Due Date: 1st August 2014
Inspired by the performances of Mohammed Reza Shajarian and his fellow musicians as well as Jeremy Marre’s ‘deep song’ presentation for ‘The Nature of Music, I felt compelled to delve deeper into these exceedingly dissimilar yet connected pieces of music.
Persian music heavily employs the use of the ney (hollow reed flute), tombak (goblet-shaped single-headed drum) and the setar/tar (long-necked lute) and in this particular performance, with the accompaniment of Shajarian’s avaz (vocals) who sets the dastgah (melodic composition) for the entire piece by selecting the gusheh. The call-and-response form of music that is characteristic of Middle Eastern music is quite evident here too as the instrument follows the path of Shajarian’s taqasim (improvisation techniques/art).
Knowing the history of Andalucian music, specifically flamenco, it is not surprising to see the roots of this music come from Iran and other regions of the Arab world. Flamenco is all about the vocals and very sentimental lyric and tone that set the tone for the entire piece. This form of music as well the instruments used in flamenco such as the guitar, all owe their existence, in a number of ways to the taqasim and oud/tar of Persian music respectively.; the plucking of the oud is similar to the thumbing of a flamenco guitar. Additionally, the ‘passionate ferocity’ that one can give to the cante hondo that Marres sings for us is