Persian Tar

Persian Tar

 

Persian Tar

Persian Tar is a string or stringed instrument. In these musical instruments a stretched vibrating string produces the initial sound. They are called Chordophones as well. The word "Târ" means string. Persian Tar is also called as "Târ-e Shirâz", the Tar from Shiraz. Persian Tar is a plucked string instrument,so it means that a plectrum is used to pluck or strum the instrument. Persian Tar is a fretted string instrument, thus the instrument has frets that have been tied on the neck.

 

Persian Tar Strings

Persian Tar has three courses made up of two metal strings each. The two strings in the first course (the first and second string from down to up) are named the "White Strings", are tuned in unison and made of steel. The two strings in the second course (the third and fourth string from down to up) are named the "Yellow Strings", are tuned in unison and made of Bronze or Phosphor-Bronze. The two strings in the third course (the fifth and sixth string from down to up) have different names and are tuned in an octave or to different tones. The thiner string of the third course is named the "Drone String" and made of steel and the thicker string of the third course is named the "Bass String" and made of Bronze or Phosphor-Bronze. Persian Tar strings are used in different thicknesse or gauges. These gauges are chosen in thousandths of a meter. Here I am going to suggest you some gauges for Persian Tar strings. You can use 0.18 mm or 0.20 mm for the white and drone strings, 0.20 mm or 0.22 mm for the yellow strings and 0.35 or 0.40 for the bass string.

 

Persian Tar Strings

 

Persian Tar Frets

Pressing a string against a fret determines the strings' vibrating length and therefore its resultant pitch. Persian Tar frets are mostly made of gut, embedded around the neck and located at the points that are determined according to the ears of the musicians. Every fret consists of 3 or 4 threads according to the tradition. The frets are moveable, because we need sometimes to move the frets to get a new arrange of frets. Frets worn down from heavy use can be replaced. The number of Persian Tar frets can be between 22 and 28. I show you in the following picture the frets of my Persian Tar in an Octave. The frets between whole tone and half tone frets representing the micro tones. Some Persian Tar players and makers use frets made of nylon or metal.

 

Persian Tar Frets

 

Persian Tar Tunings

How to tune the Persian Tar?

The tonal center or the base tone of the starting piece of any "Dastgâh" has a great role in tuning the Persian Tar. We are going to assume that the white strings are tuned in "c". Most of the times the yellow strings are tuned in "g". I am going to call the drone and bass strings as tuning strings, because the tuning of these strings change with choosing a new Dastgah or with playing the same Dastgah from a different base tone. I am going to present here the traditional tunings of Persian Tar. Please pay attention to the order of strings: from left to right white strings (1st, 2nd), yellow strings (3rd, 4th), drone string (5th) and bass stirng (6th). Please consider that the yellow strings are tuned lower than the white strings.

Mahur

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
C C G C C

Rast Panjgah

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
F C F C C

Shur

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
G C G C F

Nava

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
G C G D D

Homayun

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
G C G D D

Chahargah

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
C C G C C

Segah

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
A
1/4FLAT
C G A
1/4FLAT
F

Esfahan

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
G C G D D

Tork

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
B
FLAT
C G B
FLAT
F

Afshari

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
C C G C F

Abu'ata

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
C C G C F

Dashti

base tone white strings yellow strings drone string bass string
D C G C F

 

Persian Tar Players

Introduction

Here I am going to introduce only some Persian Tar players, who were or are unique and brilliant Persian Tar players. It includes some important lines about their musical life, a picture and an audio sample. I hope that these informations are going to be helpful, for the Persian Tar lovers, who want to develop their skillfulness in playing the Persian Tar.

 

Persian Tar

Mirza Hosseyn Qoli

Mirza Hosseyn Qoli (circa 1851-1915), the Persian Tar virtuoso, was the son of Ali Akbar Farahani, the legendary Persian Tar player. He arranged for the Persian Tar, his own interpretation of persian art music repertpire. This musical arrangement shows his Persian Tar playing skillfulness and his deep artistic impression.

Persian Tar Solo
Dastgah: Shur
Play!

 

Persian Tar

Darvish Xan

Darvish Xan (Qolam Hosseyn Darvish 1872-1926) was a Composer, Persian Tar and Setar player. He was the talented pupil of two Persian Art Music masters, Mirza Hosseyn Qoli and Mirza Abdollah. He went to London and Tbilisi for recording some works of Persian art music. He was one of the first musicians, who developed the music form, Pish Daramd in Persian music.

Persian Tar Solo
Dastgah: Homayun
Play!