Music Making in Iran from the 15th to the Early 20th Century

Amir Hosein Pourjavady
Feb 21, 2024, 12:15 pm1:15 pm
Free, Open to the Public


Event Description



For most of its history, Iran has experienced an unusually high level of foreign invasion, violence, chaos, and socio-historical disruption. Although this persistent adversity has tended to hinder the development of the rich tradition of court music, contacts with Arabic, Mongolian, Turkish, Indian and Caucasian cultures have led to musical syncretism. While we may trace a continuous tradition of Persian court poetry as far back as the tenth century, the same cannot be said about a tradition of court music being entirely created and upheld by Persian musicians.

Music Making in Iran looks at the change and evolution of music in Iran from both social and theoretical perspectives from the Timurid period up until the end of the Qajar period (15th to early 20th centuries). It examines many aspects of music making in this span of time including the centers of musical patronage, the roles of patrons, music theorists, musical treatises, the social organization of musicians, courtesan and concubine culture, and performance contexts. It compares descriptions of musical sessions and performance formats from different periods and considers Western influence, socio-political developments, and contact with other musical cultures as well. This book also sheds light on the historical link between Persian music and the music of neighboring regions – such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.


Amir Hosein Pourjavady is an ethnomusicologist with a significant teaching background at both the University of Tehran and UCLA. Over the course of several years, he has made substantial contributions, not only as an educator but also as the music editor of Perso-Indica, the Grand Encyclopedia of Islam, and Mahoor Music Quarterly. Pourjavady is widely recognized for his extensive writings on the history, theory, and performance practices of music in the Middle East and Central Asia. He is also an accomplished setar player and has performed widely with celebrated Iranian musician.

Alison Cummins