O sole mio :-)

Les Sœurs Dalmasso
Saga Italienne


01. La mamma
02. Torna a Surriento
03. Una canzone per te
04. Portami tante rose
05. Ai Maria
06. Violino tzigano
07. Tarentelle
08. La strada del bosco
09. Brasilia
10. Vivere
11. O sole mio


Les Sœurs Dalmasso:

Suzel Zajac Dalmasso (Voix)
Linette Dalmasso (Accordéon, Voix)
Pierrine Zajac Dalmasso (Violon)


Dominique Cravic (Guitare)
Robert Santiago (Accordéon diatonique)

Enregistrement 2003-2004




 Utterly charming music from another era, 
from sisters with a tale to tell.



 read it all


Tar: The Traditional Style

Musâ Ma'rufi
Yahyâ Zarpanje 

Musâ Ma'rufi

01. Avaz e Bayat e Kord
02. Dastgah e Homayoun
03. Dastgah e Mahoor

Yahyâ Zarpanje

04. Dastgah e Shur
05. Avaz e Afshari
06. Avaz e Afshari Zarbi
07. Avaz e Bayat e Tork
08. Avaz e Esfahan Pishdaramad & Reng
09. Avaz e Esfahan
10. Dastgah e Mahoor Sorud e Vatan
11. Dastgah e Mahoor, Pt. I
12. Dastgah e Mahoor, Pt. 2
13. Dastgah e Mahoor Tasnif e Be Gardesh




Musa Khan Maroufi was one of the masters of Tar in the late 19th century. 
This recording features master Musa Khan along with another master musician Yahya Zarpanjeh on Tar. The recoding features several sections (Goushehs) of various Radifs and some old songs by master NeyDavoud and Amir Jahed. 
Musâ Ma'rufi

Musa Marufi was born in 1897 to a wealthy family. He began his music studies using a piano at his house, and then studied tar with Aqa Hoseyn-Qoli. After the death of his master he joined in Darvish Khan classes when he was 30.

He had several courses on radif with Darvish Khan and graduated by receiving the Golden Halberd, a medal donated by Darvish Khan to his top students.

As early as High School of Music was founded by Ali-Naqi Vaziri (1923) he joined as a tar player to its orchestra, already joined by H. Gol-e Golab, M.-H. Adib, H. Saba, E. Mehrtash, and M.-S. Arbabi. He then became the tar master of Military School of Music which was active until 1934.
In 1965 Musa Marufi transcribed complete set of dastgahs of Persian classical music. It was published as Radif of Seven Dastgahs of Persian Music, with an introduction by Mehdi Barkeshli. This was a major contribution and largely helped to preserve the musical legacy of Persian classical music.

Yahyâ Zarpanjeh

Yahya Zarpanje was born in 1897 in Tehran. His father was a singer and dayere player. The profession of his family was music, and Yahya first studies with his brother Musa Khan, and for completing his studies went by Darvish Khan and became a professional tar player. Yahya was amongst the best players emerging from Tehran Jewish community. Due to his talents and interests he practiced hard and gain virtuosity. His plucking was rapid and strong, and his finger-work on the bass string was exemplary. To get skilled he even practiced with rough strings and on poor instruments. He was an expert in radif, and amongst dastgahs he regarded Shur as the most complete.

Yahya founded his own classes and trained several pupils, and recorded some of his performances. Among them a tasnif record composed by Morteza neydavud to lyrics by Ahmad Bakhtyari, presently held in the archives of Tehran Radio Corporation. Another famous recording is his Mahur. He died in 1932.


Day & Night

Hossein Omoumi
Kia Tabasian
Zia Tabasian
Abolhassan Sabâ
Great Mediterranean Composers


First part (dastgah-e Segah and Nava)

01. Daramad-e Segah
02. Samani
03. Zabol
04. Bahar-mast
05. Kereshmeh and Mouyeh
06. Mokhalef
07. Masnavi-ye Segah modulated to Nava
08. Shesh zarbi-e Nahoft
09. Chahar mezrab-e Nava

Second part (Avaz-e Bayat-e Tork and Afshari)

10. Do zarbi-ye Bayat-e tork
11. Chahar Mezrab-e Bayat-e tork
12. Feyli
13. Shekasteh
14. modulated to Afshari
15. Raghs-e chupi
16. Ghara-ii
17. Daramad-e Dashti
18. Zard-e malijeh
19. Gilaki20.Karevan
21. Deylaman
22. Pacheh leyli
23. Reng-e Dashti

Ney and Vocals: Hossein Omoumi
Setar: Kiya Tabassian
Tonbak: Ziya Tabassian





Ostad Abolhasan Saba performing SetarIf there are a few artists who have heavily influenced the twentieth century Persian classical music by their work and style, Abolhasan Saba is for sure one of them.

More than fifty years after his death this multi-instrumentalist, composer, researcher and master of Radif (the Persian Classical Repertoire) continues to pour vitality and freshness through his important contributions.

Saba was born in Tehran at the turn of the Century, in November 17th, 1902 into a family that had for long embraced music and literature by tradition. His familiarity with music began when learning the basics of Setar from his father Kamal ol Saltaneh and Tombak from his aunt's maid. He finished school at the American College of Tehran (later called Alborz) and let his ever growing desire of studying music to be fulfilled by attending, nothing less than the courses of the greatest masters of the Persian Classical Music of the moment: Mirza Abdollah Farahani for Setar, Darvish Khan for Tar, Hossein Esmail Zadeh for Kamancheh, Hossein Hang Afarin for Violin, Ali Akbar Shahi for Santoor and Haji Khan for Tombak.

In 1923, as Colonel Ali Naghi Vaziri founded his Superior School of Music, Saba was one of the first students attending Violin courses and even becoming part of the Vaziri Orchestra as the first Violin. But according to Sasan Sepanta (Persian Music specialist and historian) in his Perspective of Music in Iran, Vaziri had to convince young Abolhasan’s father to let him enter his School, amidst an atmosphere of fierce opposition to the foundation of the institution (Many cultivated spheres would consider Vaziri’s views as being too much of a Western style and opposed the creation of the school).

Saba was soon to become one of Vaziri’s favorite students and assistants, learning fast the secrets of Violin and the theory of European Classical Music. Quite naturally in 1929, the Colonel appointed him as the head of the School of Fine Arts (Conservatory) in the Caspian city of Rasht. Indeed, no need to insist on the fact that this was a dreamed position for Saba, as he would have been able to resume research and collection of folkloric music and melodies of the regions of Gilan and Mazandaran. Later he composed numerous classical melodies based on those researches including famous “Zard e Malijeh”, “Koohestani”, “Deylaman” and “Tabari”, most of them in Avaz e Dashti or Avaz e Bayat e Tork modes.

read it all here


Nightly pasture...

O Skáros
Musiques pour flûtes



La tradition de la flûte du Pont

01. Láhana (Vegetables) - Kleántis Papadópoulos - 1:42
02. Dipát - Kleántis Papadópoulos - 1:52

Bergers dans les pâturages

03. Péra s'ekíno to vounó (On the opposite mountain) - Konstantinos Kostas - 2:15
04. Karagoúna - Konstantinos Kostas - 2:12
05. Vláhiko - Dimítrios Troúphas - 1:51
06. O tsobánis pou éhase ta próvata (The shepherd who lost his sheep) - Panayótis Molihetoúdis - 3:01
07. O skáros (Nightly pasture) - Dimítrios Troúphas - 1:23
08. O skáros I - Konstantinos Kostas - 3:26
09. San skáros - Kóstas Zoúkas & Geórgios Sárros - 2:12
10. O skáros II - Nikoláos Hleboyiánnis - 1:56
11. Ya ta próvata (To the sheep) - Geórgios Photiádis - 0:32
12. Ya ta próvata - Dimítrios Troúphas - 1:31

Le berger, musicien de la communauté villageoise

13. Kálanta Protohroniás (New year collection song) - Yórgos Saráphis - 0:46
14. Païdoúskino - Athanásios Dískos - 2:11
15. Zonarádiko - Kleánthis Papadópoulos & Ioánnis Savídis - 1:22
16. Skopós Évias - Yánnis Mastroyánnis - 1:48
17. Tsámikos I - Theophánis Drósos - 1:19
18. Tsámikos II - Ilías Koumokís i Periyís - 1:08
19. Tsámikos III - Evángelos Salterís - 2:32
20. Syrtós - Evángelos Salterís - 1:11
21. Levantínikos horós Zakýnthou - Dionísios Yiatrás i Poúros - 1:34
22. Païdoúska I - Antónios Triantaphýllou - 1:46
23. Païdoúska II - Athanásios Dolapsóglou - 1:12
24. Païdoúska III - Kleánthis Papadópoulos - 1:15
25. Tsestós or Često - Athanásios Dolapsóglou - 2:23
26. Tou trapezioú - Athanásios Dolapsóglou - 1:45

Le berger conteur

27. O Menoúsis I - Dimítrios Troúphas - 1:55
28. O Menoúsis II - Athansios Dískos - 1:11
29. Erotókritos - Manólis Pharagoulitákis - 2:25
30. Kléphtiko - Konstantiínos Kóstas - 2:42
31. Or'Toúrki, kratáte - Dimítrios Troúphas - 2:07
32. Mána me ta pollá pediá (The mother with many children) - Dimítrios Troúphas - 1:29
33. I Gólpho - Theophánis Drósos - 1:10
34. Bíkan ta yídia sto mandrí (The goats rush towards the stable) - Konstantinos Kostas - 2:33

Les minorités au pays des bergers
35. Një vajze një kopile - Dimítrios Kakoúros - 2:11
36. Rra kambana Papandisë (It tolls, the bell of Papandis) - Dimítrios Kakoúros - 1:22
37. Tha të lan të hënënë - Nikoláos Ikonómou - 1:42
38. Mes' sto yidomandrí (In the middle of the goat pen) - Nikoláos Skopákis - 0:48
39. Karapatáki - Dimítrios Troúphas - 1:34
40. To éndeka (Eleven) - Kleánthis Papadópoulos - 1:32



About the recording

 The floyéra, an end-blown ductless flute traditionally made of cane, wood, bronze or bone, and the sourávli, an end-blown duct flute of the same materials, were until recent years among the most common aerophones of rural Greece, similar to folk flutes found throughout the Balkans and West Asia. Typically associated with shepherds, they have appeared throughout the Greek mainland and islands under a bewildering variety of names. Regrettably, these traditions are disappearing as flute masters lack disciples to continue the practice.

Fortunately, Wolf Dietrich has assembled this impressive and comprehensive collection of performances, providing an aural record of the diverse textures, idioms, and instruments in traditional rural Greek flute music. The forty high-quality recordings include excellent performances of dance songs, songs of the table, laments, calendrical songs, and a variety of other genres from around the Greek mainland, the Cycladic and Ionian island groups and Crete, as well as the Pontus region of Turkey; even the Arvanites, Vlach, and Sarakatsan minorities are represented. All the pieces feature the floyéra or the sourcivli either in solo performances or as part of traditional ensembles with other instruments.

For each recording, the notes identify song type, performers, instrumentation, date and location of the recording, as well as information about song texts and the local use and function of the pieces. A few errors in track descriptions should be noted: the tzamára and kaváli, larger versions of the floyéra heard in a number of the recordings, are not side-blown, as the English notes state, but end-blown and played at an oblique angle; the double flute souvliári is mistakenly categorized as a double-reed; and the home village of the renowned Cretan bagpipe and flute player Manolis Faragoulitakis should be correctly identified as Vorizia in the Irakleion prefecture.

This post is dedicated to my friend on the hill...

who sees the sun going down
and the eyes in his head
see the world spinning around...



Tonbak & Tar

The Art Of Improvisiation -
Pouyan Biglar - Tar
Sina Khoshk Bijari - Tonbak

Tehran. 2013
پویان بیگلر : تار
سینا خشک بیجاری : تنبک


shut up and listen... :-)



Tar sweet Tar (Duo for Tar & Tonbak)

Pouyan Biglar & Saeid Jalalian
Ashk Afshan


01. Pishdaramad - 7:44
02. Daramad - 2:26
03. Chaharmezrab - 5:15
04. Jamedaran, Bayat Raje - 3:57
05. Zarbi Bayat Raje - 4:40
06. Araq - 3:12
07. Zarbi Araq - 5:39
08. Edameh-ye-Raje - 1:06
09. Zarbi Ouj o Forud - 6:00





پویان بیگلر
متولد 1361 همدان
دوره ابتدایی :نزد آقایان سیاوش دیهیمی و داریوش زرگری
دوره متوسط :نزد آقایان رضا وهدانی ، ارشد تهماسبی
ورود به هنرستان موسیقی و اخذ مدرک کارشناسی نوازندگی ساز ایرانی
دوره عالی : در محضر استادان داریوش طلائی ، محمد رضا لطفی
ورود به دانشگاه هنر و اخذ مدرک کارشناسی ارشد و استفاده از محضر استاد شریف لطفی ، محسن حجاریان ،
اجرای کنسرتهای پژوهشی همراه با داریوش طلایی ( تالار رودکی) ، اجرا ی کنسرت دشتی همراه با گروه همنوازان شیدا و سرپرستی استاد محمد رضا لطفی (تالار بزرگ کشور) ، اجرا کنسرت سپیده همراه با گروه همنوازان شیدا و سرپرستی محمد رضا لطفی (تالار بزرگ کشور) ، همکاری در پروژه سیمرغ همراه با محمد رضا درویشی ، حمید متبسم و همایون شجریان ( باشگاه انقلاب) ، و اجرا کنسرتهای مختلف در داخل و خارج از کشور .کنسرت خانه غریب در تالار وحدت به همراهی وحید تاج و گروه همنوازان نی داوود.
آلبوم ها
همکاری در آلبوم وطنم ایران همراه گروه شیدا به سرپرستی محمدرضا لطفی به خوانندگی محمد معتمدی به شکل صوتی و تصویری
همکاری در آلبوم تصویری سپیده به همراهی گروه شیدا به سرپرستی محمدرضا لطفی و به خوانندگی محمد معتمدی
همکاری در آلبوم یادواره عارف قزوینی گروه شیدا به سرپرستی محمد رضا لطفی به خوانندگی محمد معتمدی
همکاری در آلبوم سیمرغ همراه با حمید متبسم و همایون شجریان
ساخت و سرپرستی آلبوم خانه غریب به خوانندگی وحید تاج (اثربرگزیده جشن خانه ی موسیقی در سال ۱۳۹۰)
ساخت و سرپرستی آلبوم سوگ بهار به خوانندگی علیرضا شاه محمدی
بداهه نوازی در آواز بیات اصفهان اشک افشان به همراهی تنبک سعید جلالیان
سفر خاموش بداهه نوازی همراه با تنبک پژمان حدادی
سرپرستی آلبوم می فروشان به خوانندگی علیرضا شاه محمدی ، اجرای تصانیف قدیمی
سرپرستی و تکنوازی در آلبوم یادواره شیدا و عارف 1 اصفهان و ابوعطا
سرپرستی و تکنوازی در آلبوم یادواره شیدا و عارف 2 ، ماهور
ساخت موسیقی چند فیلم کوتاه و مستند
ساخت قطعه انسانم آرزوست به خوانندگی وحید تاج به سفارش کمیته ملی المپیک به مناسبت افتتاح المپیک 2008 پکن
فعالیت های آموزشی
تدریس در مراکز دانشگاهی در ایران مانند داشنگاه علمی کاربردی و ...
مدیر موسسه موسسه فرهنگی – هنری بسته نگار 


Sweet Tar : )


Canon of Qanun (5)

Elie Achkar
Moyen-Orient: Chants Qanun
Middle East: Qanun Songs


01. Rêves a Baalbek
02. Nocturnes
03. Ivresse Orientale
04. Nostalgies
05. Carthage Éternel
06. Songes d'Autrefois
07. Parfums Tziganes
08. Ombre des Pyramides




 Elie Achkar one of the greatest Kanunists from Lebanon ...

... in Paris, France where Elie Achkar is a well-known concert performer, conductor and music promoter.

Elie Achkar. The Conductor

One of the most respected  virtuoso of Qanun playing in the Arab world. The Lebanese Elie Achkar  has learnt the musical craft at the hand of the master Sabsabi. He took part in several festivals in France and Europe and was in the Fairuz ensemble between 1973- to 1979. He also accompanied the great Wadie Al-Safi as well as leading voices such as Lotfi Bouchnak and the trumpet supremo Nassim Maalouf. His collaborations include the diva singer Safo for whom he worked as artistic director and composer creating a touring project inspired from the universe of the legend Oum Kaltoum.

He was the recipient of the prestigious  Said Akl prize for innovation in the fields of arts and literature in 2003. Achkar has written several books and essays on Arab classical music and is about to finalise his PHD on Ethnomusicology in Paris IV university.

Elie Achkar is a regular conductor at the Arab World Institute in Paris. He created and directed a successful season for the diaspora and the non Arabs called Fairuziates.

Naziah Meftah would rarely perform without Elie  and when it comes to interpreting  Fairuz . Asked why this connection and bound Naziha has one answer: ‘’ He is authentic and knows the uplifting  of an atmosphere that is dazzling, soulful and in fact reminiscent of the legend herself. He is connoisseur and had this privilege to  perform with her for so many years. There is something as close to her as you can get by having  Elie among us . ‘’ 



Canon of Qanun (4)

Hassan Elgharbi
Mohammed El Akkad
Le Qanoun Enchanté
Solos de Cithare


Hassan Elgharbi:

01 - Chiraz [11:27] Ochaq, Rasd, Hidjaz kar, Rasd-dhil, Nekriz
02 - Bayati [5:09] Hsine, Berouel
03 - Hidjaz [6:57] Asbaïne, Dhikra
04 - Improvisiations [11:51] Raw'a, Nahawend, Mhayer Sika, Maa Elasr, Lami
05 - Taqassims [8:38] Jaharka, Mezmoum, Ya Faiza, Zengrane

Mohammed El-Akkad:

06 - Taqsim Higaz Kar ala Elwahda [5:54]
07 - Bachraf Suzdellara [6:51]




Tunisian Elgharbi Hassan, Hasan al-Gharbi or حسن الغربي, is one of the most famous qānūnīīn in the twentieth century (he died in the 1990th). 

Hassan Elgharbi, Hasan al-garbī o حسن الغربي (el occidental, por su origen tunecino) es uno de los más célebres qānūnīīn del siglo XX (murió en los '90). Fue cocinero antes de sastre, es decir, luthier antes que qānūnī. Para los aficionados, si se quiere situarlo mejor, podemos decir que fue uno de los maestros del afamado Julien Jalal ed-Din Weiss, qānūnī y director de al-Kindī. 

El disco se completa con grabaciones de principios de siglo (XX) a cargo de Mohammed Elakkad.

Muḥammad Al-Aqqād

source of the pic and more to listen to...  



Canon of Qanun (3)

Masters of Qânun
Qânun Playing in
Contemporary Period


01. Dastgah-E Shur - Jalal Qanuni & Manuchehr Shirazi - 1:35
02. Avaz-E Dashti - Jalal Qanuni - 11:55
03. Interview with Jalal Qanuni - Jalal Qanuni - 9:53
04. Dastgah-E Segah - Jalal Qanuni - 3:22
05. Dastgah-E Homayoun - Jalal Qanuni - 6:24
06. Avaz-E Bayat-E Esfahan - Mehdi Meftah - 12:01
07. Dastgah-E Segah, Pt. 2 - Akbar Sodeyf - 3:32
08. Avaz-E Nayat-E Esfahan - Simin Aqarazi - 5:09
09. Avaz-E Shushtari - Simin Aqarazi - 3:08
10. Pishdaramad Bayat-E Esfahan - Simin Aqarazi - 2:38
11. Avaz-E Bayat-E Esfahan, Pt. 2 - Simin Aqarazi - 1:50
12. Dastgah-E Mahoor - Maliheh Saeedi - 4:51
13. Avaz Bayat-E Esfahan - Maliheh Saeedi - 3:52
14. Avaz Bayat-E Esfahan, Pt. 2 - Maliheh Saeedi - 1:39


Compilation & Accompanying notes by
Malihe Saeidi

Qânun Introduction

Qânun is a right-trapezoid-shaped, plucked musical instrument. Materials used in the construction of qânun are wood, bone, gut, metal etc. Qânun belongs to the chordophone class of instruments, and since the strings are all played open—i.e. there are no frets and fingerings—a player has the possibility of plucking multiple strings at the same time.

In his book, Modâvemat Dar Osul-e Musiqi-ye Iran (Consistency in Iran’s music principals) (p. 103), Mehdi Forugh writes [Abd-ol-Qâder] Ebn-e Gheibi believes that it was Plato who invented qânun, while others consider it to be Fârâbi’s invention. The writer of Kanz-al-tohaf is the only person who extensively talks about qânun, mentioning that the depth of its box should be a little more than ten centimeters and it should be made out of grapevine wood […] the number of strings are 74, while Ebn-e Gheibi says it is 72 Although there are several theories and hypotheses about qânun’s origin and history, one thing is for sure: it goes way back. The oldest document about qânun and similar instruments are Assyrian carvings. Apparently, due to restrictions that were put on music, playing qânun was abandoned only after Timurid era, because towards the end of Timurid dynasty and in the early Safavid, there had been many well-known and celebrated players. In his book Badâye’ al-Vaqâye’, Zein-al-Din Mahmoud Vâsefi, 15th century scientist and musician, has referred to a number of renowned qânun players.

In works of Safavid era, there are two images showing a qânun player performing in paintings of Chehel-Sotun palace in Esfahan It was only c. 1892 that qânun returned to Iran by Rahim Qânuni who then had studied the instrument under great Arab masters of Basra, Baghdad, Syria and Egypt.

source & more to read :)

Malihe Sa'idi
Qanun Players

Rahim Qânuni (1905-1944), Shiraz, according to Hâshem Qânuni, son of Rahim (1875-1935), Shiraz. He learned music from his father. In the age of 16 or 17, he traveled to Basra, Baghdâd, Syria and Egypt to learn qânun and in a specific period he was the only player of the instrument in Iran. He had some pupils and traveled from Shiraz to Tehran a few times. Qânuni and Atâ'ollâh Zâhed performed a number of live programs in Radio Tehran.

Jalâl Qânuni (1900-1983), Shiraz, according to Nejât Qânuni, born 1906, Shiraz. He started learning the instrument from his father at the age of fifteen. He was considered to be the best player of the instrument after his father. He performed in Radio Tehran several times and a number of his recordings are still available.
Performances of Jalâl Qânuni on this compilation are made available to us by his son Nejât, to whom we express our gratitude.

Mehdi Meftâh (1911-1996), Tehran. Also a skillful violin player, he was the first writer/teacher of methodical playing of qânun in the National School of Music. His writings and recordings on teaching of violin and qânun are available. Meftâh's best-known students are Simin Âqârazi and Malihe Sa'idi.

Akbar Sodeyf (b. 1939), Tehran, started playing the flute at the age of fourteen. He spent two years at Mehdi Meftâh's open courses learning qânun and continued studying under Jalâl Qânuni. Sodeyf began his professional career with Radio Tehran's orchestras led by Abbâs Shâpuri, Homâyoun Khorram, Anushiravân Rohâni, among others. He moved to the United States to study and now lives in Texas.

Simin Âqârazi Dormani (1938-2009), Tehran, received her diploma from National School of Music, where her first instrument was violin and qânun her second. She was employed at the Ministry of Art and Culture. Simin had worked with various art groups. One solo performance of her has remained, which was recorded in the 1980's.

Malihe Sa'idi (b. 1948), Tehran. In addition to playing qânun, she is a researcher, teacher, composer and writer. She used to be the head teacher of girl's conservatory. She started learning tombak at the age of four. She was graduated from the National School of Music in both classical and Persian styles of violin-playing when Hosein Dehlavi was the head of the school. In 1976 she was graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Tehran University in field of music. In 2002 she was titled with the highest artistic rank from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

Malihe Sa'idi learned violin, alto, piano, qeychak and qânun while studying at the Art School and University but chose qânun as her first instrument. In conservatory, she studied the instrument under Mehdi Meftâh as her second instrument and then began teaching it in the National School of Music. In the Center for Proliferation and Preservation of Music, she had the opportunity to study the different aspects of Persian music under great masters such as Dâryoush Safvat, Nur-Ali Borumand, Mahmoud Karimi, Yusef Forutan and Sa'id Hormozi. She then incorporated what she learned from these accomplished masters into her style.
 Malihe Sa'idi is the first musician who plays qânun in an entirely Persian style and her strenuous efforts to improve the quality of playing has attracted so much attention to the instrument that it is now widely chosen as a first instrument at music schools and students can gain a diploma certificate for playing the instrument. In music universities, students can attend specialty courses of qânun and a master's degree of the instrument can be granted. After twenty two years of research, Sa'idi wrote the first book on teaching qânun. The first volume of this method was published in 1990. She is now teaching qânun at Bachelor's degree at the Music Conservatory (Faculty of Applied Science and Technology) and also is the leader of Neyriz music group.


The qanun is a descendent of the old Egyptian harp. It has played an integral part in Arabic music since the 10th century. The word qanun means 'law' in Arabic, and the word exists in English in the form of "canon." The qanun was introduced to Europe by the 12th Century, becoming known during the 14th to the 16th Century as a psaltery or zither. the qanun also resembles a dulcimer.

The form of the qanun consists of a trapezoid-shaped flat board over which 81 strings are stretched in groups of three with 24 treble chords consisting of three chords to each note. The instrument is placed flat on the knees or table of the musician; the strings are plucked with the finger or with two plectra, one plectrum attached to the forefinger of each hand. A long bridge on the right-hand side of the instrument rests on goat (or fish) skin covered windows in the top of the instrument; on the left hand side, each course of strings passes over a series of small brass levers that are used to make microtonal changes in pitch.

Since the qanun only includes 8 notes (groups of 3 strings) per octave, the player initially sets the levers to create the scale of the starting maqam. when the player needs to modulate to another maqam, they need to switch some levers back and forth with the left hand while playing with the right hand. Quick modulation can also be achieved by using the fingernail of the left thumb to temporarily raise the tuning of some strings.

In Arabic music, the instrument lays down the law of pitch for other instruments and singers.

Masters of the qanun: Muhammad El 'Aqqad (Egypt), Abraham Salman (Iraq).




Canon of Qanun (2)

Soliman Gamil   
L'Art Du Kanoun Egyptien



1. Improvisation traditionnelle - 5:38
2. Improvisation libre - 3:02
3. Variation sur le thème folklorique 'Atshan ya Sabaya' - 6:52
4. Variation sur le thème traditionnel 'Ah ya Zein' - 6:20
Suite folklorique: 
 5. Dialogue sufi entre qanun, luth, tabla - 5:19
6. La Nubie (Rhythme Nubien Et Tonalité Pentatonique) - 5:29
7.  Dialogue qanun, nay, clarinette, arghul, miamar - 7:31
8. Dialogue qanun, hautbois et flûte traversière - 1:22
 Soliman Gamil - Qanun
Troupe de la Musique Folkorique Egyptienne



"The Egyptian composer Soliman Gamil is also an instrumentalist. He studied the theory of Arab music and learned to play the qanun at the Institute of Arab Music in Cairo (1941-1945), whilst also working on composition. He is a member of the International Society of Musicologists and now lives in Switzerland. In 1969, he founded the Egyptian Folk Music Troupe for the Swiss Ministry of Culture."

Soliman Gamil was a musicologist and composer who lived and worked in Cairo, Egypt. Born in 1924, his soundtracks for theatre and film have won international awards. His compositions are frequently used for radio and television. Soliman Gamil died in 1994. 


Soliman Gamil (Arabic: سليمان جميل‎; b. Alexandria, Egypt, December 24, 1924; died June 13, 1994) was an Egyptian composer and qanun player. In 1963 he began to experiment with the use of Egyptian traditional musical instruments in his compositions for films and theater, in an effort to evoke the sounds of Ancient Egypt.

He also wrote about music for the Al-Ahram newspaper.


Canon of Qanun (1)

East Mediterranean 
Musical Instruments
Egypt, Syria, Liban, Turkey, Greece

01 - Mostafa Masri - Bayati Taqsim And Samai (El-Aryane)
02 - Samer Hamdan - Nahawant Taqsim And Folk Danse
03 - George Hakim - Rast Taqsim And Doulab
04 - Husein Unal - Hicaz Taksim And Pesrev (Veli Dede)
05 - Husein Unal - Huzzam Taqsim And Pesrev
06 - Husein Unal - Rast Takisim And Metal (Ali Rifat Bey)
07 - Petros Tabouris - Ballos
08 - Petros Tabouris - Yenovefa
09 - Petros Tabouris - Kalamatianos
10 - Petros Tabouris - Rast Zeibekikos
11 - Petros Tabouris - Hasapikos

Egypt - Mostafa Masri - Syria - Samer Hamdan
Lebanon - George Hakim - Turkey - Husein Unal
Greece - Petros Tabouris




The kanun (Arabic: قانون‎, qānūn, pl. qawānīn; Greek: κανονάκι, kanonaki; Armenian: քանոն, k’anon; Persian: قانون‎, qānūn; Azerbaijani: qanun; Turkish: kanun) is a string instrument played in much of the Middle East, Central Asia, and southeastern Europe. The name derives from the Arabic word kānun, which means "rule, norm, principle" itself from ancient Greek 'κανών' rule. Its traditional music is based on maqamat. It is a type of large zither with a narrow trapezoidal soundboard. Nylon or PVC strings are stretched over a single bridge poised on fish-skins on one end, attached to tuning pegs at the other end...

 Folk instruments of Greece: 
Kanonaki (Kanoun)

The origins of this fascinating instrument are found in Asia, many centuries before the Classical Greek Era. It was then known by the name of PSALTIRION. However, it is believed that KANONAKI owes its name to Pythagoras , the great Greek Mathematician who was a musician as well, and who observed, as it is said, the harmony of stars. As an experiment, he produced a basic musical instrument, a monochord (only one string), the "kanon" which he divided into seven spaces. We do not exactly know when the PSALTIRION was named KANONAKI. It's very probable though that this happened with the growth of Islam and the contact of Arabs and Turks with the people of Europe.

We find similar instruments under the names of triangle psaltirion, magadis, epigonion, simikion etc. in written sources of Classical Greece, but there is not a definite evidence whether they are the same PSALTIRION. On the opposite, in Byzantine and Metabyzantine years there is plenty of visual information about it in illustrated manuscripts and wall paintings in churches.

About Qanuns

قانون (Qanun) means "law" in Arabic and probably derives it's name from the Greek "κανών"(Kanon) meaning "rule".  It was most likely given the name because in traditional ensembles it lays down the law of pitch for the other instruents and the singer.  The Qanun is known to have been a part of Middle Eastern music since at least the 10th century.  It's widely believed to have descended from the ancient Egyptian arched harp.  Altough it's exact origination is not known there are local legends attributing it's creation to Ibn Al-Farabi.  Farabi was a philosopher born in a village called Wasij (near Farab, Turkistan) in 870.  Al-Farabi wrote a rather extensive ammount on music theory in both Arab and Persian classical music.  His works include a book titled 'Kitab al-Musiqa al-Kabir (Book of Great Music)' and a treatise on therapy called 'Meanings of the Intellect' which addressed music as a form of therapy.  He was know to have played and invented several instruments and was such an accomplished player he could make his audience laugh or cry at will...



The art of the Buzuq (3)

Ali Jihad Racy
Simon Shaheen
Improvisation in Arab Music


1. Maqam Kurd 20:20
2. Maqam Nahawand 13:10
3. Maqam Bayyati 8:53


Ali Jihad Racy: buzuq
Simon Shaheen: 'ud




 The Art Of Improvisation in Arabic Music, with Ali Jihad Racy, Buzuq, and world famous Simon Shaheen, Ud. Two virtuosos perform extended, magnificent improvisation.

This album retains its special place, despite Ali Jihad Racy's later recital.

Taqasim (the plural of taqsim) are extended, non-metrical instrumental improvisations. This collection of three such pieces features Simon Shaheen on 'ud and Racy on buzuq, offering a rare opportunity to hear the sublime, at times feverish, interactions of two virtuoso performers.


Taqasim is an exceptional recording issued by Lyrichord Records of improvisations by two masterful musicians, buzuq player Ali Jihad Racy and oud performer Simon Shaheen.  This 1991 album is said to be the first instance of these two instruments paired together and the three tracks, "Magam Kurd;" "Maqam Nahawand;" and "Maqam Bayyati" feature phenomenal playing as the men alternate solos building upon a melody on their respective instruments, demonstrating both exceptional speed and control as well as wonderful melodic invention.

Generally, taqasim have been employed in supportive roles in Arabic music performances, either as introductory to a song or as a connective bridge between two parts of a larger suite.  In some cases, longer taqasim performances have been demonstrated, although the constraints of modern recording limited its availability in that format.  With this record, however, the opening "maqam" or melodic development, is 20 minutes long, while the remaining two are 13 and 9 minutes, respectively.  In any case, listening to these two masters "duel" with their exceptional soloing makes the time go by so quickly.

Of note is the way in which Racy and Shaheen build off the melodic theme, using four-note tetrachords of varying scales and pitches to modulate from one maqam or melodic mode to another.  So, while there is a defined structure with the tetrachords as established within the maqam, the skilled improviser has a great deal of freedom in creating those modulations.

The names of the pieces are, in fact, the monikers given for tetrachords, that is, the "Kurd;" "Nahawand;" and "Bayyati" are tetrachord types which define how Racy and Shaheen craft their interpretations.   The Nahawand, for example, is roughly analogous to the first four notes of a minor scale in classical music in the West.  The "Kurd" generally corresponds to those notes in the Phrygian mode.  The Bayyati (Bayati) is the more common of the tetrachords used in Arab music.

As to the instruments, they are similar in appearance, having pear-shaped bodies with plucked lute strings, but the oud has a deeper sound and is unfretted and the buzuq has a longer neck, smaller body, frets, and a more metallic, ringing sound.

Racy, a native of Lebanon, is a long-time professor of ethnomusicology in the renowned department at the University of California, Los Angeles and has recorded two other Lyrichord albums and a collaboration with the tremendous Kronos Quartet (whose Howl, U.S.A. album has been featured on this blog.)  In addition to the  buzuq, which has a relationship to the saz, which comes from Iran and Turkey (a great Axiom Records release by Talip Ozkan is to be detailed here, as well.)  He is also a master of the nay, a reed flute that is to be noted in a later post here on the amazing music of the Whirling Dervishes.

Shaheen, who hails from Palestine, is also a dual instrumentalist of note, being also a violinist.  He performed on another featured item from the blog, Material's Hallucination Engine and his connection to that collective's leader, Bill Laswell, led to a Shaheen album, released on Laswell's fantastic Axiom label, devoted to the music of Egyptian composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab, who skillfully blended Arabic and Western styles together in rich orchestral pieces--this record will also be covered here.  Shaheen also made a complement of sorts to Taqasim, when he released Saltanah with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a musician from India who created his own sitar/slide guitar hybrid--another album, blending the maqam with the raga,  that will someday make an appearance here.  Recipient of a National Heritage Award from President Clinton, Shaheen has two bands, lectures, composes film soundtracks and much more.

It is hard to think of an album that has as much power, grace, skill, and art using improvisation from established structures than this--jazz improvisationis equally as thrilling.  Moreover, anyone interested in guitar music can easily see how the origins of that Western instrument can be traced back to the many impressive musical traditions of the Near and Middle East.  Finally, music is the "universal language" and examples like Taqasim show that, whatever cultural differences exist in a sometimes polarized and politicized world, music gives an opportunity to transcend those variations through something relatable and unifying.

no mistake to visit the source : )

Ali Jihad Racy (born 1943 in Ibl al-Saqi, Southern Lebanon, moved to USA in 1968) is a Lebanese born American performer, composer and Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California at Los Angeles. Racy is internationally recognized for his extraordinary musicianship and his numerous publications, including his award-winning book, Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab (Cambridge University Press, 2003). He is a master of many traditional instruments, particularly the nay, and the buzuq.


The art of the Buzuq (2)

Matar Mohamed
Musique Traditionnelle Arabe 
Sur Bousoq


A Rash Sur Le Maqam Atarkord     23:02

B1 Takssim Nahawand Ochak     12:06
B2 Takssim Bayati Nawa     11:43




Traditional arab music on buzuq

Matar Muhammad was born in 1939 in the Bekaa plain (Lebanon) and died in 1995. He came from a family of Gypsies, wandering musicians from father to son. From the age of seven onwards, his father and elder brother initiated him into buzuq playing. He made his professional debut in the early sixties, through the BBC’s Arab programmes, but he really became famous through the performances of “Arduna ila al-abad” during the Festival of Baalbek. After that, his reputation extended throughout the Arab world and beyond. Heir to an oral tradition, his inbred gifts allowed him to practice a truly sophisticated art in an empirical manner. His course has been that of an outstanding soloist and an imaginative improviser who nevertheless remained faithful to the spirit and theoretical principles of Arab music.


The buzuq belongs to the large family of tanbûr, long-necked lutes, the existence of which has been traced back to Al-Farâbi – Al-kitaâ al-musîqi al-kabîr [The Great Book of Music] – who describes it as identical to the tanbûr al-baghdâdi. The pear-shaped sound-box measures approximately 40 cm long and the neck about 80 cm. The latter carries twenty six frets (adjustable ligatures). The two double metal strings are usually tuned to the octave and plucked with a horn or quill plectrum (rishah).


 Matar Muhammad, a virtuoso with an expressive style, has been acknowledged in the Arab world as the greatest player of the long-necked buzuq lute, one of the symbols of the Gypsy communities in the Middle East.


The art of the Buzuq (1)

L'Art du Bouzouk


01. Chahnaze en 5
02. Maqam Ajam
03. Maqam Kurd
04. Qadi Sero
05. Maqam Nahawend
06. Maqam Husseyni
07. Voyage à travers les Maqams
08. Maqam Hidjaz
09. Retour aux sources




Issa Hassan (artist name also: Issa), born December 25, 1970 in Lebanon, now living in France, is a Kurdish musician, Bouzouki player and composer. 
Issa’s story began long time ago, in a small village in Turkish Kurdistan, when his grand-parents took the road to exile, to a country which, at the time, represented a degree of safety: Lebanon. About thirty years later, someone was born there who is becoming one of the Masters of the bouzouk and one of those Eastern musicians whose contact with other musical horizons make it possible to look forward enthusiastically to what the century present will offer. Because Issa has become a Parisian and gives us the pleasure of hearing a music both rooted in Kurdish culture and impregnated with the flavours and scents of his travels.

His playing shows virtuosity together with the originality one expects from a great musician and the broadminded spirit and musical humour that his fluency in the modal system of the Eastern music allows. But, whether he plays with jazzmen or flamenquists, he is never separated from what constitutes the heart very heart of his music: the Kurdish soul. With his bouzouk he has crossed the world and sung in places as varied as the Institute of the Arab World, the Wild Cabaret, the festivals of Ris Orangis or of Médina of Tunis, Jerusalem or Kensington Town Hall in London. Today, as cultural consultant of the Paris Kurdish Institute Foundation, Issa is as enthusiastic about traditional as by contemporary Kurdish artistic expression.

read it all here

The word buzuq is Turkish and occurs in 'bashi-buzuq,' the name given to the Ottoman troops, literally meaning 'burnt head' or 'uprooted.' In its folk form, the buzuq is a larger and deeper-toned relative of the Turkish saz and has a body carved from a single piece of wood. In its modern, urbanized form, the body is constructed from separate ribs and has mechanical, rather than wooden pegs.

A long-necked fretted lute, the buzuq is usually furnished with two courses of metal strings, a double (C4) and a triple (G3), played with a thin piece of horn or a plastic plectrum. The metal strings give the instrument a bright sound quality, while the fret distribution (~24 movable frets) offers many microtonal possibilities.

The buzuq, typically used as a solo instrument, is not considered a member of the standard Arab ensemble. It is found in both folk and urban contexts in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, and is associated with itinerant Gypsy musicians. The Rahbanis (Lebanon) latety popularized the use of this instrument and made it more mainstream.

The buzuq is slightly limited for the execution of the Arabic maqam, given that it's fretted. However frets are usually added for the most common quarter tones (E, A and B), and can be moved for additional fine tuning. Despite that fact a slight difference in intonation is noticed when the buzuq plays alongside a oud or a qanun for example.

Masters of the buzuq: Mohammad Abdel Karim (Syria), Matar Muhammad (Lebanon - Gypsy), Ali Jihad Racy (Lebanon).



Tar from Tabriz (2)

Gholam-Hossein Bigjeh Khani
Tar Solo


01 - Avaz–e Bayat–e Esfahan
02 - Dastgah–e Segah
03 - Avaz–e Bayate–e Tork
04 - Avaz–e Afsharii

Tar: Gholam Hossein Bigjeh Khani
Dayereh: Mahmud Farnam




Ostad Qolam-Hoseyn Bigje-Khani was born in 1918 in Sanjaran quarter of Tabriz. His father Hoseyn-Qoli Khan was one of the most prominent tar players. Bigje-Khani began his studies with his father at the age of six, and after father's death (1931) continued them with Reza-Qoli Zaboli, who was then regarded as the best pupil of his father. As a young artist he got familiar with the styles of Aqa Hoseyn-Qoli, Darvish Khan, Ney-Davud and Ali-Akbar Shahnazi by the aid of 78 rpm records made by these masters. Later he took some lessons from two masters of Avaz, namely Mir Ali-Asqar Sadeqol-va'd and Eqbal Azar. During these years he befriended with Ostad Mahmud Farnam, the virtuoso dayere player. The period of their collaboration lasted for more than 50 years. For two and a half decades he was the manager of Radio Orchestra of Tabriz, and for a short while directed and taught tar in Music Workshop for Children and Young Persons. His fruitful life ended in 1987.

Mahmud Farnam - Gholam Hossein Bigjeh Khani