Culture - Music Instruments
Persian Musical Instruments
The range of pitch in nay, the end blown flute with two open ends is decided by the length of the instrument. Therefore, it may have five or six finger holes. Nay is played with the non-stop breathing technique. The player uses his cheeks to keep the air under control for a significant period of time. Nay is made of bamboo or cane. Nay is used by shepherds in rural areas. It also plays a vital role in trance inducing music used by Dervish orders in the world.
The strings are tuned diatonically in groups of three so each neighboring three strings will have the same pitch. The number of strings vary between sixty-three and eighty four. A santur with sixty three strings has twenty one pitches to play on. Santur is one of the most popular instruments of Iranian music. The dulcimer, qanun, and zither are related.
Surnay is a double reed wind instrument with two double blades that are bound together and fixed into the top of the instrument. The sound generated by vibration that caused by blowing through the gaps between the two blades. Surnay (shawm) has a buzzing sound.
Ud has a belly shaped body and a neck where strings are stretched from the lower part of the belly to the upper part of the neck. Ud can also be recognized from either its rounded or flat back. The neck is short. Lutes used in Iran known as tar has a long neck. Essentially an Arabic instrument, the Arabic tone system is based on it.
Tar (Plucked Lute)
Iranians consider the tar the "sultan of instruments." Its present form was developed in 18th century and has been the choice of Persian classical masters since. It has a double-bowl body of mulberry wood with a lambskin face. The fingerboard has 28 frets and the three double strings are played with a plectrum. (Photo at right)
Sitar (Three Strings)
Although sitar is likely to be of Persian origin (means three strings) it is also a very popular North Indian string instrument which can have four to seven strings. Sitar belongs to the lute family, the vina and the Indian zither.
Tambura was introduced to India from Iran. Tambura is a simplified version of sitar which is made of wood and has a potbelly with a long unfretted neck. Tambura is positioned upright and its body rests on the player's right thigh. The strings are stroked instead of plucked.
Daira (Frame Drum, Tambourine)
The daira is one of the most common types of instruments in Iran and Middle East. Frame drum (known as tambourine) is made of one or two stretched skin over a light and shadow frame shaped usually into a circle. Although most tambourines are covered with goatskins, a good quality tambourine is covered with fish skin which is more expensive.
By far, one of the most popular percussion instruments is daf. Recent classical ensembles have included daf. It may also be used in Sufi ceremonies. Daf is a large frame drum with one or more rows of internal metal rings.
Tombak is a goblet shaped drum which is made from wood. The drum head is made from lamb or goat skin. The variety of sounds are made from various finger rolling and snapping techniques.
Kamancheh (Spiked Fiddle)
Kamancheh (Spiked fiddle) is a part of musical instrument of the Middle East and it is believed that it originated in Iran. Kamancheh is ancestor to most Modern European and Asian bowed instruments. The contemporary kamancheh has four strings and played vertically. It has a conical neck with a small hollowed belly. The belly is made of walnut or mulberry wood with a thin stretched skin covering. Its history eventually leads to the violin family.
The chang dates back to about 2000 BC and its complex modern descendant found its way into modern symphony orchestra. The strings are attached to a soundbox but rather than coming from a crossbar, they are attached at an oblique angle from a neck at one end of the soundbox.
M. Nejad - composer, performer, music teacher