Geography obviously has a significant impact on the development of society and culture anywhere in the world, but its effect is particularly dramatic in a country like Iran. It severely limits where people can live, makes transportation and communications between different areas of the country difficult, and has greatly affected the kinds of lifestyles that […]

Although poetry still holds an important place in the creative literature of contemporary Iran, it has in recent years come to be rivaled in popularity and importance by prose fiction—the novel, the novella, and especially the short story. The rise of these genres represents a considerable innovation in the nature of Persian literature; it refl […]

A vast amount of Persian prose literature, in fields ranging from history to philosophy, was produced during the pre-modern period. This prose literature Literature 69 certainly has its value, and much of it is in print and read by Iranians today. However, it is fair to say that it is mostly of interest to specialists […]

In some ways, the history of dance in Iran parallels the history of music, albeit in a much more restricted manner, especially in the case of recreational dance. In other words, in any period when music is forbidden, so is dance. If music is highly encouraged, then dance is more tolerated in society. This is […]

Dance in Iran represents a mixture of elements drawn from diverse sources, some similar to those in neighboring countries, some uniquely related to cultures and customs of people living within a specific region in Iran today, and some synthesizing both foreign and native influences. For instance, ethnic dances found among Iranian Kurds and Turkomans are […]

The latter part of Mohammad-Rezâ Shah’s reign had a disastrous impact on Persian classical music, one with significant political implications for the Pahlavi regime itself. With the shah’s fast pace of modernization and importation of everything Western, classical Persian music became a victim of Western and Western-style pop music. As Westernized pop music became dominant, […]

In some archeological remains from ancient Iran, one can sometimes see depictions of singers, accompanied by musicians playing harps, large tambourines, and long necked lutes and double-flutes. Music was an important aspect of court life, cultural celebrations, religious rituals, and military operation. Religious music consisted of vocals drawn from Zoroastrian scriptures, the Gathas and Yashts, […]

Folk music (known as “regional music” in Iran) has probably existed as long as people have lived on the Iranian plateau. It has resisted formalization and, until recent times, its lyrics were preserved by the word of mouth and collective memories. Folk musicians were generally amateurs within rural areas. There are many distinct traditions and […]

Classical Persian music is generally modal and is not always based on the traditional major and minor scales of music. It is also generally monophonic, (mostly consisting of a single vocal part). Musical pieces consist of melody and rhythm, and, when a singer is involved, the melody is repeated with some variation. Melodic patterns are […]

Throughout the centuries, Persian music would periodically flourish and decline as different religious and governmental restrictions were imposed on it, especially after the adoption of Islam as a religion in Iran. Since music was an important part of religious rituals prior to the arrival of Islam in Iran, Persian music has been influenced by pre-Islamic […]


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