The Persian Music Ensemble (ETHNMUS 91L and 161L) focuses on the performance of Persian classical music including the radif and tasnifs (vocal repertoire). This is a group class where students sit in a circle and begin learning a gushe (short melody-type) or a vocal composition of a designated dastgāh (multi-sectional modal structure) phrase by phrase through imitating and memorizing. In each quarter we chose one particular dastgāh and try to study major gushes and four vocal compositions in that modal structure.

Students can also study the setār and tār in individual basis. Beginning with basic instructions, we gradually develop performance techniques and work on the classical repertoire known as the radif as well as compositional genres. The class is taught in an oral-aural manner and attempts will be made to emphasize the indigenous terminology, mnemonic devices and musical concepts used in traditional context. Those who have already studied the santur, nay, kamāncheh, ‘ud, qānun and violin can also enroll in this class.

Finally, students may study the tombak and daff, two percussion instruments of Persian music. Tombak is the major classical drum of Persian music. In this class we begin with an introduction of right and left hand strokes and gradually work on basic rhythmic cycles that are used in the performance and accompaniment of measured compositions.

Co-director: Mehrdad Arabifard
Co-director: Amir Hosein Pourjavady

For information on the history of this ensemble, go to Ensemble History: Music of Persia Ensemble