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A brief about the music of ancient Iran
by Dr. Kamran Haddadi



TEHRAN.- Music has long been present as an essential element in human life and has been used in various fields of human societies since ancient times. In celebrations and dances, in sorrows and wars and battles, music in various forms has been an important and inseparable part of the life and behavior of societies. There is no exact and reliable consensus among researchers about the origin of the first musical sound or the first societies that used music, but considering that wind and percussion instruments were among the first man-made instruments, it can be imagined. In the vicinity of the reeds and when the wind passed through the meadows and between the reeds, melodies were produced that made the early humans notice a pleasant sound and today it has led people to think that with these reeds they can produce sound. This idea led to the construction of a similar reed so that they could use it for signaling or warning. Thus, just as many natural phenomena have inspired humans to invent and explore the necessities of life, it is not far-fetched that the beautiful sounds of nature have also contributed to the invention of various instruments such as drums or the like.

Many researchers believe that the first signs of people paying attention to music and using it can be seen in situations such as when people are out of the ordinary and emotional and raise their voices. Karl Stampf, a former professor of philosophy at the University of Berlin, recalls the beginnings of music when people used it to understand principles, and believes that the science of music originated from these sounds.

In Iran, music goes back to the long history of this land. According to the history of about 7,000 years of Iran, the ability to use sound and music production tools in this land is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. Music in the form of the production of pleasant sounds based on human taste and based on the eloquence of music, according to existing documents, existed until about 3400 years ago, which is actually the most documented use of music as a group. This historical document is a tablet that was discovered by two archaeologists from the University of Chicago named Pinas Delogaz and Helen Cantor during scientific excavations in the ancient hill of Choghamish from 1962 to 1966.

The report provided by two archaeologists states; "These images are of great value given our artistic value and awareness of life in this age, and are truly the first human items of universal value. One of these examples is the first organized musical document to be found.". This image shows a group of musicians who are in fact the pioneers and the main form of today's orchestras. This historical tablet shows us that music, at least 34 centuries ago in Iran, was developed and used as an orchestra and to some extent was part of the religion and beliefs of the Iranian people, which played an important role in religious ceremonies. The performance of music in its orchestral form shows the harmony and harmony between musical instruments and sounds, which shows that hundreds of years before the construction of this ancient work, there was advanced music in Iran that may be more than 34 centuries, but accurate The document of this claim has not been discovered yet.

There are also important signs of the use of music in the magnificent works of Persian literature. For example, in Shahnameh, we come across cases that do not seem to deviate from reality. One of the characters of Shahnameh is Azadeh Khanigar who was skilled in playing and singing and served Bahram Gour and played music in hunting ceremonies. His story can be seen in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh and in the seven military bodies of Ganjavi.




There are many narrations from the past period of Sassanid history and in the Achaemenid period that the musician was present as one of the nobles and even important people in the government and along with kings and rulers. "War songs played an important role during the Achaemenid period. Xenophon wrote that in the time of Cyrus the Great (founder of the Achaemenid dynasty) a hymn was sung to kill the soldiers of Talshi and Tabari, which was sometimes seen as a mourning ceremony for Siavash during the Sassanid period. Religious hymns also played an important role in this period; According to Herodotus, these songs, unlike similar songs in Assyrian and Babylonian civilization, were performed without instruments. According to what different historians have quoted and found in the relief of Ilam, harp, daf, dahl and trumpet have been used in music until the Achaemenid period. (Manzami, Darvish Reza. 2001 pp. 76-78).

But the most flourishing period of art and music was during the Sassanid era, especially during the time of Khosrow Parviz and Bahram Goor. During this period, the Rameshgars and Khanigars (musicians) held a high position in the court of the Sassanid kings and even established communication between the people. "During the Sassanid period, which lasted 428 years, about 40 kings reigned, of which the role of the four kings was more important, and during their time, the situation in the country changed more. In the time of Ardeshir Babakan, the courtiers were divided into seven classes and the Rameshgars into the fifth class.. This trend continued during the reign of the next kings, but Bahram Gore raised the status of the Rameshgars and Khanyagars and put them in first place. It is narrated that Bahram worked hard for the welfare of the people and believed that the people should live like him. So he ordered the 12,000 Gypsies or Lauren (meaning musicians) to enter Iran from India to play music for the people. The number of these Lori (or Lulians) is mentioned differently in some other sources (for example, in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, ten thousand are mentioned). In any case, the great position of musicians in the court was maintained by the successors of Bahram Gour until it returned to the way that was common in the time of Ardashir in the time of Anoushirvan. The names of these musicians are either Gypsies, Kawli or Kabuli or Lori (referring to the fact that they later settled in Lorestan) or Loli and their historical roots go back to the Achaemenid period in which the musicians of this civilization exist in the region. It has "they lived in India." (Safwat, Dariush 101: 1350).

Khosrow Parviz's period is considered by some to be the peak of the glory of the ancient era of Iranian music, although Dariush Safvat believes that the position of musicians in this period was not as high as Bahram Gour. During the reign of Khosrow Parviz, prominent musicians such as Barbad and Nakisa flourished. Dariush Safvat, by examining various sources, has listed the list of musicians of the Sassanid period as follows.

Azadvar Changi, Afarin, Barbad (his name is also mentioned as "Pahlabad", and "Barbad Jahromi". He was an oud player and had a very high social status and was of special interest to Khosrow Parviz). Other musicians include Bamshad and Ramtin: His other names were Ramin, Rami and Ram. He is said to have invented the harp and it is not known if he was Iranian or Greek.Therefore, I can say that music was not limited to the court of kings and rulers and was not limited to their happiness and prosperity. Music has had its application at all levels of society. In feasts, battles, joys and sorrows, especially in the pre-Islamic era, music has played a special role and importance in the lives of the people and the society of the people. In order to ensure security, well-being, comfort and livelihood, artists have lived and been present at the king's court. In the carvings of the Achaemenid and early Sassanid periods, the Rameshgars were seen to the right of the kings, which shows the high position of the Rameshgars in the court.


References:
- Haddadi, Kamran. 2016 Quarterly Journal of Culture and Society. Number 2
- Safwat, Dariush. 1350 A short research on the masters of Iranian music and the melody of Iranian music. Tehran: Ministry of Culture and Arts.
- Nezami, Darvish Reza. 2001 A Passage on Ancient Music.
- Chogha Mish. Volume 1, The First Five Seasons Of Excavations, 1961-1971, Oriental Institute Publications - Pinhas Delougaz, Helene J. Kantor










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