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Iranian folk music

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Title: Iranian folk music  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Music of Iran, Middle Eastern music, Persian traditional music, Persian pop music, Folk music
Collection: Folk Music by Nationality, Iranian Music
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Iranian folk music

Music of Iran
General topics
Specific forms
Religious music
Traditional music
Regional music

Iranian folk music is a musical term that refers to the traditional music of Iranian peoples. Despite all common roots the folk music in each different part of Iran has certain characteristics in correlation with its native myths, dialects, geographical and social situation.


  • Introduction 1
  • Persian folk music 2
  • Music of Sistan and Baluchistan 3
  • Kurdish music 4
  • Music of Khuzestan 5
  • Music of Azarbaijan (Azarbadegan, Iran) 6
  • Iranian folk music in Iranian cultural continent 7
  • Notable figures 8
  • Iranian folk music in Fusion 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • External links 12


Many composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries used the folk music of their native countries as a source of inspiration for their compositions. For some composers, such as Stravinsky, this was a short-lived infatuation soon to be followed by neoclassicism, or, for others, one of several different forms of modernism. Among the major European composers, Béla Bartók, Manuel de Falla, and Zoltán Kodály remained significantly committed to using folk music as primary sources for their works. Similar issues can be seen in the history of Iranian folk music.

The modal concepts in Iranian folk music are directly linked with that of the Iranian classical music. However, improvisation plays a minor role as folk tunes are characterized by relatively clear-cut melodic and rhythmic properties. The function of each folk melody determines its mood. The varying aesthetic requirements of wedding songs, lullabies, love songs, harvest songs, dance pieces, etc., are met with transparent and appropriate simplicity. The majority of the classical instruments are too elaborate and difficult for the folk musicians. Instead, there are literally dozens of musical instruments of various sorts found among the rural people. In fact, each region of the country can boast instruments peculiar to itself. Three types of instruments, however, are common to all parts of the country. They are, a kind of shawm called Surnay (or Sorna ~ Zorna), the various types of Ney (flute), and the Dohol, a doubleheader drum. A discussion of Persian music must necessarily include the new hybrid of mixed Persian-Western music which is functioning as a popular-commercial music. The use of western popular rhythms, an elementary harmonic superimposition, and relatively large ensembles composed of mostly western instruments, characterize this music. The melodic and modal aspects of these compositions maintain basically Persian elements. On the whole, it would be something of an understatement to say that the artistic merit of such a melange as this is rather questionable. (Prof. Farhat-musicologist

Iran is home to several ethnic groups, including Kurdish, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Assyrian, Bakhtiari and Baluchi peoples. Turkmen epic poets similar to Central Asian musicians are common in Khorasan, while Kurdish music and Music of Armenia is known for its double-reed duduk and an earthy, dance-oriented sound. The most famous personalities in Iranian folk music are Pari Zangeneh and Sima Bina.

Sima Bina is one of the most renowned traditional Persian singers. As a true anthropologist of Khorassan music, she has been compiling for years a traditional repertoire from this province. Singing in Persian, but also in Turkish and Kurdish, she perpetuates a tradition of folk music which praises nature and love, and which evokes nostalgia and the changing times.[1]

Bahman Alaoddin also known as Masoud Bakhtiari (b. 1940, d. 2006) was a renowned Iranian musician, vocalist and songwriter and perhaps the most notable figure in Bakhtiari music. A prolific musician, he made some 50 music albums and numerous memorable songs.[1][2]

Persian folk music

Music of Sistan and Baluchistan

  • In 2007, Mulla Kamal Khan was awarded one of the most prestigious Iranian music awards for his contribution to the regional music of Sistan and Baluchistan province of Iran.[3]

Kurdish music

The forms of music found in various parts of Kurdistan, all known as Kurdish music, vary depending on the climate and geography of the regions as well as their contact with the neighboring cultures. For example, the melodies found among the people living in the mountains are different from those found among the people living in the meadows. However, the poetry and the rhythms are common to both areas.

Kamkars group is perhaps the most prominent group that performs Kurdish folk music as well as Iranian classical music.

Music of Khuzestan

  • Magham Music
  • called "tor" and every "tor" may have its own accent and poems.

Music of Azarbaijan (Azarbadegan, Iran)

This is the music of provinces of Zanjan, East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan and Ardabil in Iran. Azerbaijan like other parts of Iran has a distinct music. On February 21, 1828, under the Treaty of Turkmenchay, Russia seized the control of Iranian territory to the North of the River Aras, which is now called the Republic of Azerbaijan where they share very similar music as Azarbijanis in Iran. The number of Azerbaijnis in Iran is about three times larger than population of Republic of Azerbaijan.

Iranian folk music in Iranian cultural continent

Notable figures

Iranian folk music in Fusion

See also


  1. ^ ISNA - 11-03-2006 - 85/8/12 - سرويس: / فرهنگ و هنر - موسيقي / شماره خبر: 817711
  2. ^ رادیو زمانه | آهنگ زمانه | ویژه برنامه ها | خواننده محلی بختیاری از دنیا رفت
  3. ^ tehran times : Shajarian laments neglect of Iranian regional music
  4. ^

External links

  • Iranian Folklore Songs in Cyrillic
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