Tehran Music School in Qajar Era and Emergence of Modern Music in Persia

  November 18, 2020   Read time 1 min
Tehran Music School in Qajar Era and Emergence of Modern Music in Persia
Tehran Music School as part of the overall higher education institute called "Dar Al Foonoon" pave the path for the emergence of new theoretical and practical approaches in Persia.

Through this school's modest beginnings, Persia's first contacts with occidental music were made with the following consequences: i)Through the study of the rudiments of western musical theory, the concept of a fixed pitch, major and minor scales, keys, etc. were learnt, none of which had any application in the native music; ii) Persian music was never submitted to any kind of notation. Isolated examples of notation found in medieval treatises were never an aspect of musical practice. They were tools of theoretical argumentation. Performing musicians had always learnt the music by rote and extemporised on the basis of modal and melodic models absorbed through experience. That is why composition was never developed into an art separate from performance. It was an aspect of performance and, as such, free from the need, or indeed the desirability, of being notated. In the school of music, students had to learn foreign music from notation so that they might be able to repeat it each time without alteration; iii) There was no Persian band music in existence. Inevitably the music taught at the school was standard western pieces for military bands, such as marches, polkas, waltzes, airs and the like. By learning such pieces, students came to appreciate the major and minor modes and, more importantly, the clarity of melodic and rhythmic forms. By comparison, only Persian folk music possessed this sort of melodic simplicity and rhythmic directness; the classical tradition, on the other hand, is melodically very ornate and rhythmically free and noncommittal; iv) In studying the rudiments of harmony, students were impressed by the complete novelty of the use of more than one sound at the same time in a regulated and systematic way (Source: The Dastgah Concept in Persian Music).

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