European Musical Instruments in Safavid Period of Iran
There is Interchange of cultures and different kinds of ethnos music in the world between different cultures as acculturation. The economical, trade and political interchange, war and immigration has played a prominent role on acculturation; and obviously most of the time dominant culture has more influence on the other culture. One of the acculturation in the field of music devoted to interchange of musical instruments. In this subject, European art’s influence on Persian art is one of the controversial subjects of Cultural issue in Safavid period. The consequence of political and cultural relationships between Safavid Iran and west regarding to music subject matter was the prevalence of European musical instruments in court of Iran. European musical instruments can be seen both in European travel accounts and iconographical sources of discussed period. Although European musical instruments were prevalent among courts and played by European players, they weren’t became popular throughout the Safavid society. Persian kings became more intrigued by western music and European musical instruments, therefore, for example, Shah Soltan Hossein (c.1668 - c.1726) wrote a letter to Portugal ambassador to send European players to the court of Iran. Iranian and especially Safavid kings praised European music, and strangely in some cases, based on some records, they relished even unturned sound of European musical instruments. European musical instruments imported Iran in different ways. In some cases they were presents of European governments to Safavid kings. Occasionally they were introduced to Persian court by Europeans who served in court of Iran. Also, some ambassadors who traveled Iran, in most of the times brought with themselves numbers of players and musicians. Although the presence of musical instruments and European players is obvious in Safavid Iran, there isn’t any source showing the western music’s influence on basis of Persian music in that time. The influence of European art on Persian culture was so evident in Painting in comparison to other arts which led to the formation of Farangi-sazi style. However in music subject matter there is not any especial transition; also it seems the prevalence of Santūr was due to arrival of western musical instruments. Western travel accounts show that Iranians are more intrigued by Keyboard musical instruments like Epinette, Harpsichord and organ than the other European musical instruments. However the interesting thing is that in pictures such chordophones as European lutes, bowed instruments from cello family (category) are more illustrated than the other instruments. Finally Iranian made acquaintance with European musical instruments and western music in Safavid period and the influence of European music, though it wasn’t perceptible at first time, intensified more and more until Qajar period which continued seriously; and in the latter period the western music’s influence is more sensible. For instance the prevalence of violin in Iranian music and its influence on Kamānča like adding the fourth string, changing of the tune and other details can be continued in Qajar period; however in Safavid period such influence on musical instruments is not observable clearly.
Honar-Ha-Ye-Ziba: Honar-Ha-Ye Mosighi Va Namayeshi, No. 48, 2013
57 - 66
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