C A T A R A C T S

... North of Iran, as it is still competing the western guitar among the tehrani teens. .... The major features of the modern Barbat are a narrow soundboard and a longer .... [N5-BK] : Nariman, Mansur, « The method of Playing the Lute », Soroush ...
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Setar dealer : « Parsyan» store, at Ali Reza ‘s, Baharestan Square, Tehran

Setar maker : Ustad Moh’d Reza RAHNIME, Montazeri Street , QAZVIN

Setar maker : three alternate technics for setar sounbox construction : glued ribs, cut gourds and carved box. Unlike glued items , prformances of carved setar notoriously drop after years. ( tools by Hosen MASOUD)

Lutemaker Moslem MIRZAZADEH, Gallery of the Prison of Alexander, Ziaee square, old YAZD

Setar is still very common in the North of Iran, as it is still competing the western guitar among the tehrani teens.

FLAT « ABAI » FORECAME THE SETAR According to the kordi lutemaker Omid DERAZ, flat soundboxed Abai ( fars Aba : mantle) version of setar was designed so that the musicians can hide it in their Mantle. This allowed the instrument to be hidden, in the Abbaside area.

Omid DERAZ Dehnadi Str. (Dd end) Shohada Sq. SHIRAZ DERAZ explains the ethymology of the Abai.

Right : Flat soundboxed Abai. Its Bass sound low.

CUSTOMIZED PERSIAN SETARS

Decorated setar

Soundbox is decorated with incrusted wood

TANBUR MAKER POURAM, Passage SOROUSH, 2nd Floor, Modarres Av. KERMANSHAH.

TANBUR LUTE is a sacred instrument of the Ahl-e-haqq community in South Kordestan (Sahneh, Goran, Howraman). Two major construction technics survive in Kordestan. Here the monobloc technics as observed in Sanandaj. Lutemaker « Manzema » KHALEDI, Shohada street, SANANDAJ

MONOXYLE TANBUR LUTEMAKER IDA FARMANI, GHARVOREH VILLAGE, DALAHU The monoxyle technic is prominent around and another famous local maker is Ustad Asadollah « Gharvorehei » in Ghavoreh village, very near Kerend. (picture by Tanbourgoran.com)

TANBUR LUTEMAKER FEREYDUN KAMALI, KEREND VILLAGE. This original monoxyle soundbox carving is prominent in the Yarsan music, as so the instruments sound get better and better while years go by. Glued ribs boxes do not. Such KAMALI ‘s monoxyle tanbur sound excellent. Geredu wood (same as santour construction) is much in use, as this is not resilient.

MONOXYLE TANBUR FAMOUS MAKER ASADOLLAH IN GHARVOREH VILLAGE, DALAHU (picture by Tanbourgoran.com)

TANBUR LUTEMAKER ‘ARESH’, KERMANSHAH ROAD, KEREND. Monoxyle tanburs and Setar.

« PASHNEH » TANBUR : MOTHER OF EVERY TANBUR This rare technic mixes the trunked rib glueing with a huge carved neck, nicknamed « tongue ». Comparing to monoxyle construction, masterizing this composite construction is complicated and accoustic performances are randomly reached so. The model is still being produced in Sahneh (ex : Abdolreza RAHNAMA, Upper SAHNEH), the craddle of notorious performers of the Yarsan, such as darvish HAYATI, Amrollah SHAHEBRAHIMI and the famous Seyyed Khalil ALINEJAD.Same technic is observed in some rare Dotar construction of the Torkmen and Uyghurs (right)

CUSTOMIZED this strange skin boarded setar was observed among lutemakers of Sanandaj KHALEDI and FATHI. KHALEDI is a friendly guy, much influenced with tasnif and esfahani songs. We had good time Home and he explained basics of wood preparation. TANBUR PASHNEH : the pashneh alternate technic (ribs + hard neck), endemic of Sahneh, as observed at OMID s , a lutemaker of the kordi community in SHIRAZ. This architecture is optimized for oversized sound box. Lutemaker Omid DERAZ, Dehnadi street, SHIRAZ.

The Tar making is a long process of wood carving. The curved soundbox is actually made of two assemblied carved shells that are then glued together ( see here the rubber while glueing ) then carved together, so that the assemblied parts make illusion.

The tiny Workshop of the Tar / setar maker Ali Moh’d Reza RAHIM stands on Montazeri Street, south QAZVIN. Left : The lutemaker shows a portrait of Imam Hosein he carved on his own in the granite. Center : Setar and tar under construction Right : A Tar Lute after glueing the carved half-sounboxes

GLUEING TAR SOUNDBOXES

These are Tar half-sounboxes under construction. I was hardly explained the main tools and stage of process. Of course, few more pixes are available on demand.

Tar maker Habib ZOLFONUN adjusting glued boxes in Abadeh, Fars province

Tar dealer, opposite the Majlis paliament, Tehran : the tar is supposed to descend the persian barbat.

TAR IS THE KING OF THE PERSIAN REPERTOIRE Under the Qajar, three schools of classical music (Sonnati) rose : Tehran, Esfahan, Tabriz (iranian region of Azerbaijan). Polyvalent Masters and jew entertainers adapted old gushe themes of the oral tradition mostly for the Tar , setar and Santur. The subtle sound of the tar reinforce his position of the king in the persian ensemble. Unlike the oud, this is still appreciated by the young iranians. The persian shape of the tar soundbox.

The azeri shape of tar soundbox was rounded so that it’s hold high on the breast.

The strenghtened azeri Tar design allows up to 17 strings tensile.

The skills for Tar construction are very similar with that of the Kemancheh spike fiddle. This latter is still played in traditional and classical ensembles, but was hardly competed by western fiddles.

« TAR–BAZI » : A MODERN KEMANCHEH VARIANT OF TAR

This customized tar is modified as an upgraded variant of kemancheh spike fiddle. The rose is substituted with the lamb skin and the pegbox is much carved, just like an afghani rebab.

Lutemaker Omid Zoka FOROGHI, AlMolk Str, Baharestan Square, TEHRAN

Barbat means « duck body » in persian. This lute was presumately born in Iran but vanished under the Qajar . The major features of the modern Barbat are a narrow soundboard and a longer neck comparing with the arabian Oud

REBIRTH OF IRANIAN LUTE

THE

Most repertoires (Radif, Tasnif, Motrebi) were written to the Setar and Tar lutes or Santur dulcimer.

In the 1960’s, western and Tarab orchestra were built up for radio broadcast purpose . In this occasion, iranians adapted the Radif to the Oud. This trend was led then by lutemaker GAMBARIMEHR, lutenists SHAHIDI, NARIMAN and MOHSENI. www.iranianouds.com

Fiddle/ Lutemaker GAMBARIMEHR launched the production of expansive ouds in Tehran and experimented skin-boarded barbat. Imported ouds (Syria, Turkey) are cheaper and still dominant.

Barbat is still anecdotic in Iran. So is its adaptation of the radif repertoire. Raw Shape of the iranian pegbox illustrates the level of the beginning experimentation.

REVISED DESIGN OF THE BARBAT Right : Barbat Lute (left), Oud (right). Neck is longer and Soundbx is narrower than oud s . Below : 2 private barbat by GAMBARIMEHR

The Qeshmi maker Mohd R.A. ASHARI gave up the barbat design and developped modern manufacturing technics, as required for a short production of oversized, high quality ouds.

ASHARI’S OUDS HAUNT TEHRANI STORES

Ostad Moh’d R.A. ASHARI, Bazar Firdowsi , Ground Floor, BANDAR QESHM, Hormuzgan

Iranian Barbat are very rare & expansive in Town. As I needed one for training purpose, I have tested some awful tukish ouds, a syrian one and finally found this conveniant one from Turkey.

TOOL BOX OF THE SANTUR ZITHER MAKER : additionnal electric heaving tooling are widespread too.

Size Variants :

REZAEI - LA (A) frame / REZAEI - SOL (H) frame / VARZANDEH

330 mm / 360 mm / 18 ’’ 260 mm / 270 mm / 315 mm (14 ’’ )

( < 1 ‘’)

820 mm / 900 mm / 43 ’’

santur pegs, a.k.a. « gusheh » 50 mm / 50 mm / 69 mm ( 1 ‘’)

SANTUR MAKING : dimensions vary for VARZANDEH ( 2x12 choirs) & training variants ( 2x9 choirs ) Omid MOTALEBI & Mohamad REZAEI, lutemakers, Sennadariyeh / 1st alley, Hakim Shahi Av., SEMNAN.

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JEWELS OF THE GUEST ROOM HELMI inherited the Tombak Maker Workshop of his father, in the north side of Shahrake Ghods (NW Tehran) . The building is accomodated as a Tombak workshop and a storage for setars and Dayere framedrums. In the second floor, the Guest room celebrates the tehrani virtuoso and more especially lutemaker & friend GAMBARIMEHR, the father of the barbat lute revival in Tehran.

Portraits and rare custom instruments celebrate skilled Tombak players and lutemakers, such as GAMBARIMEHR . This latter experimented the skinsoundboard on several lutes, such as setars.

A rare collector old skinned-covered barbat lute by GAMBARIMEHR . This was reported to be 20 years old item.

Raw Tombak parts are carved in several remote Workshop (Hamedan and Esfahan)

Raw Tombak parts are machined on this rustic Mill. Average production is 900 items per month ( ‘ Craftsmens).

Cracks in the Tombak parts are reworked by inserting wooden tips.

Final polishing is handmade.

An inner wooden Ring is inserted for rigidity purpose.

Before covering the outter stripe is protected with a protecting layer. Varnishing precedes covering.

CAMELS FROM BALOCHISTAN The Drum membrane is delivered as dried crust of camel leather.

The Tombak Maker soften leather in a water bath and covers then a Drum. The memrane is then tighten with a rope and fixed with common nails.

MASTERWORKS DEMONSTRATE THE KNOW-HOW OF THE MASTER

One of two of this Tombak drum was manufactured and especially decorated for a japanese Museum. A layer of polymere protects the inserted parts. Ustad HELMI, Bustan square / Sarveh square, 196 / Fahrarazdi Av. north Shahrake Ghods, TEHRAN

BONUS Qanun zither contruction. This zither was much in use in the popular Koocheh Bazari genre in the early 1960’s in Tehran.

Lutemaker Omid Zoka FOROGHI, Al-Molk Str, Baharestan Square, TEHRAN

BONUS Qeychak fiddle player-beggar sings balochi hits in the freezy streets of Tehran.

BIBLIO… [A1-BK] : Abdoun, Seifed-Din Shehadeh, « The oud, the king of arabic instruments », ISBN ????, Arabila production Publ., 100 p., Washington DC(USA) / Irbid (Jordan), 1996. Introduction and playing course. ( i ) [A26-BK] : Abdulgassimov, Vagif, "Azerbaijanian Tar ", Ishyg Publ, ISBN 5 89650 249 4, Baku, 1990 (english language) (e) [A54-BK] : Alinejad, Said Khallil , « Tanbur, azedir baztakenoun », Anteshadat Danshioufan publ., ISBN 964 90430 2 0, Iran, 1987. History, construction, and organology of the Tanbur lute of/by the mystical ahl e haqq of Sahneh, Kordestan ( e ) [Ax-xx] Ashari, Mohammad, interview, lutemaker. Firdowsi Bazaar, Bandar Qeshm , Hormuzgan, march 2007 [D5-BK] : Darvishi, Mohammed Reza, “The encyclopedia of the Musical Instruments of Iran, vol.1: chordophones in regional music”, Mahoor publishing; 2005 available at http://www.mahoor.ir ( e ) [D33-BK] : During, Jean, « Quelque chose se passe: le sens de la Tradition dans l’Orient Musical », ISBN 2 86432 212 , Verdier Publ. , France, 1994. ( e ) [Hx-xx] : Hekmat, Neema, « Tutorial on the Varzandeh-style Santur and Mezrab », official tribute website of the artist Reza VARZANDEH. http://www.rezavarzandeh.com [M9-BK] : Mansuri, Parviz, « Saz Shenassi », Etteshat Zwar , ISBN 964 401 088 4, 1999. inventory of regional musical instruments . ( i ) [Mxx-xx] : Motalebi, Omid & Rezaei, Mohamad , lutemakers, interview, Sennadariyeh area / 1st alley, Hakim Shahi Av., west Semnan, Semnan Province, Iran, febr 2008. [N5-BK] : Nariman, Mansur, « The method of Playing the Lute », Soroush Publ, ISBN 964-376-291-2, Tehran, 2005. Iran. ( g ) [S3-BK] : Saedi, Malihe, "Amozeshi Saz qanun ", (playing studies of the qanun zither), anonymous publ. , ISBN none, Tehran , 1989 (persian language). Basics of qanun ( e ) [S4-BK] : Saket, Keivan, "Tar and setar, book nr 2", Chang publ., ISBN 964 6341 62 4, Tehran , 1999 (persian language). Basics of setar playing. [S26-BK] : Setayeshgar, Mehdi, . « santour dar mozighi sonati iran / Dulcimer’s speciality in iranian traditional music », publ. , ISBN (none), Tehran, Iran, 1990. Persian language. ( e )