"Abstracting" Iranian classical music

by Minooei, Faraz, M.F.A., UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE, 2010, 42 pages; 1476522


Analyzing two of my compositions, "078 Chahaargaah" and "Not From Culture or Nature But," I provide examples of a new perspective towards Iranian classical music. I reconcile two general compositional methods or ways of thinking about sound; sounds as symbols of extramusical meanings – cultural associations and connotations – and sounds as purely sonic entities. This practice, which I describe as "abstracting" Iranian classical music, renovates the music by "thinning" – but not devaluing – the representational aspect of the music.

In the process of analyzing my own works and their relationships to an ongoing tradition of Iranian classical music, I also address broader issues: Pondering the hierarchical value systems in the Iranian classical music, and suggesting that in order to keep this tradition alive, much like Iranian masters of the early twentieth century, I should be open to respond to my environment and its evolution, ideas, and aesthetic changes. In this way Iranian music could have an innovative and transformative function in contemporary society, instead of serving merely as a sonic monument.

In this model of "abstracting" classical Iranian music, the listener could not only enjoy the traditional aspects of the art work, but also be encouraged to adjust his/her views toward its new sounds and techniques. This unification can create new meanings and extramusical messages: that of Iranian classical music opening up to the "world" of new sounds and forms.

AdviserChristopher Dobrian
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsMusic; Musical performances
Publication Number1476522

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