Classical Persian Spiritual Music

Presented by Saman Mahmoudi and Pezhham Akhavass

 Improvisation of mystical and Persian spiritual music combined with a contemporary touch will be presented by master musicians,  Saman Mahmoudi, on Santour, and Pezhham Akhavass, on Tombak. 

The evening will bring a spiritual journey through improivised  Persian classical music.Persian classical music is a modal system and based on poetry. 

The audience is more than welcome to ask questions regarding the music and the instruments after the performance.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

7-8:30pm in the Sedona Room

Cost: $20. at the door

For more information, please call: 602-980-0558 or visit:


Persian classical music or “dastgahi”, is a modal system formed by diverse short melodic movements called "gusheh".  Each gusheh has a unique character, feeling, connection, similarity, and history to it, which has been passed on orally from generation to generation.

In the old traditional, music associated with not only for the days of the week, month or year, but for different time of the day,  musicians choose and played different “Dastgah”.

“Dastgahs” have different messages, and affect the call from the artist's innermost consciousness. Deeply intertwined with Iran's age-old history and culture, it is an expression of the joys, loves, sorrows, efforts and struggles, all the many victories and defeats that the peoples of Western Asia have experienced over the millennia. 

The principal goushehs of the dastgah specify the different modes within that dastgah. The note, upon which the goushehis based and often is the center of the gousheh, is called the shahed. The shahed moves when we modulate between principal goushehs, and this movement creates a new sonic space.

The art of improvisation is an understanding and recognizing the moment of choosing the different moods and the modulation and movements of melodic patterns are based on the creativity and understanding diverse performances of location, time and their audiences.


The Tombak

The Tombak (official Persian name) is a goblet drum from Persia (ancient Iran). It is considered the principal percussion instrument of Persian music.

The tonbak is normally positioned diagonally across the torso while the player uses one or more fingers and/or the palm(s) of the hand(s) on the drumhead, often (for a ringing timbre) near the drumhead's edge.

Sometimes tonbak players wear metal finger rings for an extra-percussive "click" on the drum's shell. Tonbak virtuosi perform solos lasting ten minutes

The Persian Santour or Iranian hammer dulcimer, mainly is the father of the Piano and has two sets of bridges, providing a range of approximately three octaves.

The right-hand strings are made of brass or copper, while the left-hand strings are made of steel.

Two rows of 9 bridges called "kharak."A total of 18 bridges divide the santur into three positions. Over each bridge crosses four strings tuned in unison, spanning horizontally across the right and left side of the instrument.

There are three sections of nine pitches: each for the bass, middle and higher octave called Poshte Kharak (behind the left bridges) comprising 27 notes all together. The top "F" note is repeated 2 times, creating a total of 25 separate tones in the Santur.

The Persian santur is primarily tuned to a variety of different diatonic scales utilizing 1/4 tones (semi-tones) which are designated into 12 modes (Dastgahs) of Persian classical music. These 12 Dastgahs are the repertory of Persian classical music known as the Radif.