To celebrate the opening of the Library’s magnificent new exhibition, Love and Devotion: from Persia and beyond, I thought it might be interesting to highlight some of the material we hold in the Arts Collection relating to Persian music.

The art of Persian music by Jean During &  Zia Mirabdolbaghi

Mage Publishers, 1991

Mage Publishers, 1991

This is a terrific introduction to the classical music traditions of Persia, and the accompanying CD contains some very beautiful examples of performers and styles. Chapters on the history and systems of Persian music are followed by descriptions of the instruments used as well as the relationship between the music and other art forms such as painting and poetry.

Music and song in Persia : the art of āvāz by Lloyd Clifton Miller

University of Utah Press, 1999

University of Utah Press, 1999

The rhapsodic, transcendental nature of Persian singing is fully investigated in this study, which looks at the history of this beautiful art as well as the influence it continues to have on more contemporary forms of music in modern day Iran. One of the fascinating appendices translates some of the major traditional texts, such as this stanza by Heshmat Shirazi:

My moon, from those magic seductive eyes,

A thousand troubles incites on every side;

Before the faultless gaze of that beauty,

The eyes of the gazelle would be dazzled to shame.

The Garland encyclopedia of world music

Garland Pub. 1998-

Garland Pub. 1998-

These encyclopedic volumes are a marvellous resource both for the world-music afficionado as well as the novice just starting out on the grand tour.

A few recordings to set the scene:

Folk music of Iran: the Luristan and Fars provinces

Lyrichord, 1974

Lyrichord, 1974

The rough guide to the music of Iran compiled by Simon Broughton

World Music Network, 2006

World Music Network, 2006

Iran: Persian classical music: Khatereh Parveneh, Faramarz Payvar & Ensemble Khatereh Parveneh

Elektra Nonesuch, 1974

Elektra Nonesuch, 1974

If you’re interested in hearing some of this ravishing music live, click here for information regarding a series of concerts being held as part of the Love and Devotion calendar of events; not to be missed!

You can also listen to some lovely examples using the Naxos Music Library;  just type the words Iran and music in the search box. Enjoy!

Mehr Ensemble

Mehr Ensemble

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