In this 268-page work written in English, Fallahzadeh has tried to map
the development of Persian writings on music, focusing on their various
approaches and variations of topics from the beginning of the 11th century to
the end of the 15th century which can be called the classical period of Persian
writings on music. According to the author, the rise of Persian musical
literature as a part of Persian learned literature was a result of the political
and cultural decentralization of the Abbasid Caliphates.
important conclusions to be drawn from the study are that we can distinguish
between two main approaches in Persian writings on music, i.e. the religious and
non-religious approaches," says Mehrdad Fallahzadeh, "We can identify five
different stages in the development of the genre between 1000 and 1500, 1) the
initial period: ca 1000-1110; 2) the first intermezzo: ca 1110 up to 1175; 3)
the period of establishment: ca 1175-1299; 4) the first Golden Age of the genre:
ca 1300-1435; 5) the second intermezzo: ca 1435-1500."
The book begins
with the transliteration system, a list of transliterations and abbreviations
used in the work. In the introduction, the scope of the work and the author's
purpose and method are explained. The author in the introduction points out that
although a number of scholars such as Mohammad-Taghi Daneshpazhuh, Taghi Binesh,
Mohammad-Taghi Massoudieh and A. Monzavi, have tried to draw our attentions to
this literary heritage over the past forty years, nobody knows how many
treatises and works have been lost or are still lying unpublished somewhere in
private libraries hidden from sight.
In "Persian Writing on Music"
almost fifty treatises and works (both separate treatises and works which are
parts of a larger work on music) have been presented and treated. Numerous
catalogues published by different libraries and institutions have been studied
in this book. However, three catalogues, i.e. Massoudieh's catalogue (1996) in
French, published in München; Monzavi's (1972) and Daneshpazhuh's (1970)
catalogues, have had particular significance for the work. The author notes that
almost all studies and researches in this field were done by Persian scholars.
The only scholar outside the borders of Persia
(Iran) who has tried to introduce some Persian works on
music is Storey. In his work "Persian literature: A bio-bibliographical survey"
(Storey 1977), he introduces briefly some 47 Persian writings on music.
In the first chapter of the book the author tries to find the possible
roots of Persian writings on music in the ancient world. Each chapter from the
second to the sixth chapter has been divided into two sections. In the first
section of each chapter, cultural, social, political, religious and economic
circumstances that either directly or indirectly have an impact on the
development of this genre of learned literature have been discussed. In the
second section, biographies of authors and their works have been presented.
Detailed analysis of the works and deeper discussions of them have been
presented in the last chapter (the seventh chapter) of the book.
last part of the book consists of five appendixes, a bibliography and an index.
Mehrdad Fallahzadeh, the author of the book, was born in 1961 in Tehran.
He began his musical education in piano in Tehran Conservatory of Music when he
was ten years old. His piano teachers were Farideh Behboud and later Aghdas
Pourtorab. During his early years at high school, he began to study composition
with Mostafa-Kamal Pourtorab. He got his diploma in music from the Tehran
Conservatory in 1979 and continued his higher education there with Karim
With the beginning of the "cultural revolution" in 1980 and
the closure of Tehran Conservatory, Mehrdad Fallahzadeh began to teach in
private music schools. After a while he left his country and settled in Sweden
in 1988. He continued his musical education in Sweden, first at the department
of musicology of Göteborg University and later in Uppsala University in courses
in musicology, composition and music anthropology. Mehrdad got his MA in
musicology from Uppsala University with his thesis under the title of "The
Impact of European music on Persian art music during the second half of the 19th
century and the first quarter of the 20th century". He obtained his PhD in
Iranian (Persian) Studies in Uppsala University in 2000. Under the supervision
of Prof. Bo Utas, he chose Persian musical literature as the subject of his PhD
dissertation. Mehrdad Fallahzadeh defended his dissertation and obtained his PhD
from Uppsala University in 2005.
author: Pejman Akbarzadeh is a 26-year old pianist, researcher
and a member of 'Artists Without Frontiers' in Tehran. He is author of "Persian
Musicians" which is about the artistic activities and
works of 20th century musicians of Persia (Iran) and was cited as "an honor to
Persian musicological circles" in the Maryland-based "Iranian Musicology