Source: Iran Review
Despite all common roots the folk music in each different part of Iran has certain characteristics in correlation with its native myths, dialects, geographical and social situation. Overall, Iranian folk music features a variety of distinct styles.
The modal concepts in Iranian folk music are directly linked with that of the Iranian classical music. However, improvisation plays a minor role as folk tunes are characterized by relatively clear-cut melodic and rhythmic properties. The function of each folk melody determines its mood. The varying aesthetic requirements of wedding songs, lullabies, love songs, harvest songs, dance pieces, etc., are met with transparent and appropriate simplicity. The majority of the classical instruments are too elaborate and difficult for the folk musicians. Instead, there are literally dozens of musical instruments of various sorts found among the rural people. In fact, each region of the country can boast instruments peculiar to itself. Three types of instruments, however, are common to all parts of the country. They are, a kind of shawm called Surnay (or Sorna ~ Zorna), the various types of Ney (flute), and the Dohol, a doubleheader drum.
A discussion of Persian music must necessarily include the new hybrid of mixed Persian-Western music which is functioning as a popular-commercial music. The use of western popular rhythms, an elementary harmonic superimposition, and relatively large ensembles composed of mostly western instruments, characterize this music.
The melodic and modal aspects of these compositions maintain basically Persian elements. On the whole, it would be something of an understatement to say that the artistic merit of such a melange as this is rather questionable.
Iran is home to several ethnic groups, including Kurdish, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Assyrian, Bakhtiari and Baluchi peoples. Turkmen epic poets similar to Central Asian musicians are common in Khorasan, while Kurdish music and Music of Armenia is known for its double-reed duduk and an earthy, dance-oriented sound. The most famous personalities in Iranian folk music are Pari Zangeneh and Sima Bina.
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