Heptafold Modes of Iranian Classic Music: Melodic Arrangement and Emotional Expression

  November 15, 2020   Read time 1 min
Heptafold Modes of Iranian Classic Music: Melodic Arrangement and Emotional Expression
Persian classic music is of modular system and every musical mode fits a special emotional status. These seven key modes compose the totality of Persian classic music. These heptafold modes represent the extension of the classic music in Persia due to the wider area that they cover in the field of human emotions.

There are twelve basic modes -- seven primary modes (dastgah-s) and five secondary modes (avaz-s). Each avaz is derived from a specific dastgah, but it is also able to stand by itself. Performance is based on the idea of a "suite" in a single mode, in which the artist will choose items to make a finished "composition". Actual performances generally proceed largely as improvisations, incorporating & culminating in the chosen melodic patterns. The standard items of Iranian classical music are codified in something called the Radif, written at the beginning of this century. This consists of a large number of melodies or sequences (gushe-s) grouped by mode. Some dastgah-s have more gushe-s than others. To form a suite, the artists will select appropriate gushe-s, along with classical poetry, improvised elements or original compositions. Some gushe-s are always present in a classical rendition, whereas others are less common; the order within the suite is also pre-determined, to some extent. Some gushe-s and compositions have specific rhythms, while others do not; the percussion accompanist will take part in some sections but not in others, and generally supports the main artist. Part of the artistry is to make smooth transitions between gushe-s.

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