“music”, referring to secular, composed, metric, instrumental, and ensemble musich
“to recite,” referring to sacred, improvised, non-metric, vocal, and solo performance
“mode,” [Iran] There are 12 modes, each with their own name, scale of pitches, and short identifying melodic motif.

Collection of 250-300 pieces, each one up to 4 min in length, that a student of Persian classical music memorizes and uses as a basis for improvisation.

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Several master musicians formed their own version that they passed on to students through oral transmission.

Short melodic “piece” in a particular dastgah. Each mode has approximately 20-30 gushehs devoted to it.
Sobbing kind of vocal embellishment in Persian classical music
Literally “string.”

Long-necked, fretted lute with waisted wooden body

Small long-necked, plucked lute
Four-stringed spiked fiddle played with a horsehair bow
Trapezoidal hammered dulcimer played with two wooden hammers
End-blown cane flute held obliquely
Goblet-shaped drum
Frame drum with jingles on the inside of the frame
First section of music – slow, composed, metric, played in unison
Introduction. Played after Pishdaramad.

Non-metric, demonstrates characteristics of the mode.

Chahar mezrab
“Four hammers”

Fast, rhythmic, instrumental piece

Central section of the performance

Improvised, non-metric, may be performed vocally or instrumentally

Final section of music – rhythmic dance song
Composed metric song accompanied by instuments
Iranian Rock musician
Primarily young, urban, educated, relatively affluent, modern, and secular in outlook
Iranian rock bands
[1998] Since relaxation of gov’t restriction on popular music. Practice in Basements, may include Western and Iranian instruments, and male and female musicians.
A permit required to any live music performance or commercial recording in Iran, granted by the gov’t. Assessment process scrutinizes lyrics, music, and metting Islamic “standards”
“underground” rock
Term implying oppositional stance to the Iranian gov’t. Led to the preferred label,”alternative” rock. “Underground” informally describes “non-authorized” bands.
Underground Music Competition
First Iranian online rock music festival in 2002
Band 127
Expresses the internationalist stance of Iranian rock by singing most songs in English, and commenting on Iran vis-a-vis the outside world.

“My Sweet Little Terrorist” song

“hearing” and “the music is heard”

Sufi ceremonies that involve prayer, song, dance, and other rituals

Holy book of Islam. Believed by Muslims to contain the revelations of God (Allah) to the Prophet Muhammad through angel Gabriel.

Contains to mention of “music.”

A Muslim who knows and recites the entire Qur’an from memory.
Traditions of the Prophet.

Sayings of or anecdotes about Muhammad, written down after his life and considered an authoritative source for Islamic law.

Call to Prayer

Recited 5 times a day in Islamic countries to announce the official prayer times. Consists of a sequence of short phrases.


Islamic ritual to remember Allah, including the repetition of the names of Allah, and for Sufis often music and dance

Islamic mysticism

Seeking awareness of ultimate reality and truth through divine love and mystical union with God

Sufi order founded in the 13th century Turkey by followers of Jalal un-din Rumi. Known in the West as “The Whirling Dervishes” for their turning rituals.
“Threshold of the door”

Member of a Sufi order, who seeks a greater awareness of life.

“One who is in love”

Professional minstrel who sings love songs and epic poetry. Accompanies himself on the saz, performing in coffeehouses and concert halls, at weddings, and for radio and television.

Similar to baxshi and zhirau in Uzbekistan.

Asiq’s learning process
They acquire poetic and musical skills in a dream, but the learning process nevertheless involves listening, memorizing, and imitating master singers.
Long-necked fretted lute played with a plectrum
Double reed aerophone played to accompany the asiq in East Azerbaijan
Long epic poem in Turkey and Central Asia, recounting heroic, historical, or love stories. Performances combine spoken narration with sung melodies, and may take many days
Song Duel
Asiq performance tradition, originally competitive, now for entertainment. Two asiks improvise verses, the 2nd following the exact same meter and rhyme scheme of the first.

Song topics range widely from love and nature to politics and history, often including insults.

Classical song genre devoted to expression of spiritual poetry, Singers perform with a straightforward, open vocal style, and reach a high-pitched awj (culminating pt.) that sustains vocal and spiritual tension.


High-pitched culminating point in singing a melody


Performer of oral epic poetry (dastan) in Khiva.

Differs from asiq in repertoire and style. Accompanied by an ensemble of stringed instruments and frame drum


Performer of oral epic and lyric poetry in Karakalpakstan, accompanying himself on the qobyz (two-stringed fiddle)


Two-stringed fiddle played by the zhirau to accompany epic singing


Female entertainer who sings at weddings and other women’s ceremonies in Khiva, usually in groups of 2 to 4 including a dancer.


“Throat singing”

Singer simultaneously produces two distinct tones, a low fundamental pitch and a series of much higher harmonics.


Series of musical tones (overtones), whose frequencies are multiples of the frequency of the fundamental tone. Harmonics are present in any acoustically produced tone but are not normally heard by the human ear, which hears only the fundamental pitch.
Two-stringed, horse-head fiddle