Week 3 – Archiving

The main points made in the last blog regarding Iranian music archives will be extended here with a main focus on their backgrounds.

The Music Museum of Iran seems to be the main physical site to visit that preserves rich Iranian music history. As previously mentioned, it holds various artefacts and instruments across 3,650m between three separate floors.


Traditional Iranian instruments have been kept for hundreds of years and you can see very clearly how they have been developed and manipulated to what they are and how they sound like in the modern day. The museum also shows the progress of recording equipment in Iran. From early vinyl and cassette days to modern studio facilities. The-Music-Museum-of-Iran-11.jpgThe-Music-Museum-of-Iran-13.jpgThe-Music-Museum-of-Iran-18.jpg

As good as this place is to visit if you are interested in Iranian music heritage, I think the main aspect that they have avoided is looking at popular musical genres and their progress within the years. They have on display all these fancy instruments and their origins but they lack detail in what style/genre those instruments seemed to have been played.  The historical painting shown below was produced in  1669 in a less privileged city of Iran called Isfahan. This painting implies that these traditional Iranian instruments were played in groups and you did not have to be amongst the richest people in the country to play music. aside from the traditional Iranian Sitar, you can see them playing an Iranian drum known as the Tonbak, which is usually played as a high tempo using your fingers. This ancient piece of art represents people dancing in colourful clothing, which could suggest they played upbeat style genres. Mehmoonifinal2.jpg

As previously stated, there aren’t any significant online blogs/ archives that hold historical information on popular music in Iran. However, there are a couple of websites that carry some relevant information. But in my opinion they lack a lot of detail in several aspects of the histories of each genre.

Iran Chamber Society allows people to post historical information the arts of Iran. It does not seem to be that commonly used amongst people as the last music related post was from 2003. I believe a reason for this could be a restricted access to the internet. Majority of people in Iran still don’t have full access to the internet, and for those that do, are restricted as to what websites they are able to visit. There is a great paper online written by Somayeh Ghazizadeh that talks about the cultural changes of Iranian music after the islamic revolution. The paper looks at how in 1978 shortly after the revolution, the portrait of Persian music was “completely changed and different aspects like absence of women’s voice, emphasis on religious music, increasing of ordered governmental music, imitation of L.A Persian pop artists, omitting dance, and many other ones appeared in it.”

In conclusion, there are various forms of online articles and papers you can learn lots about popular music in Iran and musical culture/heritage, however the information doesn’t seem to be located in one place. You have to search through dozens of various websites and articles to find the information required.




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