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                                        Volume. 12115

‘UNESCO registration of tar for Azerbaijan is a distortion of history’
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Iranian master instrument maker Khosro Karami tests a tar at his workshop in the town of Borujerd, Lorestan Province on October 22, 2012. (IRNA/Alireza Soleimani)
Iranian master instrument maker Khosro Karami tests a tar at his workshop in the town of Borujerd, Lorestan Province on October 22, 2012. (IRNA/Alireza Soleimani)
TEHRAN -- The spokesman of Iran’s House of Music has said that the registration of the Iranian art of craftsmanship and tar playing on a UNESCO list for the Republic of Azerbaijan is a blatant distortion of the history of music in the region.
 
“This instrument went from Iran to Azerbaijan. After some changes in its frets, they called it a Turki tar,” Dariush Pirniakan told the Persian service of MNA on Wednesday.
 
“If tar is a Turki instrument, why do they use the maqams and dastgahs of Iranian music in their performances?” he added.
 
A maqam is a specific musical scale combined with characteristic melodic elements or motifs, played following traditional formats, which together forms a complete system for the melodic and tonal structure of a musical performance.
 
A dastgah is a set of notes, their features, and an associated group of traditional melodies that constitute the basis for improvising a performance. 
 
The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage inscribed the art of craftsmanship and performance of the tar, a long-necked stringed instrument, from the Republic of Azerbaijan during its 7th session at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris last week.
 
“With little forbearance to this historical mistake, the tar must be inscribed in the list as a joint Iranian and Azeri instrument,” tar virtuoso Pirniakan noted.
 
He blamed the representative of Iran in UNESCO for the issue and said that the House of Music plans to lodge a protest by writing a letter to the minister of culture and Islamic guidance.
 
The House of Music has commissioned an expert team to probe the registration of the Iranian art of craftsmanship and tar playing on the UNESCO list for Azerbaijan, chairman of House of Music board of directors Mohammad Sarir said on Tuesday.
 
“This is an international issue, which should not be discussed without in-depth research,” he told the Persian service of ISNA on Tuesday.
 
Many Iranian cultural organizations have censured the UNESCO decision to inscribe an Iranian instrument for Azerbaijan on its list. They have also lamented the negligence of Iranian cultural officials.    
 
“There are many historical documents proving that tar belongs to Iran,” House of Music Managing Director Hamidreza Nurbakhsh told the Persian service of MNA on Tuesday.
 
“The documents will soon be published,” added Nurbakhsh, who is a prominent singer of Iranian traditional music.
 
MMS/YAW
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