Tar

TarThe tar is a long-necked, waisted lute found in Azerbaijan, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, and other areas near the Caucasus region. The word تار tar itself means "string" in Persian. This is claimed to be the root of the names of the Persian setar and the guitar as well as less widespread instruments such as the dutar and the Indian sitar.

The exact place of origin of the tar cannot be confirmed. However Tar was invented in the territories of, or influenced by, the Persian Empire: Persia (Iran), Afghanistan, parts of the former Soviet republics, such as , Georgia.

The tar appeared in its present form in the middle of the eighteenth century. The body is a double-bowl shape carved from mulberry wood, with a thin membrane of stretched lamb-skin covering the top. The long fingerboard has twenty-six to twenty-eight adjustable gut frets, and there are three double courses of strings. Its range is about two and one-half octaves, and is played with a small brass plectrum.

The Persian tar used to have five strings. The sixth string was added to the tar by Darvish Khan. This string is today's fifth string of the Iranian tar.

Tar is one of the most important classical Persian musical instruments. The formation, compilation, edition, and inheritance of the most authentic and most comprehensive versions of radif are all worked on tar. The general trends of Persian classical music have been deeply influenced by tar players. The melodies performed on tar were considered useful for headache, insomnia and melancholy, as well as for eliminating nervous and muscle spasms. Listening to this instrument was believed to induce a quiet and philosophical mood, compelling the listener to reflect upon life. Its solemn melodies were thought to cause a person to relax and fall asleep.

The author of "Gabusname" (11th century) recommends that when selecting musical tones (perde) to take into account the temperament of the listener. He suggested that lower pitched tones (bem) were effective for sanguine and phlegmatic persons, while higher pitched tones (zil) were helpful for those who were identified with a choleric temperament or melancholic temperament.

Some Contemporary Tar Players

    * Hossein Alizadeh
    * Parham Nassehpoor
    * Majid Derakhshani
    * Mohammad Reza Lotfi