• RHYTHMITICA international online Persian music lessons
  • 11
  • May
  • 2016

Persian Musical Instruments On Western

Persian Musical Instruments On Western


So many of the Persian or non-Persian musicians have tried to compose some music in the iranian traditional music modes or use some Persian melodies in their compositions; however, it has always been under question how to express Persian music in western musical system where there are no such intervals as there are in Persian music; the second problem has been the lack of harmony: how is it possible to harmonize Persian music. While military bands were playing simple European melodies, European melodies, especially march-like melodies became known by Persian's ears. Since then, the European musical instruments were played in Persia and Persian musicians liked to perform their national music on them. So, whoever was interested in the violin have chosen their teachers among the Kamancheh teachers and they didn’t use the rules of violin playing. In the case of the piano, because there were problems playing Persian melodies, for example Mohammad Sadeq Khan, a Santoor Master, changed two notes tuning in each scale. Among wood-wind instruments the flute was very popular and it was suitable to play Persian melodies because of its nice sound and similarities to the Ney. “Although there are not Persian musical intervals on the flute, it is possible to play Persian melodies well by changing the lip position and blowing”, Khaleqi wrote in the book “The Story of Persian Music”. The clarinet was also very popular among Persian musicians and they called it Qaraney.(Khaleghi 1955, 178)

1) violin in Persian musical instruments

The violin was the most popular western musical instrument accepted by the Persian musician, because there are no frets to make it limited to playing only in the western musical system, so it is possible to play any other intervals including Persian musical intervals. Persian musicians have invented a completely different style of violin playing so called: Persian violin, as mentioned before.

2 Piano in Persian musical instruments

The piano has been the most problematic instruments to play Persian music on. As there are fixed intervals and on other hand, it is most often played with two hands and most probably with some kind of harmony. Some Persian and non-Persian pianists have tuned the piano into Persian music intervals so it was possible to play Persian music. I would say, in this style they only played homophonic and imitated some other Persian musical instruments like Santur and Qanun. We can name Javad Maroufi and Morteza Mahjubi as the most famous Persian traditional pianists who played piano in this style.

3) Solution for the Persian irregular intervals

After a while this kind of piano tuning was out of favor, and some other musicians suggested playing a diminished second instead of an irregular interval in some cases; or even some other irregular intervals just to resemble that missing intervals. On the other hand there have been some Persian modes which do not include such kind of intervals or it has been possible to replace them with some other, or, let’s say the ears changed to accept new intervals instead of the original ones. In this case there was a new style of Persian music created which was neither Persian traditional music nor western music, but a new style of music with Persian taste. In this new musical style, musicians/composers favored more the folk songs which were more known by the ears and in which there was some kind of certain rhythm and melodies instead of that kind of precise music in Dastgahi music. There has been and there still are some popular musicians who perform some Persian folk melodies or songs.
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