Rameshgari: Pursuing Collaborative Tasnif composition*

In a Persian classical/traditional music concert,1 there is probably one part that is always the most awaited by the audience. It is the tasnif, the piece where generally the whole ensemble of musicians accompany the singer on a rhythmic composition. The popularity of this particular musical form among Iranians could perhaps be linked to its rhythmic aspect in contrast to the more reflective and perceived static counterpart, the avaz, which is a non-rhythmic dialogue between the vocalist and the main instrumentalist.2 But the tasnif has also played an important role in the history of Iranians as a nation. Many Iranians, of any generation, gender and socio-economic background would quickly recognize and probably sing at least the first couplet of “Morgh-e sahar” (“Morning Bird”), “Emshab shab-e mahtab-e” (“Tonight the Moon Is Full”), or “Iran ey saray-e omid” (“Iran, O House of Hope”). These patriotic or love songs, among many others, have accompanied major events of the country’s recent history, have galvanized the population at times of liberation or despair, or have simply contributed to the building of a common memory and a sense of nationhood. Moreover, the tasnif reminds one of a collective experience. It carries memories from our social gatherings, be they at a party or in a concert hall. Its rhythmic pulsation leads the audience to move and clap at a certain rhythm. Its relatively simple melody allows the people to memorize and sing in unison. In short, the tasnif is a medium for harmonizing and unifying a group of listeners in their understanding of time, movement, and emotional experiences of happiness, sadness and excitement.

The tasnif has undergone many transformations in its composition since the 19th century. But from my personal experience and from the opinions I have collected from my musician colleagues, I believe it is going through a period of crisis that could, in the long term, undermine its ability to echo the aspirations of the Iranians. Its inherent nature, mixing poetry, music and vocal performance needs the same collaborative spirit between a composer, a lyricist and a vocalist, a method of composition, extremely rarefied for the past few decades.

A brief History of Tasnif

Tasnif, or the Persian-equivalent ballad as it is known nowadays, has appeared in different forms and styles, and has been one of the most representative arts of the Iranian culture, combining voice, classical music, poetry and social or personal expression. Due to the multiple periods in its development and the variety of its styles and contents, it is difficult to draw certain and clear boundaries around its definition.3

The term tasnif, an Arabic loanword, originally referred to literary rather than musical works and it is during the 14th century that the word appears in Persian music terminology.4 But today, in modern Iran, it refers to a rhythmic vocal composition and its melody is based on the radif, the repertoire of the Persian classical music. Its classical repertoire is a compilation of compositions that go back only to the late Qajar era (ca. 1875-1925). As Abdollah Davami, one of the major traditional vocalists of the twentieth century, states, “During the late Qajar period, taṣnifs were in the hands of one family, the family of  Habibollh Sama ‘ Hozur, and [I] learned those taṣnifs from them.”5 Sama’ Hozur was a student of Mohammed-Ṣadeq Khan Sorourolmolk, the head of the musicians in the court of Qajar King Nasser al-Din Shah.6 Davami, in fact has played a significant role in the preservation of the old Qajar taṣnifs and later passed them on to the younger generation, including my teachers Parissa7, Parviz Meshkatian8 and Mohammad Reza Lotfi.9 A great number of these tasnif are attributed to Mirza ‘Ali Akbar Shirazi ‘Sheyda’ (1843 – 1906) and ‘Aref Qazvini (1882? – 1934) who are considered the founders of the modern tasnif.10 Similar to their musical ancestors, Sheyda and ‘Aref  believed that a composer should be both the poet and performer of his own songs.

Historically, all these qualities – composing music, writing lyrics and singing them – emanated from a single artist. Under the Parthians (247 BC – 224 AD), gosan, the Parthian word for the poet-musician/minstrel, referred to musicians who were capable of performing their own melodic and textual components.11 Later, during the Sassanids (224 AD – 651 AD), the Pahlavi term huniyagar and the Persian term rameshgar indicated minstrels/bards12 renowned and praised for their ability to sing and play their own melodic and poetic compositions.13 Barbad, the legendary rameshgar of the court of the Sassanid King Khosrow Parviz (r. 590-628) was one of the most prominent examples of such capable musicians.14 Since the fifteenth century a similar figure known as ashiq appears for the first time in literature. ‘Ashiqs who are still practicing their art can be found in Iran’s folkloric Turkic and Kurdish traditions, as well as in the Republic of Azerbaijan.15 In modern times, figures such as ‘Aref were naturally amongst the last representatives of that old tradition.

One can distinguish a certain branching of the song/tasnif composition in the late 19th and during the 20th centuries with the development of three separate chronological and stylistic trends:16

  • The continuation of the unaccompanied minstrels through such figures as ‘Ali Akbar Sheyda and ‘Aref Qazvini who produced numerous and very popular tasnifs such as “Az khun-e javanan-e vatan laleh damideh” (“Tulips Have Grown from the Blood of Iran’s Young Men”) composed by ‘Aref during the second parliament (1909-1913) or “Ala saghiya” (“O Bearer of Wine”) by Sheyd17 Probably the most representative example in recent years could be those of “Qoqnous” (“Phoenix”) composed by Parviz Meshkatian ca. 2007 and “Vatanam Iran” (“My Motherland, Iran”) composed by Mohammad Reza Lotfi 2007.18
  • The appearance of the two-sequence compositions in the order of 1) lyrics; 2) melody. The particularity of this sequencing relied on the fact that the composer created the melody over an existing poem/lyric, be it contemporary or classical medieval. This form of tasnif could be nowadays considered as the mainstream tasnif composition form. Most, if not all, current tasnif composers habitually create melodies over classical poetry such as the works of Rumi, Hafez, Sa’di or the contemporary and modern poetry of Nima Yushij, Sohrab Sepehri, Houshang Ebtehaj ‘Sayeh’, Simin Behbahani, etc. The favored aspect of this form could be mostly due to the abundance of extremely valuable and easily accessible classical poetry.
  • The appearance of the three-sequence compositions in the order of 1) melody; 2) lyrics and 3) adaptation through performance. This sequence of work is what I have called the “collaborative tasnif composition”, where the composer starts by creating a melody, then passing it to a taraneh-sora (lyricist) for the lyrics and finally adjusting it with the contributions of the vocalist, before public release.


National Radio’s Golha Program

Although during the constitutional revolution a form of collaborative tasnif-composition had already taken shape, the third method mentioned above mostly flourished in the mid-twentieth century with a musical program in the National Iranian Radio called “Golha” (“Flowers”).19 The program ran for 23 years, from 1956 to 1979, on its own a considerable opus of 850 hours of high quality traditional, folkloric and Sufi/religious music including hundreds of new tasnifs.20

Many of these tasnifs have become part of the national musical heritage of the Iranians and are remembered through the voices of famous singers such as Marzieh, Banan, Delkash, Qavami and Shahidi, to name a few. One can mention Morteza Mahjoubi, Parviz Yahaqi and Ali Tajvidi as the great composers of this period and Rahi Mo’ayeri, Mo’ini Kermanshahi, Bijan Taraqi and Monir Taha, among others, as its great lyricists.

In this new form of tasnif-composition, as previously mentioned, the poet at a second stage writes lyrics or “words”21 that correspond to the length of the syllables, accents, and pitches of the melody, considering very much the expression, as Mo’ini Kermanshahi emphasizes22 or the “message” of the melody, according to Monir Taha.23 This form of composition became known as taraneh-sorayi, a term that is closely associated with the compositions of the Golha program.24 Thus the taraneh does not have to fully respect the standards and the meter of the classical poetry (‘aruz),25 but only follows the curves of the melody.26

The significance of the Golha program came, at least partly, from the character of its founder, Davoud Pirnia, an experienced, multi-faceted man — at times a politician, a judge and a Deputy Prime Minister.27 His idea of inaugurating the Golha program came from his deep understanding and passion for Persian culture and particularly its classical poetry and music.

The organizational structure of the Golha program, according to Homayoun Khorram, the noted violinist and composer of several famous taraneh, offered an opportunity to the musicians to find their artistic partners and collaborative groups, and encouraged all participants to collaborate with each other at least once a year.28 The radio became a place of encounter and a space of affinity between the three elements of the tasnif composition.

Almost all written memoirs or interviews of the main protagonists of this program bear witness to the deep and respectful relationship between the members of the trio. Examples of this atmosphere are described in the published memoirs of Homayoun Khorram,29 lyricists Esma ‘il Navab Safa30 and Bijan Taraqi31 and in an article by Monir Taha,32 who interviewed the lyricists Mo’ini Kermanshahi33 and Bijan Taraqi34, and such vocalists as Akbar Golpaygani35 and Homeyra.36 In the conversations that I had with some of the luminaries of the Golha, I realized just how much they have been affected by each other’s mastery and art; how one artist’s articulation became the expressive language of the other.37 A composer whose language is too abstract to express his/her words, a lyricist whose voice may not be passionate enough to express her/his feeling; and a vocalist who can instantly be a mirror of both “voices” and has the instrument to reflect what a composer could only perceive in his mind, revealing mysterious “messages” behind the words and music. Musicologist Mohammad-Reza Fayaz compares the atmosphere created in the Radio to the role played by the court in previous eras and considers the former as a replacement to the latter.38 A state-funded institution, the National Radio was a trustworthy and stable employer for all those musicians, lyricists and vocalists who received a regular salary just as any other civil servant.


Another characteristic of the Golha program under Pirnia was its democratic use of the genres. Five different categories of programs were produced at different stages: “Golha-ye javidan” (“Perennial Flowers”), with 157 episodes, “Golha-ye rangarang” (“Multi-colored Flowers”), 481 episodes, “Barg-e sabz” (“A Green Leaf”), 312 episodes, “Yek shakh-e gol” (“A Single Rose”), 465 episodes, “Golha-ye sahra’i” (“Desert Flowers”), 64 episodes.39 These programs used the repertoires of folk40, sacred41, late Qajar42 and other composed pieces by the great musicians of the time, particularly violinists.43

A significant outcome of the program was that it considerably elevated the status of musicians, especially female singers whose careers were previously perceived in a negative light by the traditional Iranian society. While Shiite Islam has viewed music as an ethically questionable form of art, poetry and poets have traditionally held a respected and privileged place in Persian culture.44 Creating a collaborative artwork between the three figures of the poet, the singer, and the composer allocated for the first time the same status to all three artists. The program also contributed to a better knowledge of poets, their lives and their poems among an overwhelmingly uneducated population.45 In one of his interviews Mo’ini Kermanshahi explains that despite the two collections of ghazal that he had previously published, people began to know him by his broadcast taraneh.46

My primary intention is to focus on the collaborative atmosphere that was nurtured by the program at its inception,and not to idealize it as a whole. At different periods during its existence there were valid criticisms describing it as a closed space for the privileged few, where new musicians were rarely accepted into the closed circles.47 Internal competition between different groups of musicians or possibly the absence of a direction during six years following Pirnia’s death, all might have contributed to a more tension-prone atmosphere. With the appointment of Houshang Ebtehabj ‘Sayeh,’ an acclaimed poet with socialist leanings48 as the director of the program in 1972, a new generation of musicians, formed under the rubric of “bazgasht” (“return to the roots [of Persian music]”), started collaborating with the program. These young musicians, among them my late teacher, Mohammad-Reza Lotfi, believed that Persian music needed to go back to its roots under the Qajar dynasty for a new impulse. A new category called “Fresh Flowers” (“Golha-ye taze”) was created, and a fresh sense of collaboration began to develop among these musicians despite the fact that under the directorship of Sayeh, a poet himself, there were fewer and fewer participating lyricists in the program. Therefore a close look at the list of tasnifs and avazs performed between 1972 and 1979 shows that the lyrics are either the poems of medieval poets such as Hafez, Sa’di, Salman Savoji and Rumi or contemporary poets such as Shahriar, Sayeh and Moshiri, to name a few.49 This form of tasnif is close to the second form of tasnif-composition described above. Interestingly, however, the composers and vocalists continued to consult contemporary poets such as Shahriar or Sayeh himself on the development of their tasnifs.50

Need for Collaborative Tasnif Composition

Since the 1979 Revolution tremendous changes have affected Persian music practice and performance in general. The end of the Golha program and the marginalization of its most prominent figures from the national stage, the exclusion of female vocalists, and the deep transformation of the institutional education of music were among the most visible and immediate results of those changes. With the exception of a few revolutionary songs, the progressive disappearance of the lyricist (taraneh-sora) that had already started from 1972 continued after the Revolution.

The new generation of musicians and singers after the Revolution have therefore had very little exposure to any form of collaborative work between the trio of composer, lyricist and singer. Even though students of music and literature have continued their respective education in the main institutions of the country, there has been no official connection between them, and their institutions have been physically separated from each other. Knowledge of the other field often results only from a personal quest.

As a professional singer and musician who participated simultaneously in vocal and instrumental classes for over 20 years, I experienced two very different atmospheres and methods of music pedagogy. While the musical curricula of both schools are based on the radif, they follow two distinctive teaching methods. The vocal radif is transmitted orally, whereas the instrumental is taught using the Western notation and specific books assigned for different instruments in different levels. Moreover, vocal music is not taught at the Faculty of Music and the National School of Music (Honarestan-e Musiqi). Vocal students learn singing in private institutions. Even more isolated from the rest of the musical sphere are literature students, whose curriculum includes no reference in any form to Persian music.51 This is a crucial shortcoming considering the fact that Persian music is very much a poetry-based form of music.

Today, from the number of productions, tasnif or taraneh composition could be seen as a thriving activity, mainly due to the growing number of musicians and singers, and the easier access to the public sphere through the Internet. However, its process is going more and more towards “atomization” as Eskandar Abadi explains, where each element of the construction tends to act in isolation from the others.52

Over the past few years, being in contact with numerous composers, lyricists and singers of the past and my own generation, I have witnessed and felt the lack of the described collaborative space. From the institutional prospect, there is no evidence that such spaces would appear anytime soon. Private initiatives can only partly fill the gap left by official institutions, but they have always played a significant role in the history of Persian music pedagogy. Support from the Radio has been compromised by difficult times and Persian music has partly survived thanks to the personal engagement of musicians. In the era of the Internet, perhaps a virtual space may act as an alternative center for inviting composers, lyricists and vocalists to work together, share knowledge and find resources on each other’s field of expertise.


Fig. 1. Rahi Mo’ayeri (lyricist) and Davoud Pirnia (the founder and first director of the Golhā Program). From: Lewisohn, “Flowers of Persian Song and Music: Davud Pirniā and the Genesis of the Golhā Programs,” 97.


Fig. 2. Ali Tajvidi (violinist and composer) discussing with Rahim Mo’ini Kermanshahi (lyricist). From: golha.co.uk/pix/people/ali_tajvidi_moini_kermanshahi.jpg



Fig. 3. A gathering of the anjoman-e okhovvat (the association of the brotherhood) where composers, poets and singers used to meet and perform concerts. (Early 20th century). From: Ruḥollāh Khāleqi, Sargoḏasht-e Musiqi-ye Irān, 3 vols. (Tehran: Mahour, 2002), 1: 81.



Fig. 4. From the left: Marzieh (vocalist), Morteza Mahjoubi (pianist and composer) and Adib Khansari (vocalist) From: Lewisohn, “Flowers of Persian Song and Music: Davud Pirniā and the Genesis of the Golhā Programs,” 98.

The Golhā Orchestra Fig. 5. Abolhassan Saba (multi-instrumentalist, composer and director of the orchestra), Reza Varzandeh (Santur player), Marzieh (vocalist), Ali Tajvidi (violinist, composer) and Morteza Mahjoubi (pianist, composer) are depicted among other musicians. From: radiogolha.net/golha/golhaorchestra.htm.

The Golhā Orchestra
Fig. 5. Abolhassan Saba (multi-instrumentalist, composer and director of the orchestra), Reza Varzandeh (Santur player), Marzieh (vocalist), Ali Tajvidi (violinist, composer) and Morteza Mahjoubi (pianist, composer) are depicted among other musicians. From:



* I have written this article as a part of a project called “Rameshgari” that aims to rehabilitate the nearly forgotten traditional collaborative form of tasnif-composing, i.e. the trinity of the composer, lyricist (taraneh-sora), and singer – an indispensible knowledge and experience sharing structure in Persian music. See www.rameshgari.com for more details. This research in whole was made possible with the generous support of the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute. I would like to especially thank Dr. Monir Taha, Ms. Sima Bina, Mr. Houshang Ebtehaj, Mr. Nasser Mass‘oudi, Dr. Eskandar Abadi and Ms. Sahar Sakha’i who accepted to help me through this research and patiently answered my questions. I am grateful to the feedbacks given by Dr. Leyla Rouhi from Williams College. I would also like to pay tribute to the late Simin Behbahani, Javad lashgari, Parviz Meshkatian and Mohammad Reza Lotfi whose teachings and accounts have deeply shaped my understanding of music and literature.

1Persian traditional, classical or art music are the terms that have been alternatively used in English-language scholarly literature and refer to the repertoire that is based on Persian musical system of radif. See Ella Zonis, Classical Persian Music: An Introduction (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1973); Hormoz Farhat, The dastgah concept in Persian music (Cambridge University Press, 1990).

2Avaz could also be accompanied by the whole ensemble or performed a cappella.

3For a detailed description on the history of the development of tasnif see Sasan Fatemi, Peydayesh-e Musiqi-ye mardom-pasand dar Iran: Ta’ammoli bar mafahim-e classic, mardomi, mardom-pasand (Tehran: Mahour, 2013).

4Margaret Caton, “The Classical Tasnif: A Genre of Persian Vocal Music,” 2 vols. (PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1983), 20; Fatemi, Peydayesh-e Musiqi-ye mardom-pasand dar Iran: Ta’ammoli bar mafahim-e classic, mardomi, mardom-pasand, 18.

5Moḥammad-Reża Loṭfi, Musiqi-e avazi-e Iran: Dastgah-e Shur: Radif-e Ostad ‘Abdollah Davami (Gutenberg, Tehran, 1976), 13.

6Ruhollah Khaleqi, Sargoḏasht-e Musiqi-ye Iran, 3 vols. (Tehran: Mahour, 2002), 1:136.

7Prominent vocalist and master of radif (b. 1950).

8Master of santur and composer (1955 – 2009).

9Master of tar and setar, and composer (1947 – 2014). Personal conversation with Parviz Meshkatian, Tehran, 1999.

10Khaleqi, Sargoḏasht-e Musiqi-ye Iran, 305.

11Mary Boyce, “The Parthian gōsan and Iranian Minstrel Tradition,” JRAS, (1957): 10-45.

12While the terms minstrel and bard have specific historical and geographical connotations in Western music, in this article they are used as equivalents for poet-musicians capable of recounting the stories of their time and the past within the Iranian context.

13Touraj Daryaee, Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2014), Kindle edition.

14Mohammad Reza Shafi’i Kadkani, Musighi-ye she’r (Tehran: Agah, 2000), 571-3..

15Charlotte F. Albright, “The Azerbaijani ʿAshiq and his Performance of a Dastan,” Iranian Studies 9 (1976): 220-47; Stephen Blum, “The Concept of the ‘Ashiq in Northern Khorasan,” Asian Music 4 (1972): 27-47; Ameneh Youssefzadeh, Rameshgaran-e shomal-e khorasan: Bakhshi va repertuar-e u (Tehran: Mahour, 2009), 46-8.

16For the musical and textual analysis of different types of tasnif see Sasan Fatemi “Tasnif va Seyr-e Tahavole An,” Kereshmeh 1 (2004): 385-391.

17These two performances are examples among many others of the aforementioned songs: “Az khoon-e javanan-e vatan laleh damideh   ba sedaye Sima Mafiha” Youtube video, 6:58. Posted by “Arghanoun,” 3 June 2012, www.youtu.be/oF5CiD4XVeA; “Marzieh, Ala saqia” Youtube video, 5:22. Posted by “abas farahni,” 18 October 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OTXd5YVb0M.

18These are the original performances of the songs available on the web: “Azadi – Meshkatian – Qoqnous-e Atash o khoon” Youtube video, 7:04. Posted by “Mehdi Vafa’i,” 22 September 2010, youtu.be/kWzkRtZdBE4; “Mohamad Reza Lotfi, Sheyda (Vatanam Iran)” Youtube video, 9:32. Posted by “Aryana,” 1 March 2013, youtu.be/rLRUMFg8rco.

19During the constitutional period (1905-11) composers used lyrics by the poets of their time (very often with patriotic themes) who were often all members of a private club of intellectuals with Sufi tendencies called the “Anjoman-e Okhovvat” (the “association of brotherhood”). Instances of such tasnifs are works by the composers Gholam Hossein Darvish ‘Darvish Khan’ (1872-1926) and Jahangir Morad ‘Hessamolsaltaneh’ (1881–1961), and the lyricist Mohammad Taqi Bahar‘ Malekolsho ‘ara’ (1884-1951).

20Jane Lewisohn, “Flowers of Persian Song and Music: Davud Pirnia and the Genesis of the Golha Programs,” Journal of Persianate Studies 1 (2008): 79-101.

21Monir Taha prefers the use of “word” (kalameh) instead of poetry.   Monir Taha, interview by the author, Vancouver, 27 March 2016.

22“Interview with Mo‘ini Kermanshahi” Youtube video, 47:29. Posted by “Iran-e Man TV”, 14 August 2011, www.youtu.be/nuHlUDxE09Q.

23 Taha repeated several times, “Before adopting the ‘words’ to the melody, I should understand the ‘message’ of the composition.” Monir Taha, interview by the author, Vancouver, 27 March 2016.

24Monir Taha quoting her composer colleague ‘Ali Tajvidi (1919-2006) states that the term taraneh became popular by Vahid Dastgerdi (1879-1942) who wrote lyrics on the melodies of Musa Ma‘roufi (1889-1965) and ‘Ali Akbar Shahnazi (1897-1985). For a better definition of the term taraneh and its comparison with tasnif see Elaheh Khoshnam, “az she‘r-o taraneh: pay-e sohbat-e ‘Monir-e bazm ara’”, Deutsche Welle, 9 July 2013, goo.gl/ADCfl8.

25The term ‘aruz often known as the science of poetry applies to the method of scanning and classifying the metrical poetries, a system that was originally used by the Arab poets since pre-Islamic times.

26Khoshnam, “Az she‘r o taraneh: pay-e sohbat-e ‘Monir-e bazm ara’”, goo.gl/ADCfl8.

27Lewisohn, “Flowers of Persian Song and Music: Davud Pirnia and the Genesis of the Golha Programs,” 80.

28‘Ali Vakili, ed., Ghoghay-e Setaregan: Khaterat-e honari-ye Mohandes Homayoun Khorram (Tehran: Badraqeh Javidan, 2010), 58.

29Vakili, Ghoghay-e Setaregan, chaps. 3-5.

30Esma‘il Navab Safa, Qesse-ye Sham‘: Khaterat-e honari-ye Esma‘il Navab Safa. (Tehran: Alborz, 1998).

31 Bijan Taraqi, Az posht-e divarhaye khatereh: Panjah sal khatereh dar zamineh-ye she‘r-o musiqi (Tehran: Badraqeh Javidan, 2007).

32Monir Taha, “Marzieh-ye shirin raftar-e taranehayam” Asr-e nou, 25 November 2010, asrenou.net/php/view_print_version.php?objnr=12339. In this article Monir Taha praises Marzieh, the prominent vocalist of Golha and states that hers is the voice of a Goddess and the sound of existence.

33“Interview with Mo‘ini Kermanshahi” Youtube video, 47:29. Posted by “Iran-e Man TV”, 14 August, 2011, youtu.be/nuHlUDxE09Q.

34“Mostanad: (Bijan Taraqi az pishkesvatan-e taraneh sorai-ye Iran ra beshnasim)” Youtube video, 45:58. Posted by “Farrokh Livani”, 29 April 2016, youtu.be/QzDpTgt2FAE.

35“Mostanad: (Bijan Taraqi az pishkesvatan-e taraneh sorai-ye Iran ra beshnasim)”.

36“Mosahebe-ye ekhtesasi-ye Ferydoun Tofiqi ba khanom-e Homeyra, Mohammad Heydari, Homa Mirafshar, Jahanbakhsh Pazouki” Youtube video, 49:52. Posted by “Ferydoun Tofiqi”, 11 February 2015, youtu.be/DW2GbPhnp6o.

37Personal conversation with Nasser Mas‘oudi (vocalist), Simin Behbahani (lyricist), Monir Taha (lyricist), and Javad Lashgari (composer).

38Mohamad-Reza Fayaz, Ta bar-damidan-e golha (Tehran: Soureh Mehr, 2015), 21.

39Lewisohn, “Flowers of Persian Song and Music: Davud Pirnia and the Genesis of the Golha Programs,” 85-90.

40Performed in Golha-ye saḥra’i.

41Performed in Barg-e sabz.

42Mostly performed in Yek shakh-e gol and Golha-ye rangarang.

43Fatemi calls this period, “The era of the violin.” Fatemi, Peydayesh-e Musiqi-ye Mardom-pasand dar Iran: Ta’ammoli bar mafahim-e classic, mardomi, mardom-pasand, 71.

44Quran and the Islamic jurisprudence have appreciated those poets who “Remember Allah and do righteous deeds”. Quran, Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:227.

45Possibly one of the most important effects that the Golha programmes had on the society of Iran, where the illiteracy rate was 80% in the 1950s and 1960s, was, by combining music and poetry, they accustomed people to listen to good poetry and good music and caused them to realize the breath and depth of their poetic heritage, re-introducing over 560 Persian poets from the ancients to the moderns to the country at large. Lewisohn, “Flowers of Persian Song and Music: Davud Pirnia and the Genesis of the Golha Programs,” 93.

46“Interview with Mo‘ini Kermanshahi” Youtube video, 47:29. Posted by “Iran-e Man TV”, 14 August 2011, youtu.be/nuHlUDxE09Q.

47Personal conversation with Eskandar Abadi, former violinist at Radio Isfahan. Eskandar Abadi, interview by the author, Bonn, 20 June 2016.

48Mohammad Qoochani, ‘Alireza Yazdani Khorram, and Mehdi Gholami, “Ebtehaj: Hargez toudeh-i naboudam, hanouz socialistam,” Tarikh-e Irani, October 2013, goo.gl/NQz9FY.

49See Golha.co.uk for the list of contributors to the Golha-ye tazeh.

50Mohammad Reza Lotfi, interview by the author, Zurich, 2006.

51Personal conversation with a graduate from the Faculty of Literature. Sahar Sakhaei, interview by the author, Tehran, 8 June 2016.

52Eskandar Abadi, interview by the author, Bonn, 20 June 2016.