Music Iconography of Iran; Interpretation Deficiencies, Explanation, Methodology and Suggestions
Music iconography is a novel research field in musicology and ethnomusicology in the world as well as in our country, Iran. Actually some important information about music history can be mainly derived from paintings and iconographical sources which they cannot be found in written sources. There is not such problem in studying western paintings in music iconography; however research rules in this field must be taken into consideration as well. Meanwhile in studying Persian paintings and music representations in pictures, this research field is faced with more problems due to lack of realism concept in eastern art. The reason for motivating the author to write this manuscript is the occurrence of interpretation deficiencies and explanation as well as lack of methodology for Iranian researchers in this issue. As a result, this article may be useful for Persian music iconography researchers and will help them for better explanation in this field. As the aim of this essay is to help researchers in musicology and ethnomusicology, an effort has been made to explain key points of musical interpretations pertinent to the Persian paintings. In this study, iconography, music iconography, literature reviews of music iconography, the role of art history in music iconography, awareness of art styles, the pictures reliability, the representation of common musical instruments in each era, introducing of international music iconography research centers, databases and conferences, and at the end, proposal steps for studying a picture containing musical elements in Iranian art have been documented. The striking point in surveying music iconography is that the purpose of paintings at the first step is not introducing musical information while music researchers can interpret for musical goals. Thus, knowing about the art styles in this field and the creation era of the art works is one of the most important points which should be taken into account in interpretation. The result indicates that although there is no realistic point of view in Persian paintings, musical instruments especially in the Timurid and half Safavid period are illustrating realistic; and therefore Persian paintings regarding to musical instrument are generally reliable. In some pictures, there are left-handed players, however due to rules of visual compositions nothing can be concluded definitely whether they are left-handed or not. Based on “Transformation” in Erwin Panofsky’s iconological methodology, it should be stated that in spite of the single text in different periods as Shahnameh, the musical instruments in illustrations are inspired by the ongoing era. Therefore, for instance the Safavid and Qajarid Shahnameh manuscripts depict musical instruments of their own period. Musical treatises, historical books, travel accounts and the other written documents should be considered for comparative study and enhanced interpretation and analysis of musical pictures. After referring to key points of the music iconography in this article, 18 steps are suggested as proposal ones by the author that may be practical for researchers in this field as methodology. The effort is made to choose the most impressive pictures as case studies.This article is an applied research and has done by descriptive, analytical, historical and comparative research method.
Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Honar-Ha-Ye-Ziba: Honar-Ha-Ye Mosighi Va Namayeshi, No. 61, 2019
25 - 36  
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