The History of Music in Iran

Iranian music has a long history and dates back to ancient Iran. Iran has the origin of rich and varied music. And traditional Iranian music considers as one of the components of Iranian culture and art. Almost all Iranian ethnicities have their own local music.

There is not much information about Iranian music before the Achaemenid era.

In Achaemenid period they played drums and horns in ancient Persia, at rising and dusk of the sun. In Avesta, the Yasna section said doctors treated their patients with music. There were three types of music In that period: ritual (religious), convivial and martial.

Herodotus says that the existence of music for the religious worship of God was very necessary.

They performed special songs and melodies in the celebrations and in historical and national days. During the Achaemenid period, special songs and chants performed in battles and celebrations.

The choral songs were also common in this era, which was generally performed by girls.

Iranian music

Sassanid Period

Sassanid kings liked music. We can see it in historical stories, and in the paintings that are created on silver dishes. And also what founded from mosaics and other things remain from that time.

One of founded elegant mosaics shows a female musician that has a harp in her hands. Another silver trays founded from the Sassanid era shows a royal man. He is sitting on a throne and there are a reed player and a harp player in front of him.

In Kermanshah, there is caving on stone and shows a hunting scene. We can see some female harp players are sitting in a boat, while the king is hunting.

People became interested in music, with the encouragement and support of the Sassanid kings. Musicians had a lot of respect and prosperity during this period.

We know the names of the first Iranian great musicians such as Barbad, Nakisa, Bamshad, and Ramtin, since that time. It is also the name of many songs and musical instruments are for that time.

music after islam

After Islam

Music played secretly under the rule of extreme Islamists. Although most Arab rulers banned music-related activities.

At the same time, some others ordered musicians in Iran to compose pieces in the form of books that in Arabic called “great music books”.

Islamic’s religious leaders initially boycotted music and called it “deviation” and “folly”.

But during the time of the Abbasids, they ruled the Sassanid style at their court. In that time music gained a new growth.

During the Safavid period, music was at the control of the court and fell far from the community. The music of Iran during the Safavid era suffered the most, but the religious form of music continued.

Safavid king, “Shah Abbas” was very interested in music. So that he supported and encouraged artists and especially musicians.

Iran’s music grew and developed until the middle of the 9th century. But after, a period of the recession began in Iranian music, which continued until the Qajar era.

During the Qajar period, especially during the reign of Nasser-al-Din Shah, Iranian music grew up again. During this period, the musical form of Iran changed and continued until this time.