instruments. These instruments were the tar, santur, violin, tombak, and sometimes the piano. People like Taj-e Esfehani (Figure 1) who had been active since the first phase of the Pahlavi period were still working in the same style (Sample 1).
Gradually, this style changed to a sort of orchestral music. In this period some big and small orchestras were established which were not really functioning like their western counterparts. In fact, the Iranian musicians preferred to make an orchestra which was a combination of western and Persian instruments. This kind of orchestra which came to be known as the Golha Orchestra was the representative of Persian art music for almost thirty years. The formation and continuation of musical programs in the Radio known as the Golha programs was highly dependent on the efforts of Davood Pirniya (Figure 2) who was a true lover of music. In the Golha orchestra only the instruments from the violin family, clarinet, flute, and piano did exist. From the Iranian instruments only the tar and tombak were lucky enough to enter the orchestra. The major composers of this period were: Hussein Yahaqi (Figure 4), Majid Vafadar, Ruhollah Khaleqi, Homayoun Khoram (Figure 12), Ali Tajvidi (Figure 9), Parviz Yahaqi (Figure 10), Javad Marufi (Figure 7), and Akbar Mohseni (Figure 13). Some of the singers who became famous by these composers were: Abdol Ali Vaziri, Qolam Hussein Banan (Figure 14), Taj-e Esfehani, Hussein Qavami known as Fakhtehi, Draiush Rafie (Figure 3), Marziyeh, Esmat Baqerpur known as Delkash (Figure 11), Esmaeil Adib Khansari, Manuchehr Homayunpur (Figure 5), and Elahe.
The piano which was used sometimes in the Qajar period became more common in the second phase of the Pahlavi period. However, since the piano does not have the intervals of Persian music, performing Persian music by the piano creates a kind of music which was not western and not purely Persian. In fact, only some dastgahs of Persian music, mahur, Bayat-e esfehan, and homayoun, could be played by the piano. Only Morteza Mahjubi (Figure 6) could play more parts of the repertory of Persian art music or the radif because he changed the intervals of the piano and retuned this instrument according to the Persian music intervals. By doing so, Mahjubi could play other dastgahs and avazs such as segah, afshari, shur and many others as well (Sample 4). Prior to Mahjubi, playing such dastaghs by the piano seemed to be impossible.
The style of playing the piano initiated by Mahjubi was not followed after him. Sometimes, Javad Marufi tuned his piano like Mahjubi and sometimes he played Persian music with western intervals (Sample 5). Although Marufi’s music was based on the radif, his use of western techniques and intervals made his music something between western and Iranian.
One of the main musicians in the scope of Persian dastgah music in the Radio was Abol Hassan Saba (Figure 8). Saba was a student of the Qajar masters. Therefore, he learned the Persian music and the radif from such undisputed masters as Darvish Khan, Mirza Abdollah, and Emaeil Qahremani. Saba was also familiar with western music including its theory and performing. Saba was the most important figure in teaching music in that era. Most of his students like Homayoun Khoram, Faramarz Payvar, Hussein Tehrani, Hassan Kasai, Rahmatollah Badie, and Ali Tajvidi became the main leading figures in the field of music in the next generation. Saba learned the setar from Darvish Khan. His teacher in the violin was Hussein Khan Esmaeilzadeh. In the Radio, Saba played the violin. And, the setar was Sab’s instrument of his solitude. Saba also composed many beautiful pieces which are among the masterpieces of Persian art music (Sample 6). Saba played many different instruments. Beside the setar and violin which were his main instruments, Saba played the tar, santur, ney, and tonbak.
By the passing of time, more Persian and less western instruments were used in the Golha program. For example, after a few years, the santur and the qanun were also used along the tar, ney, and tonbak. But, the violin was still present in most programs. In addition to the different kinds of music either vocal or instrumental, a part of the musical movement of the Radio was about the solo performances of the music masters of this period. The solo programs had many fans who would follow these programs daily. These programs were usually accompanied by poetry reciting. Sometimes, some of these programs had a singer or the tonbak player as well. The playing style of the instrumentalists of this period is known as the Radio or Romantic Style. Paying attention to the soft sound of the instrument and avoiding from epical and exciting feelings were some major characteristics of the Romantic or Radio style. The most well-known solo players of the Radio period are: Abol Hassan Saba (violin), Ahmad Ebadi (setar) (Figure 17), Ali Asqar Bahari (kamanche), Jalil Shahnaz (tar) (Figure 18), Homayoun Khoram (violin), Parviz Yahaqi (violin) (Figure 16), Hassan Kasai (ney) (Figure 19), Faramarz Payvar (santur), Hussein Tehrani (tonbak), Amir Naser Eftetah (tonbak), Reza Varzandeh (santur) (Figure 20), and Majid Najahi (santur).
The dominance of the violin and other western instruments on Persian music was so strong that some musicians, scholars, and instrument makers became interested in establishing pure ensembles consisting of Persian instruments. In the beginning of 1960s, a movement emerged which was interested in changing the orchestration of the prevalent ensembles. As a result, a special attention was paid to abounded and marginalized instruments which in turn ended up in producing some of these instruments in the workshops of the Ministry of Culture and Art. Following the newly emerged movement, Mehdi Meftah founded a large ensemble of various Iranian instruments including the revived ones. However, Meftah was not very successful in his goal and his ensemble did not perform for a long time.
Some years later, Faramarz Payvar (Figure 22), a skilled santur player and talented student of Master Abol Hassan Saba founded an ensemble similar to that of Meftah. Unlike Meftah, Payvar was very successful. In the beginning, Payvar did not eliminate all the western instruments. In fact, he kept some violins and the instruments from the violin family. But, gradually, Payvar replaced all of western instruments with Iranian ones (Figure 21). One of the main characteristics of Payvar’s music was that he arranged Persian music pieces for more than one voice (Sample 17). However, it was not done in the western style as Ali Naqi Vaziri had done before him. By listening to Payvar’s works, one does not feel hearing western harmony. In fact, Payvar’s style was unique. It was completely independent from the Radio style as well as that of Vaziri.
Some years after the emergence of the pure Iranian ensembles, the desire for rearranging the folk songs also blossomed. Although from the beginning of the Radio period people had heard the arranged versions of folk songs, they were arranged by western instruments and in western styles. These arrangements were either for an orchestra or an instrument. In such a situation, Payvar was the first musician who with his purely arranged Persian ensemble recorded some of the folk songs of Khorasan with Sima Bina (Figure 23). Sima Bina who was from the city of Birjand in southern Khorasan sang some of these folk songs of Khorasan with the Payvar ensemble. These newly arranged folk songs were warmly accepted by the people. One of the unique characteristics of these folk songs was their irregular or asymmetric rhythms which were interesting for many people in the cities who were not familiar with such rhythms (Sample 18).
Orchestral Music in Western Style
Orchestral music flourished again in Iran after the end of the World War II in 1945. Parviz Mahmud was the first person that became the leading figure in directing this reestablished movement. Parviz Mahmud migrated to the United States after a few years. Therefore, he was not influential for more than few years on this musical trend in the history of Persian music. Rubik Qariquriyan, another Iranian composer from the same school of music who came after Mahmud, also moved to the United States after a year. During the Radio period, a generation of composers emerged who could compose music either in totally western classical style or in a combination of both Iranian and western styles. Some of these well-known composers are: Rubik Qerequriyan, Heshmat Sanjari (Figure 24), Aminollah Hussein, Morteza Hananeh, Samin Baqcheban (Figure 25), Hussein Dehlavi, Hushang Ostovar, and Emanuel Malek Aslaniyan (Samples 19 & 20 ). The orchestral music movement found Persian flavor with the coming of Hussein Dehlavi (Figure 26). As a result, the music produced in this style did not sound western to the Iranians. In 1954, by composing a piece called “Sabokbal”, Dehlavi showed the capacity and ability of Persian music with a new utterance (Sample 21).
The Patriotic and Epical music
In the 24 of August 1941 Iran was invaded by the Allied Powers. In less than ten days the British, American, and Russian armies occupied the county. This event affected all aspects of the Iranians’ life. In the field of music and poetry, the first reaction to this foreign invasion manifested itself in a national-patriotic song. The words of this song were written by Dr. Hussein Gol-e Golab (Figure 27) and the melody was composed and arranged by Ruhallah Khaleqi (Figure 28). This song was performed for the first time in October 18, 1944 in the Military School of Tehran in the presence of some of the invaders and Iranians. Since this song was very attractive and beautiful, the minister of Culture and Art of the time ordered to record it so that people could listen to it every day from the Radio. This song, “Ey Iran”, was performed for the first time by a choric. Later, it was recorded by different singers like Qolam Hussein Banan, Hussein Sarshar, Esfandiyar Qarabaqi, and Rashid Vatandust who performed this song either in choral or solo (Sample 22). This song has always kept its credit as the most popular patriotic song. The movement of patriotic and nationalistic music of this period continued after the above anecdote.
In 1946, the northern province of Azerbaijan province announced itself an independent sovereign. The independent treason was led under the leadership of Jafar Pishevary and with the full support of the communist regime of Russia. However, the Iranian government and people did not accept the separation of this inseparable part of their country. As a result, the Russian backed government of Pishevary in Azerbaijan did not remain for more than a year. When Azerbaijan returned to Iran, Khaleqi composed a patriotic song for this region. Composing nationalist and patriotic songs continued during the National Movement of Nationalizing Iranian Oil led by Dr. Mohammad Mosadeq. This time, Hussein Malek composed a song for the bloody event of 1952 in which many Iranians who supported their prime minister, Mosadeq, were killed by the oppressing regime of the Shah who replaced Mosadeq by an unpopular prime minister. However, it did not take a long time when Mosadeq came back to power. But, during a coupe in1953 the legitimate and popular government of Dr. Mosadeq was thrown by the support of the U.S. and British governments. Malek who had composed a song in support of people and their cause was imprisoned for several months.
Popular and Urban Folk Music
In the beginning of the Radio period, vulgar music and dastgah music used the same instruments. As mentioned, the structure of the both kinds of music was the same, and the only difference between the two was in their use of different genres of poetry. The singers of the urban folk music were not famous and their performances were limited to cafés and parties. Sometimes, the singers from the field of dastgah music would sing some popular songs as well. Sayed Javad Badizadeh was the best example in this regard. Sometimes, some of the theater actors would sing such urban folk songs too. Morteza Ahmadi (Figure 29) was the best example in this regard (Sample 23).
Beside the urban folk music which had its roots in the Iranian traditional customs and music, a kind of popular music emerged which was influenced by both western classical and popular music. The most well-known figures of this kind of music were Mohammad Nuri (Figure 30), Vigen Dardariyan (Figure 31) and Hassan Golnaraqi (Figure 32). The musicians of this kind of music composed their music on the base of western tempered intervals. Therefore, the composed songs did not have Persian flavor completely (Samples 24, 25 & 26). In performing the Iranian melodies, the composers of this kind of music had to do many changes because the instruments which they used were not capable of playing Persian intervals in such dastgahs as bayat-e turk, afshari, seqah and so forth.
Beside the western-liked popular music, a kind of popular music came to existence which was more related to Persian dastgah music and instruments. Some singers such as Akbar Golpayegani known as Golpa (Figure 15), Homayra, Mahasti, Hussein Khajeh Amiri known as Iraj (Figure 33) and Hayedeh (Figure 34), were among the singers of this style of music. They also sang in the dastgah music style in many Golha programs (Samples 27 & 28).
Another kind of popular music of this period was a combination of Iranian and Arabic music. In this style, the Persian poetry was accompanied by full or half Arabic music. Some of the well-known singers of this kind of music were: Davood Maqami (Figure 35), Nematollah Aqasi (Figure 36) and Javad Yasari. The extensive use of the oud and qanun which had come back to Iranian music after a long period of absence as well as performing some songs of well-known Arab singers such as Umm Kolsum were the main characteristics of this kind of popular music (Samples 29 & 30).
The Iranian popular music found a different flavor in 1970s. In this decade, composers like Manuchehr Cheshm Azar, Varoj Hakhbandiyan known as Varojan (Figure 37), and Babak Bayat composed many songs based on western pop music. However, this new style of popular music was warmly welcomed by people and became known as “Iranian Pop music”. This style of music was imitated as a successful model for other composers and in the following years lots of songs were composed in this style. The most well-known singers in this style were: Faeqe Atashin known as Gugush (Figure 38), Ebrahim Hamedi known as Ebi, Feraydun Foruqi (Figure 39), Kurosh Yaqmaie (Figure 40), and Farhad Mehrad.
By 1979, the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran and the Islamic government came to power. Less than two years, Iraq attacked Iran and the two countries fought for eight years. As a result, the so called “Persian Pop Music” was banned for fifteen years. During these years, some Iranian pop musicians continued their activities in abroad specially in Los Angeles. After this period of absence, the Persian pop music continued its life on the base of some of the previous and new principles.
Sacred or Religious Music Because of the existence of the two branches of Islam in Iran, the Shiite and Sunnite, Iranian religious music is very rich. However, the role of Shiite religious music is more important. The reason is that the Shiites have many well-organized programs for the mourning of their saints. On the other hand, the Sunnites’ religious music is mostly a collection of songs for the birthdays of their saints and some prayers. The main symbol of the Shiite religious music is a set of programs which are performed every year in the months of Moharam and Safar. The climax of this program is on the days of Tasua and Ashura which are the anniversaries of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and his followers which took place in 681. Yazid’s troop massacred Imam Hussein and his followers in a very brutal way and this became the base of the ceremony of Moharam. The music performed in the Moharam ceremony consists of nohe khani, mosibat khani, manqabat khani, and roze khani.
Noheh is a rhythmic song performed in a slow tempo. It is performed in a form of refrain in which one person is the main singer and the audience repeats some of the poetry after him. Sometimes, the voice of the singer and the audience create two-line music (Samples 34 & 35).
It is a form of religious singing style with free rhythm. The audiences accompany the singer with mourning and wailing, but in general, the main role is done by the singer. Most of the mosibat khanies are in the dastgahs of shur, homayoun, and segah. In its traditional format, mosibat khanie is something between declamation and singing (Samples 36).
Sometimes, the artist of religious music sings some forms of Persian poetry, such as qazal and qasideh. Manqabat khanies are mostly in the dastgahs of shur, homayoun, and segah. An old version of the manqabat khani in segah is called kharabat khani which is hardly heard these days. This style of singing which is used in entertaining music is known as khooche baqi in the later style. However, in its religious version, it will make the audience to think about the sad events and mourn (Samples 37).
It is a form of a religious singing which is performed by one singer. The audience does not interact directly in the rozeh khani by singing or repeating a phrase. But, the audience’s reaction, such as mourning, wailing, and crying may get mixed with the singer and produce a special sound. The main difference between the rozeh khani and other forms of the mentioned religious singings is the freedom of the singer in choosing the text of its performance in the rozeh khani. The text of rozeh khani can be a poem, prose, or even a regular conversation. In fact, the rozeh khan, the singer, may put some of his own personal stories and delivers it either with singing or narrating or the combination of the two (Samples 38).
Up to the Radio period and during that period, the rozeh khani and other forms of religious songs were performed in the framework of Iranian dastgah music. The Iranian religious music which was always present in the everyday life of Iranians entered the Radio at this era. Therefore, many people could hear it from the radios. The first famous figure who performed religious music in the Radio was Sayed Javad Zabihi (Figure 45). He began to sing prayers in the religious gatherings when he was a child. In his youth when he entered the Radio, many Iranians could hear his voice, and he found many fans (Samples 39). He sang in the Radio from 1949 to 1979.
Those performers of religious music who knew the details and structure of Persian dastgah music could get into the Radio from different channels. Since people liked such a music style, these artists’ career in the Radio was guaranteed. One of these figures was Rahim Moazenzadeh Ardebili (Figure 46) whose ancestors were moazen (the one who says the call to prayer) for generations. He sang a very beautiful and unique azan (call to prayer) in 1955. This azan was sung in the avaz-e bayat-e turk and became a masterpiece in the history of Iranian religious music (Samples 40). Many people were counting seconds to hear this azan from the Radio. This azan became a model for many moazens, but no one could sing such a beautiful azan.
Figure 1: Taj-e Esfehani
Figure 3: Davood Pirniya, the manager of the Golha program
Figure 4: Dariush Rafie
Figure 6: Hussein Yahaqi: Composer, violinist, and kamānche player
Figure 7: Manuchehr Homayounpur
Figure 9: Morteza Mahjubi, the pianist and composer
Figure 11: Javad Marufi, the pianist
Figure 13: Abol Hassan Saba played different instruments
Figure 15: Ali Tajvidi: Composer, violinist & setar player
Figure 17: Parviz Yahaqi: Composer & violinist
Figure 18: Esmat Baqerpur as known Delkash
Figure 20: Homayoun Khoram: Composer & violinist
Figure 22: Akbar Mohseni, Composer
Figure 23: Qolam Hussein Banan
Figure 25: Akbar Golpayegani known as Golpa, singer
Figure 27: Parviz Yahaqi, Violinist and composer
Figure 29: Ahmad Ebadi: Setar player
Figure 33: Hassan Kasa’i, the ney and setar player
Figure 35: Reza Varzandeh
Figure 37: Faramarz Payvar ensemble
Figure 38: Faramarz Payvar, composer and santur player
Figure 40: Sima Bina, singer
Figure 42: Heshmat Sanjari
Figure 44: Samin Baqcheban
Figure 46: Hussein Dehlavi
Figure 48: Dr. Hussein Gol-e Golab
Figure 49: Ruhallah Khaleqi, composer & violinist
Figure 51: Morteza Ahmadi, a theater actor
Figure 53: Mohammad Nuri
Figure 55: Vigen Dardarian
Figure 57: Hassan Golnaraqi
Figure 59: Hussein Khajeh Amiri known as Iraj
Figure 34: Hayedeh, singer
Figure 61: Davood Maqami, singer
Figure 63: Nematollah Aqasi
Figure 65: Varoj Hakhbandiyan known as Varojan, composer
Figure 38: Faeqe Atashin known as Googoosh, singer
Figure 67: Feraydun Foruqi
Figure 69: Kurosh Yaqma’i
Figure 71: Akbar Sadat Sarki (Nazem), noheh khan
Figure 74: Mohammad Hussein Golpayegani, noheh khan
Figure 76: Shah Hussein Bahari, noheh khan
Figure 78: Rajab Movahed Reza’i (Morshed Rajab), noheh khan
Figure 80: Sayed Javad Zabihi, singer
Figure 82: Rahim Moazenzadeh Ardebili, moazen and prayer-singer
The political and social turmoil in 1979 led to the fall of the Pahlavi monarchy and the establishment of the Islamic Republic. Consequently, the different scopes of the Iranian life were considerably affected by such a change of regime. Iranian music in all of its styles and genres also went through major changes. First of all, the Iranian pop music was banned totally for at least a decade; instead, religious music and different kinds of heroic, epical and military music found better opportunities to flourish. Iranian dastgah music which had gone through the experience of returning to the style and traditions existed before the Revolution also was able to establish its situation in this period.
Dastgah Music of the Revival Style
The beginning of the Revolution was coincident with the flourishing of the movement of Revival, a movement which demanded a return to the traditions of the past as existed in the dastgah music system before the Radio era. Since 1966, some curious musicians who did not recognize the Radio style music as the only representative of Iranian music culture tried to recreate a different trend in Iranian music. They began to study music with some isolated masters who had gained their musical education long before the establishment of the Radio. This in turn led to the establishment of the Center of Preservation and Promotion of Persian Classical Music in 1968 under the supervision of Dr. Dariush Safvat (Figure 1). Safvat who learned music from master Saba also had studied law in France for a while. By inviting some of the remaining masters from the Qajar and early Pahlavi eras, Safvat made this center the missing link between the two missing generations. These were masters who had become forgotten, while there were many young musicians who were eager to search the real identity of Persian music and the older style in such a situation. The presence of such distinguished masters of Iranian dastgah music like Ali Akbar Shahnazi, the grand master of the tar and the son of the renowned Aga Hussein Qoli, Saeed Hormozi, the student of Darvish Khan, Yusef Forutan, and Nur Ali Borumnad (Figure 2) blew a new breath into the body of this center, and after ten years, it came to give its fruits. The old styles of playing the tar were taught by Ali Akbar Shahnazi, and the old styles of playing the setar were taught by Saeed Hormozi and Yusef Forutan. Among these masters, Nur Ali Borumnad played such a more fundamental role because beside teaching the tar and setar , he taught the students the fundamentals and the structures of the dastgah music. His influence on the music movement after him was so great that some know the dastgah music style as the Borumand movement. The music students performed in a small scope under their masters’ supervision a few years before the Revolution. But, their art and talent flowered after 1977. The distinguished students of the Center of Preservation and Promotion of Persian Classical Music in the field of composition were Majid Kiyani (Figure 3), Mohammad Reza Lotfi (Figure 4), Hussein Alizadeh (Figure 5) and Parviz Meshkatiyan (Figure 6). In the field of theory and playing, Dariush Tala’i and were the main Figures. In the field of singing Mohammad Reza Shajarian (Figure 7) and Shahram Nazeri (Figure 8) were the main Figures. Some other artists who were active in this center in different fields and later became famous were Mohammad Ali Kiyani nejad (Figure 9), Ataollah Jangook, Davood Ganjei, Fateme Vaezi (Parisa), Hengameh Akhavan, Jalal Zolfonun, Ali Akbar Shekarchi, Hadi Montazeri, Mehdi Azarsina, Mohammad Jalil Andalibi, Abdol Naqi Afsharniya, and …
The orchestration of the Center of Preservation and Promotion’s ensembles was a bit different from that of Faramarz Payvar. The earlier completely used Iranian instruments (Samples 1, 2 & 7). Also, the marginalized instruments like the kamanche and ney received more attention. Moreover, the base of their programs in the beginning was to rework the older works specially those of the Qajar period. In the continuation of its programs, the Revival movement of the Center of Preservation and Promotion achieved a different and new style in composition. Since the Revival movement and the Revolutionary movement became simultaneous, for a while, the works created by these artists found patriotic and Revolutionary themes (Sample 3). However, when the political and social situations of the country became stabilized, the musical works created by this group of artists found a more romantic, mystical and philosophical flavor as they were relying more on the poetry of the Mystic Persian poets of thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (Samples 4 & 5).
The use of folk music elements in the urban music was another characteristic of this era. In most occasions, one folk melody was chosen and its lyrics would be replaced by a classical poem of Persian poetry and rearranged for Iranian or even Western classical instruments. For example, Mohammad Ali Kiyani Nejad who was from the city Birjand in southern Khorasan composed many pieces based on the folk music of that region. Kiyani Nejad who finished his training period at the Center of Preservation and Promotion, composed many songs based on the folk melodies with classical Persian lyrics (Sample 6).
The ensembles of the Revival style consisted of different instruments. But, one of the students of the Center of Preservation and Promotion of Persian Classical Music experienced a different form of orchestration in the middle period of the Revolution. Jalal Zolfonun’s (Figure 11) establishment of the setar ensemble was a new movement since up to that time the use of such an ensemble was not common (sample 8).
The Epical and Revolutionary Music
With beginning of social and political turmoil and consequently the change of regime in 1979, a different movement was shaped in the field of dastgah music by a group of young musicians and under the leadership of a renowned poet, Hushang Ebtehaj (Figure 12) surnamed as Sayeh. The main core or the Revolutionary and epical music movement was the Chavosh Institute. This was an institute in which two major ensembles, Shayda and Aref, were cooperating and producing music. The three major composers of the time Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hussein Alizadeh, and Parviz Meshkatiyan along with the two famous singers, Mohammad Reza Shajariyan and Shahram Nazeri, composed many beautiful and unique songs which were mostly Revolutionary and patriotic (Samples 9, 10 & 11).
Eighteen months after the establishment of the new regime in Iran, the country was invaded by its western neighboring country, Iraq. Consequently, the Chavosh institute continued its style of producing patriotic and heroic compositions by composing songs related to defending the homeland and resisting the enemy. Mohammad Reza Lotfi as the composer and Shahram Nazeri as the singer produced and sang more patriotic and heroic songs in that period (Sample 12).
Beside the Chavosh movement, there were other musicians who created patriotic and epical works. However, their compositions were mostly in major and minor scales and were accompanied by western instruments (Samples 13, 14 & 15). Some of the composers from this style are: Esfandiyar Monfared Zadeh (Figure 19), Feraydun Khoshnud, Hadi Arazm, and Hamid Shahangiyan. Their compositions were performed sometimes by some professional singers like Farhad Mehrdad (Figure 17) and sometimes by some unprofessional ones such as Reza Roygari (Figure 20) who was a cinema and theater actor.were done in the scope of Persian classical music. For instance, the anthem “Iran Iran” composed by Feraydun Khoshnud and sang by Reza Roygari is one of them (Sample 16).
Due to the temporary prohibition of music after the Revolution and in the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war, the heroic and patriotic music movement found two different shapes. One was a kind of religious music which was only human voice without any accompanying instrument. The singing was either solo or done by a group of vocalists. Sadeq Ahangaran’s (Figure 21) noheh khani which was initially done for mourning ceremonies gradually found heroic flavor and theme and was used to encourage the Iran’s defending forces especially the militias although it had the elements of religious music especially that of rozeh and noheh khani. The noheh “Ey Lashkare Saheb Zaman” is the most well-known song of this kind (Sample 17). In the last years of the war, the same noheh was rearranged by Dr. Hasan Riyahi (figure 22) for the Symphonic Orchestra and Choirs and was received well again by the audience (Sample 18). Composing heroic and patriotic songs became one of the main agenda in the Radio & Television Organization.
As a result, many musical works were composed in this genre using Iranian and western instruments. They were performed either with a solo singer or by the choirs. The anthem “Piruzi” composed by Mohamamd Ali Raqeb (Figure 23) and sang by Mohammad Golriz was one of the produced songs in this regard. It was composed after the liberation of Khoramshahr in 1982 after being occupied by the Iraqi army for more than a year and half (Sample 19). In the first two years of the Iran-Iraq war, the theme of most of the patriotic songs and anthems was defending the Iranian boarders. But, after the liberation of Khoramshahr, the political and military policies of the county became defending the country even outside its boarders.
Therefore, the theme of these patriotic and heroic songs was also changed to that direction. For example, one of the songs from those days sang by Hesam al-Din Seraj (Figure 24) was clearly inviting the listeners to be with the fighters until the liberation of Qods in the occupied Palestine (Sample 20). Not only the urban musicians composed patriotic and heroic songs but also the folk musicians became involved in this movement. Some of these heroic folk songs were old songs from the past. For instance, the tasnif “Daye Daye Vaqte Jange” was a song based on the music of Lorestan which very soon became famous throughout the country (Sample 21).
Folk Music in the Urban Version
In this era, some musicians began to produce some works based on the regional music of Iran. Sometimes, the original lyrics were used and sometimes they were replaced by classical Persian poetry. In this regard, Kaykhosro Purnazeri (Figure 26) composed many songs based on the maqams of tanbur Kermanshah with the poetry of Rumi. He established a tanbur ensemble which sounded new for the Iranian audience and was received well by them. Since the tanbur was a Kurdish instrument and this ensemble was using that and the classical poetry of Rumi, it was interesting for people and was received by them warmly. Purnazeri’s first experience in this new style was the album “Sedaye Sokhane Eshq” which became the best seller album in that time (Sample 22). He continued to produce works in the same style.
Another style in performing the folk music was to play those melodies by the Persian classical instruments, such as the tar, santur, kamanche, ney, tonbak, and … For example, the albums “Mal Konun” and “Koohsar” respectively composed and arranged by Ata Jangook (Figure 27) and Ali Akbar Shekarchi (Figure 28) are two examples of rearrangement of Bakhtiyari folk music and performed by Persian classical instruments (Samples 23 & 24). Mohammad Ali Kiyani Nejad also showed interest in rearranging Bakhtiyari folk music and produced two works, “Mandir” and “Golomi” which attracted many including both the Bakhtiyari audience and non-native audience. Beside this kind of rearranging folk music for Persian classical instruments, a kind of tendency for rearranging these folk songs by symphonic orchestras and Persian instruments appeared. “Musiqi Mazandarani” was the title of an orchestrated work by Mohamamd Reza Darvishi (Figure 29) arranged for a symphonic orchestra and some Persian instruments (Sample 25).
Composing music in the framework of western orchestrated music was still perusing by composers like Morteza Hananeh (Figure 30), Loris Tjeknavorian, Ahmad Pejman, Ali Reza Mashayekhi, Hormoz Farhat, Hushang Kamkar, Kambiz Roshan Ravan, Hassan Riyahi, and Shahin Farhat. These works had more Persian flavor although during the Radio era Hussein Dehlavi had successfully experienced composing pieces with more Persian flavor as well. The works of such composers as, Farhad Fakhradini (Figure 31), Hussein Alizadeh (Figure 32), Kambiz Roshanravan, and Mohammad Reza Darvishi showed the clear interests of a generation of Iranian composers who liked to present a new version of Persian music by using Western musical elements (Samples 26, 27 & 28). This tendency was sometimes toward Iranian melodies using western harmony roles, and sometimes, however, both the melody and harmony were completely unique. Beside the above orchestrated music with more characteristics of Iranian music, there were other composers whose personal tastes were more inclined toward Western music. Composers like Feraydun Naseri, Hushang Kamkar (Figure 33), and Hasan Riyahi were some of the composers from this style (Sample 29).
The performers of the religious music always continued their profession regardless of the political events. The political changes sometimes have encouraged the religious music of Iran and sometimes these changes were influential in shaping an especial kind of religious music. But, in general, what is known as religious music stayed out of political and governmental influences. The reason is that the performers of this kind of music did not do this music as their main profession; rather they only performed this music in the religious occasions.
During the Islamic Republic, the urban religious music of Iran experienced noticeable changes. In the beginning, like the previous eras this music was related much to Persian dastgah music (Sample 30). However, gradually this music was influenced first by the regional music of southern Iran and later by Arabic and Turkish music of the neighboring countries (Sample 31 & 32). The Iran-Iraq war, began in 1980, also added new themes to this genre of music. The Bushehr province located on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf has one of the richest repertories of Shiite religious music in Iran. As a result, the religious music of the neighboring provinces and even the capital city have been influenced by the religious music of this region. The tendency toward Arabic music in performing Iranian religious music had existed in Iran but it was mostly limited to the bordering areas and was not very strong throughout the country. But, in this period, due to the expansion of cultural ties and media from one side and the political changes from the other which encouraged more close ties with Arabic countries, the instance, one of the Arabic maqams known as saba which resembles the use of Arabic music increased in the Iranian religious gatherings. For Persian dastgah of shur was used by the performers of the religious music in Iran a lot. The maqam saba is also known in Iran as shur-e Arabi “Arabic shur”.
In the Qajar and first phase of the Pahlavi eras, most singers of Persian dastgah music had a background of religious singing. They would enter the field of singing by such a background and keep both their religious and secular singing histories. Overtime, such a dual aspect was changed gradually, and the singers tried to focus on one genre of singing; religious or secular. However, sometimes, some professional singers from the dastgah music field would experience something which in turn would result in an important event in the scope of religious music. Singing a prayer by Mohammad Reza Shajariyan (Figure 36) both in Arabic and Persian which seemed to be sung as an educational method in a private gathering was one of such examples (Samples 33 & 34). When this recording reached the Iranian Television and Radio, it was received so warmly by people that in the following years it became an inseparable part of the Iranians’ ceremony of eating fast during the month of Ramadan.
After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the religious music which was previously prevalent among the masses and the one favored by the Islamic government were mixed. As a result, a new product came out. In this especial kind of music, both the religious and governmental themes could be recognized. Moreover, with the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war, the religious music found a heroic-religious them too. Two prominent Figures, Sadeq Ahangaran (Figure 37) and Qolam Kowaitipur (Figure 38), were very influential in shaping this new kind of religious music. What they performed was a combination of heroic and religious songs which had two sides: One was heroic and patriotic since they would encourage the defenders of the country against the enemy forces. And the second, their music had direct relation with the mourning and nohehkhani styles done for the main religious saints (Samples 35 & 36).
Figure 1: Dr. Dariush Safvat: Musicologist, the setar and santur player
Figure 2: Nur-Ali Borumand, the master of the radif and the tar player
Figure 3: Majid Kiyani: The santur player
Figure 5: Mohammad Reza Lotfi: Composer, the tar and setar player
Figure 7: Hussein Alizadeh: Composer, the tar and setar player
Figure 9: Parviz Meshkatiyan: Composer and the santur player
Figure 10: Mohammad Reza Shajariyan: Singer
Figure 12: Shahram Nazeri: Singer
Figure 14: Mohammad Ali Kiyani Nejad: Composer and ney player
Figure 16: Hussein Alizadeh: Composer and ney player
Figure 18: Jalal Zolfonun and Bijan Kamkar
Figure 20: Hushang Ebtehaj: Poet and the leader of music program
Figure 21: Meshkatian: Composer
Figure 22: Hussein Alizadeh: Composer and the tar player
Figure 23: Mohammad Jalil Andalibi: Composer and the santur player
Figure 25: Mohammad Reza Lotfi: composer and the tar player
Figure 27: Farhad Mehrdad: Singer
Figure 31: Esfandiyar Monfared Zadeh
Figure 33: Reza Roygari: Cinema and theater actor
Figure 35: Sadeq Ahangaran: Noheh khan
Figure 37: Dr. Hasan Riyahi
Figure 39: Mohamamd Ali Raqeb: Composer
Figure 41: Hesam al-Din Seraj
Figure 43: Reza Saqa’i
Figure 45: Kaykhosro Purnazeri: Composer, the tar and tanbur player
Figure 47: Ata Janguk: Composer and the tar and setar player
Figure 49: Ali Akbar Shekarchi: Composer and the kamānche player
Figure 51: Mohammad Reza Darvishi: Composer
Figure 53: Morteza Hananeh
Figure 55: Farhad Fakhradini
Figure 57: Hussein Alizadeh
Figure 59: Hushang Kamkar: Composer
Figure 61: Qolam Ali Jandaqi: Noheh Khan
Figure 63: Ahmad Delju: Noheh Khan
Figure 66: Mohammad Reza Shajariyan: Persian music singer
Figure 69: Sadeq Ahangaran: Noheh Khan
Figure 71: Qolam Kowaitipur: Nohehkhan
After 1989 A.D
When the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) ended, a new era of the artistic activities came into existence. This was an era in which people were not any more interested in listening to military anthems and marches. They were seeking a new kind of music. Some musicians who sensed this new demand began to compose pieces with romantic, mystical, and advising themes. Different branches of pop and entertaining music also were created especially those which could not be produced during the Revolution and the War.
The ensemble works in this style almost kept the structure of that of the Revival style. The only difference was that the number of the players increased in each ensemble and the range of the bass sounds was strengthened by the instruments like the bass tar, oud, qichak, and sometimes the cello (Sample 1). Most ensembles found the tendency toward writing more than one melody line for each piece. Each composer did so according to the ability of his ensemble and his own music knowledge. Most of such efforts ended in two-line melody pieces in which the second line was played by the bass instruments. The oud which was an old Iranian instrument but was not so present in the previous eras was used by most ensembles in this era (Sample 2). On the other hand, a kind of multi- voices vocal music influenced by Western choral music and some elements of regional and religious music of Iran took shape. Some experiences of Hussein Alizadeh, Hushang Kamkar (Figure 4) and Mehdi Azar Sina (Figure 5) should be mentioned in this regard (Samples 3, 4 & 5).
Beside composing new pieces, there was a tendency toward reworking old works in this era. The need for listening to old compositions from one hand, and the weakness of the new compositions from the other hand made the reworking of old compositions a movement (Sample 6). Even, those composers whose training was in Western music presented different aspects of old compositions by such orchestras combined of Western and Iranian instruments. The recreation of old compositions was done sometimes by combined orchestras of Western and Iranian instruments and sometimes by using some instruments and elements of pop music. For example, beside the groups of the violin and other instruments of symphonic orchestra, the bass guitar which is usually used in pop or different kinds of rock music, was used in such orchestras (Sample 7).
Folk Music in the Urban Version
The recreation and rearranging of folk music continued in this era. The only difference was that the arrangement techniques and knowledge in this era changed according to the prevalent changes in music of this era. The use of different abilities of urban music which was also common in the previous eras made a considerable progress in this era. The Kamkar family ensemble is the most well-known ensemble of this era which has played the most major role in recreating Kurdish folk songs. In this era arranging of folk music by the abilities of Western music was done with more cautious so that the final product becomes more close to the original folk song and the native audience does not feel too alienated with the orchestrated music. This point was taken into consideration by using more Iranian and even folk instruments along with the western instruments especially the violin family. The singing style of the singers of such works was also very important for such works to be successful (Samples 8 & 9).
The fusion movement which dawned in the West also reached Iran and affected Persian music as well. As a result, different works were experienced by the Iranian musicians in collaboration with other musicians from India, Turkey, China and so forth. There were some other Iranian musicians who liked to combine Persian music with different styles of Western music including Renaissance, Baroque, Classic, Romantic, and Jazz. The most distinguished Iranian musician in the field of Fusion is Keyhan Kalhor who worked with Indian, Chinese and Turkish musicians (Samples 10 & 11).
The orchestral music of this era was mostly focused on performing the compositions of Western composers. However, some of the Iranian composers familiar with Western music paid attention to Persian classical music to some extent. They composed some pieces in the field of orchestral music which were not totally Western. This tendency existed since the beginning of the formation of this kind of orchestral music in Iran among the composers. But, the tendency toward making the pieces with more Persian flavor and essence increased over time and became very strong in the New Era. The Iranian National Anthem which was changed after the Revolution in 1979 was changed one more time in this era. The last anthem was composed by Dr. Hassan Riyahi (Figure 13). This anthem is considered as one of the shortest national anthems in the world (Sample 13).
One of the characteristics of this era is a strong tendency toward orchestral music with religious, nationalistic, mythological, and sometimes heroic themes. In fact, some of the governmental institutes ordered some kinds of symphonic works. As a result, various symphonic works were produced, such as Ashura Symphony (Sample 14), Prophet Symphony, Isar Symphony and some others. These woks were composed by such renowned composers as Mohammad Saeed Sharifiyan (Figure 14), Loris Tjeknavorian (Figure 16), Shahin Farhat, Majid Entezami (Figure 14). Some other active composers of this era are: Ahamd Pejman, Ali Reza Mashayekhi (Figure 17), and Kambiz Roshan Ravan. By increasing the number of Television serials with religious themes, the film music of these serials were composed in an atmosphere related to them and mostly it was orchestral. Some of these well-known serials are “Velayat-e Eshq” and “Tanhatarin Sardar” (Sample 15). At the same time when the religious symphonic works were composed, some interests were drawn toward mythological works like the “Shah Name” of Abol Qasem Ferdosi. One of the best examples in this regard is the “Opera of Rostam and Sohrab” composed by Loris Tjeknavorian (Sample 16). Another movement in orchestral music of this era was inclined toward modern works of the twentieth century. The distinguished composer of this movement was Ali Reza Mashayekhi who was the direct student of Hans Yelinik and an indirect student of Arnold Schoenberg. Mashayekhi composed many orchestral pieces as well as solo pieces for the piano in this Modern style (Sample 17).
By ending the War, there was no opportunity for producing heroic works. However, the memorial of the War and Revolution manifested itself in art. Composing the symphonies of “Isar” and “Khoramshahr” is an example of this approach (Sample 18). A branch of orchestral music of this era was inclined toward recreating folk songs by combining Western and Iranian instruments. The base of this kind of music was to create the main space for one or more Iranian instruments and to keep the Western instruments in the background (Sample 19). Kambiz Roshan Ravan (Figur 19) is the most recognized composers of this style.
Patriotic and epical music
Producing patriotic and epical music increases during special political situations. However, such music is also produced during the peace time. When the country is in peace and its political atmosphere is tranquil, the theme of the patriotic and epical music becomes the love of the homeland. Mohammad Nuri has sung many songs with such a theme. One of the best examples of these kinds of patriotic and epical songs is the song “Iran-Iran” composed by Dr. Mohammad Sarir (Figure 20), and sung by Mohammad Nuri (Sample 20).
Pop Music in Western Style
In the Contemporary era the tendency toward Pop, Rock, and Jazz music increased and most active people in this field made the base of their works the imitation of Western Pop music. The instruments like the guitar, keyboard, the bass guitar, and drum became the inseparable part of most Iranian pop groups. Sometimes, according to the financial situation and the music knowledge of these groups, the stringed instruments were added to these groups as well (Samples 21 & 22). Some composers used an Iranian instrument like the tar in their ensembles. This was more a matter of personal taste.
The advent of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 gave the hope that at least in the scope of religious music some good progresses would be made. But, this point about the Iranian religious music was not taken into consideration in the beginning of the Revolution. As a result, this kind of music gradually went astray from its main direction and became totally alienated with its past as it was in the previous eras. Unlike the previous religious performers who were familiar with Persian classical music, the performers of religious music in the Contemporary era did not know Persian classical music. Therefore, they were unconsciously dragged toward a kind of music which incorporated Turkish, Arabic, and pop flavors and accents. For example, performing different songs in minor scales became a tradition in the religious music of this era (Sample 23).
Using such a Western scale was far away from the tradition of the previous generation of the religious musicians (Sample 24). The tendency toward recreating religious songs by the combined orchestras of Iranian and Western instruments increased in this era. The tone used in this kind of work was not necessarily Persian. It could be Arabic, Turkish or Western. The main characteristic of these kinds of works was its text which was becoming more colloquial. Previously, most performers of religious music used the official language in their performances. In many occasions, these compositions would create the traditional religious atmosphere. And in some occasions, because of the abundant use of pop music’s elements, the different sort of atmosphere would be created. Therefore, calling these works as religious ones was only dependent upon their texts, and the music itself did not represent or remind any religious style. Because of this, many religious works were similar to pop music. And, the only difference was that the texts which were in praise of the saints and religious figures (Sample 25).
The azan, which reached its climax during the Radio era, and some everlasting examples of it with Persian music tone were created in that ear faced many changes in the Contemporary ear. In this era some samples of the azan which were irrelevant with the essence of Persian music were sung. In fact, the new style of singing the azan was affected by the musical environment in which these azans were sung. These azans were mostly sung in minor scales (Sample 26).
Figure 1: Abdol Hussein Mokhtabad; Persian classical singer
Figure 2: Iraj Bastami; Persian classical singer
Figure 3: Dastan Ensemble
Figure 4: Hamavayan Ensemble
Figure 5: Hushang Kamkar: composer
Figure 7: Mehdi Azar Sina
Figure 9: Sediq Ta’rif: A Persian classical singer
Figure 11: Ali Reza Eftekhari: A singer of Persian music
Figure 13: The Kamkar ensemble
Figure 15: Iraj Rahmanpur: folk singer
Figure 17: Keyhan Kalhor: The kamānche player
Figure 19: Keyhan Kalhor: The kamānche player
Figure 21: Mohammad Reza Darvishi: Composer
Figure 23: Dr. Hassan Riyahi: Composer
Figure 25: Mohammad Saeed Sharifiyan: Composer
Figure 27: Babak Bayat
Figure 16: Loris Tjeknavorian: Composer and conductor
Figure 17: Ali Reza Mashayekhi: Composer
Figure 33: Majid Entezami: Composer
Figure 35: Kambiz Roshan Ravan
Figure 37: Dr. Mohammad Sarir
Figure 39: Naser Abdolahi: A pop singer
Figure 41: Ali Reza Asar: A pop singer
Figure 43: Mohammad Esfehani
Figure 44: Haj Mansur Arazi: Madah (religious singer)
Figure 46: Mohammad Mir Zamani: Composer
Figure 48: Hussein Keshtkar: Nohe Khan
Figure 50: The mosque of Sheykh Lotfollah in Isfahan city
Figure 29: Loris Tjeknavorian: Composer and conductor
Figure 31: Ali Reza Mashayekhi: Composer