The Integral System of Harmonic Drones (a new approach to understanding Persian music intonation) - Vahid Hosseini

In this conference, the presenter, well-versed in Persian and European classical traditions, explores the complex world of Persian Radif music. Using technology for precise interval calculations, he interprets the intricate interval systems that shape the poly-modal DASTGAH concept. Emphasising primary Persian classical instruments, particularly four-stringed ones tuned by perfect fourths or fifths, he reveals their role in crafting microtonal intervals for dramatic musical tension. Challenging established theories, he proposes a new perspective rooted in the harmonic series of the Integral System of Harmonic Drones. This not only redefines the Radif intonation system but also suggests implications for Maqamat in Arab and Turkish music, potentially inspiring new modes of musical creation.

Presented by: Vahid Hosseini

Utilising today's technology for precise calculation of musical intervals, along with the potential for processing such data through tools like OpenMusic, has opened new analytical avenues for interpreting musical cultural phenomena. The writer, well-versed in both Persian and European classical traditions, adopts a compositional approach to interpret the intricate interval systems forming the poly-modal DASTGAH concept in Persian Radif music. The research considers the integral role played by primary Persian classical instruments and their tuning systems in shaping the Radif as a modular composition system. The typically four-stringed instruments, primarily tuned by perfect fourths or fifths, establish a tuning system crucial for crafting complex microtonal intervals, contributing to the dramatic tension within the musical construct. By utilising these intervals, the improvisor navigates diverse possibilities offered by the drones, creating a dynamic narrative through modulation, tension accumulation, climax, release, and sudden shifts in discourse. The writer posits that despite differences in interval measurements between historical and contemporary Persian music masters (J. During 2006), the harmonic series produced by the drone set (limit-13) serves as the original source of intervals within the Radif intonation system. This contradicts earlier theories based on equal divisions, e.g., 24 edo (Vaziri 1934), (Touma 1996), and ratios such as 11:10 (Farhat 1990), which are incongruent with the actual drone tuning. Employing fundamental concepts of just intonation and pure intervals, the research proposes that the neutral interval, also known as koron, can be attributed to the interval 13:12, almost precisely situated between minor and major third deviations from 12-edo (approximately +16 and +86). Although the precise determination of these intervals doesn't entirely align with the writer's belief in the inherent complexity of intonation, the Integral System of Harmonic Drones offers a new perspective on the musical construction of Persian music and possibly that of Maqamat in Arab and Turkish music. This may lead to a better understanding of this phenomenon and potentially inspire new modes of musical creation, demonstrated through the writer's own compositions.

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