Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Prof. Mohammad R Azadehfar

University of The Arts, Tehran
6 Laleh Alley, Yazdanian Street, Shariati Street, Gholhak, 19167,
Tehran, Iran

Practical Issues Achived from Theoretical Principal of Oriental Music: Case of Applying Iranian Dastgah System of Thinking to Actual Performances Teaching

The current research benefits from a multidisciplinary approach. The enquiries consider the principles of musical elements from the oriental Iranian music in which several factors including richness of melody, repetition, phrasing and musical sentences, melodic contour, melodic compass, rhythmic structure, orchestration, and the lyrical structure discussed. These issues studies through the discipline of psychology in a case study in which two groups of performers were participated. The study exhibits the theoretical issues of oriental music of Iran when applied in reality to listeners from different musical background leaving in such culture.

Even though Iranian music enjoys a long history, it lacks methodological studies in several directions. Musicologists working on Iranian music mostly focus either on Iranian regional and folk music from the point of view of ethnography or brining the attention to the gūsheh-ha of Iranian classical dastgāh system in a musicological manner. The current study tries to focus on a neglected issue of the “actual needs of student of the culture” to assist them apply theoretical and sophisticated issues in their actual performances.

In the case study provided in this article 20 musicians, 10 of whom playing Iranian instruments and 10 of whom playing Western instruments selected. A piece of Iranian music performed fully for the subjects and they were asked to fill a questioner. The questions were mainly examined the understanding of the listeners from the point of view of Iranian oriental music system such as richness of melody, melodic repetitions, phrasal distinction, melodic compass, rhythmic structure, orchestration, and the juxtaposing of music line and the lyrics sang by the singer.

The result showed that the musical background and the familiarity of listeners to theoretical principal of oriental music play crucial rule in music perception, even if one plays music from outside of the local oriented music.


Mohammad Reza Azadehfar earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield, England in Ethnomusicology (where he taught various courses such as Practice and Concepts of Improvisation and Music Culture in West Asia) followed by a fellowship in SOAS, University of London. He began his music career in Isfahan conservatory in 1980. Azadehfar is author of several books and articles in English and Persian languages. His recent book in English is Rhythmic Structure in Iranian Music. He is currently senior lecturer in Faculty of Music, Tehran Arts University in Iran.