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  • 4/9/2011

Ahmad Ebadi

ebadi

Jean During

(1906-1993), one of the outstanding modern masters of Persian music. He played a leading role in popularizing the setAr; the appeal of his performance resulted partly from the development of a new style involving slight technical and acoustical modifications to the instrument.

Ebadi, Ahmad (b. Tehran, 1305/1906, d. 1371 SH./1993; Plate LVI), one of the outstanding modern masters of Persian music. He was a grandson of ?AlI-Akbar FarAhAnI (d. ca. 1275/1858) and a son of MIrzA ?Abd-AllAh (1261-1336/1845-1918), the great masters of their own times. ?EbAdI began accompanying his father on the Zarb (see DRUMS) at the age of seven years, then took lessons on the setAr from his two sisters Mawlud ?Anom and Moluk ?Anom before studying briefly with his father (?AleqI, pp. 128, 453-54) . In 1303 SH./1924, at the age of eighteen years, he appeared in his first public concert, accompanying the singer Moluk ZarrAbI. Subsequently, however, he became an official in the Tehran municipal government and later in the Ministry of Culture (WezArat-e farhang), deferring his public career until 1321 SH./1942 (BehruzI, p. 116). For the next ten years he participated actively in the development of the musical radio series GolhA-ye jAvIdAn, directed by DAwud PIrnIA. It was through the radio that he attracted a growing audience for the setAr. In 1337 SH./1958 he played in concert in Paris and thereafter in several European countries. He continued to perform regularly in Persia until 1358 SH./1979. He generally appeared as a soloist or accompanied by the Zarb and frequented private circles of music lovers, where the special charm of his playing was appreciated.

EbAdI played a leading role in popularizing the setar; the appeal of his performance resulted partly from the development of a new style involving slight technical and acoustical modifications to the instrument, which he undertook upon his disappointment caused by hearing recordings of his own first radio performances.

 In contrast to the traditional style of playing, his own was much less rapid, with sharper contrasts in timbre and intensity and less systematic reliance on the drone on all the strings (During, 1984, pp. 45-46); it was characterized by a rich sonority resulting from a firm and broad attack, made easier by a slight displacement of the strings from the sounding board and the use of strings 10-20 percent thicker than usual. Another of his contributions was a very large number of different tunings (kuk), which allowed him to play the traditional musical modes (dastgAh, q.v.) in unfamiliar tonalities that lent them original coloration (for a list of his tunings, see EbAdI, SHIvahA). On the other hand, EbAdI never shifted the frets of his instrument, which were at fixed intervals (analyzed by During, 1985, pp. 110-18; idem, 1991, pp. 49-52), regardless of the mode. Available recordings include performances of the dastgAhs MAhur and DaShtI (cf. Zonis) and SHIvahA-ye novIn-e kuk-e setAr (cf. EbAdI).

EbAdI had no children and trained very few students, but his style inspired not only players of the setAr but also most of the instrumentalists of the period 1329-59 SH./1950-80. Although he was extremely generous with advice, he played no role in transmission of the repertory (radIf), placing innnovative improvisation and development of a personal style above academic knowledge. For EbAdI the setAr had to touch the heart, but, though its tone is naturally melancholy, it had also to be able to express joy; he believed that it should never be played in the open air or in an orchestra, where it could have only a secondary role (BehruzI, p. 119). As for his audience, according to MIrzA Abd-Allah, “Two listeners are not enough; three are too many” (BehruzI, p. 117).

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com


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