Music has long held a role in Iran from traditional and classical music through to the emergence of Persian pop. It has been noted that the role in music in Iran dates back to the pre-historic eras with some documentation suggesting that the ancient Persians had a fairly elaborate musical culture. Even today, traditional musical instruments are still used by Iranian singer, bringing an element of the traditional to modern music. You can still find Iranian traditional singers at http://www.phodeos.com/category/singers/. Today, fans are able to download Iranian & Persian music quite easily and quickly off the internet wherever they are in the world.
The main forms of music in Iran include folk, pop and classical, which is the relatively traditional form of Persian music. The traditional Persian music is quite simply, poetry with a musical background. These songs include the use of instruments such as the tar, the dahol and zarb, the nay and sorna and the daryereh.
Similarly to folk music listened to throughout other countries, Persian folk is usually listened to and sung by the minority ethnic groups in many of the more remote regions of the county. Folk music is often based around Islam, a love song or a victory of long ago, and tells a story. The main instrument used within folk music is the lute, but other instruments used include the demam and the tamboorak.
Pop music has been around in Iran for quite a long time – stretching back to the Qajar Dynasty. Many bands performing under the pop genre use instruments similar to those used in Western music – guitars and drums.
Music in Iran can be divided into two sections – pre-Islam and post-Islam. This change came a long time before the Islamic Revolution, with the arrival of Islam in Iran in the 7th Century AD. Prior to this, music played a large role in both worship and entertainment. Once Islam arrived in Iran, Persian music became an influential part of life. The Mongol Invasion of Persia brought about the use of poetry as the main source of lyrics. Around this time, Persia started to musically step away from its neighbours.
Western musical influences started to trickle through into Persian music in the 1920’s, with the opening of the Tehran music school and the National School of Music. Composers from Iran started to study in Western countries and by 1970, Iranian concert halls were playing host to international musicians. The introduction of television is seen as one of the major ways Western music was introduced to Iran with pop, rock and jazz gaining popularity. The Islamic Revolution then hit Iran which seen the closure of educational institutions teaching Western music and all music was banned from being played on the radio. The ban on traditional music was eventually lifted.
Traditional music is now making a comeback in Iran with many younger people living in Iran becoming interested in traditional music as well as being interested in the small amount of Western and pop music that is allowed to be played or downloaded. With the social standing of musicians starting to become higher in parts of Iran, it is hoped that the music scene may eventually return to what it once was.