Advertisement

Music in Khusraw Va Shirin

  • Firoozeh Khazrai

Abstract

There is an episode in the Iqbāl-nāmah, the first part of Iskandar-nāmah, that raises the question of the role of music and musicians in Nizami’s poetry. In the section entitled “Plato’s Music Making,” the philosophers of Alexander’s court are vying for superiority, and the competition intensifies between Aristotle and Plato. Plato becomes so indignant at Aristotle’s claim to superiority over all the other philosophers that he leaves the court in search of the music of the universe. In doing so he invents the organun (arghanon) with which he is able to make other beings, human or animal, sleepy or alert, or induce whatever mood in them that he desires. When Aristotle hears of Plato’s invention he strives to match his creativeness, and although he is able to induce sleep in his subjects, he is unable to wake them up. Aristotle feels humiliated. He confesses his own shortcomings, apologizes to Plato for his arrogance, and seeks his guidance on the science of music.2 In this episode Nizami demonstrates the supernatural potency of music and its superiority to logic—a quality that might be extended to include Nizami’s own art, that is, poetry, since it, too, is often characterized as appealing to the emotions rather than to reason.

Keywords

Early Source Arabic Source Famous Story Royal Asiatic Society Poetic License 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 2.
    Nizami Ganjavī, Iskandar-Nameh, ed. V. Dastgirdī (Tehran, 1954), 85–92. J. E. Bügel discusses this story as well in chapter 6 of the present work. C.f. p. 129 [editors].Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Nizami Ganjavī, Khusraw va Shīrīn, ed. Bihraz Sarvatyiān (Tehran, 1987), 339–344.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Ibid., 585–617.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Fakhr al-Dīn As’ad Gurgānī, Vās u Rāmīn, ed. Muhammad Ja’far Maḥjub (Tehran, 1959), 220.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    V. Minorsky in his article on Vīs u Rāmīn has shown that this eleventh-century poem is of Parthian origins. See V. Minorsky, “Vīs u Rāmīn: A Parthian Romance,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1946, XI,4, 745.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Mary Boyce, “The Parthian Gosān and Iranian Minstrel Tradition,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, XVIII (1957), 10–45.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Jerome W. Clinton has a brief survey of the tradition of court poetry in Iran in the first chapter of his book, The Dīvān of Manūchihrī Dāmghānī: A Critical Study (Minneapolis, 1972), pp. 1–21.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Boyce, op. cit., 17–18.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Ibid., 20.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Ibid., 27.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Clinton, op. cit., 1–21.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    On the iconographical evidences of Sassanid court, see Klaus-Peter Koch, “Persia,” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1995), 550.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    In Tarjumah-i chand matn-e pahlavī, trans. Malik al-Shu’ārā’ Bahār, ed. Muhammad Gulbun (Tehran, 1968), 98–104.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Abd al-Malik b. Muhammad Tha’ālibi, Shāhnāmah’ kuhan: parsī-I tarīkh-i ghurar al-siyar, trans. Muḥammad Ruḥani (Mashhad, 1994), 395.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    For a partial list of sources that mention Barbad, see E. G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia, vol. I (London, 1909), 14–15. A more exhaustive list is to be found in A. Tafazzolī, “Barbad,” Encyclopedia Iranica, ed. E. Yārshāṭ er, vol. III (New York), 757–58.Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    Ibid., 17–18.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
  18. 19.
    Ibn Khurdādhbih, Kitāb al-lahw wa al-malāhī, ed. I. A. Khalifa (Beirīt, 1964), and see the following note.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    For published selections from Ibn Khurdādhbih’s treatise, see “Mukhtār min kitāb al-lahw wa al-malāhī,” Al-Mashriq, vol. 54, no. 2 (Summer 1960), 134–67. For his citation of Barbad’s song, see p. 139.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Ibid., 138.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Tha’ālibi, op. cit., 392.Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    Ibī Muḥammad Ἁbdullah b. Muslim b. Qutayba al-Dīnavarī, Kitāb ’uyīn alakhbār (Qāhira, 1925), vol. I, 98.Google Scholar
  23. 25.
    Abī Uthman Ἁmr b. Baḥr al-Jāḥiz, Kitāb al-ḥayawān, ed. Abd al-Salām Muḥammad Hārun (Qāhirah, 1945), vol. I, part IV, 113.Google Scholar
  24. 26.
    Muhammad b. Ἁbd Rabbih, Al-’iqd al-farīd, ed. A. Amīn, A. Zayn, and I. Al-Abiyārī (Qāhira, 1956), vol. II, 182.Google Scholar
  25. 27.
    Abī al-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Kitāb al-aghanā (Qāhira, 1932), vol. V, 280–81.Google Scholar
  26. 28.
    Ibn al-Faqīh al-Hamadhānī, Kitāb al-buldān, ed. M. J. De Goeje (Leiden, 1967), 2nd ed., 158–59.Google Scholar
  27. 29.
    Tha’ālibi, op. cit., 388–89.Google Scholar
  28. 30.
    Browne, op. cit., 17–18. For the original Arabic version see M. Murād ibn Ἁbdu al-Raḥmān, Āthar al-bilād wa akhbār al-’ibād (Tehrān, 1994), ed. Sayyid M. Shāhmuradī, 88.Google Scholar
  29. 31.
    Browne also mentions this story on pp. 16–17 of his book, but I draw attention to it, because it is relevant to the ultimate conclusions of my paper about poet-musicians in Persian literature. For the story, refer to Nizami Ἁrūzī Samarqandī, Chahār maqālah, corrected by Allameh M. Qazvīnī, ed. M. Mo’in (Tehran, 1996), 49–54.Google Scholar
  30. 32.
    Abu’l-Qāsem Firdawsī, The Shāhnāmeh, ed. Jalāl Khāleql-Moṭlaq, 6 vols. (Costa Mesa, 1987), vol. II, 4–12.Google Scholar
  31. 33.
  32. 34.
    Abu al-Qāsīm Firdowsī Ṭūsī, Shāhnāmeh, ed. by Ye. E. Bertel’s et al., 9 vol. (Moscow, 1960–1971), vol. IX, 226–29.Google Scholar
  33. 35.
    Tha’ālibi, op. cit., 388–89.Google Scholar
  34. 39.
    Tha’ālibi, op. cit., 389.Google Scholar
  35. 41.
    See A. Christensen, L’Iran sous les Sassanides (Copenhague, 1936), 478–79.Google Scholar
  36. 43.
    See Hamdullah Mustawfī Qazvīnī, Tārikh-e guzidah, ed. A. Navā’ī (Tehran, 1960), 123.Google Scholar
  37. 45.
    See Dīvān-e manuchehrī dāmghanā, ed. Muḥammad Dabār Sāyaqā (Tehran, 1977), 4th ed. These songs can be found (in the order I have mentioned) on the following pages: 186–87, 88, 186, 34, and 87; 19 and 72, 19 and 69, and 87, 4, 32 and 113, 87, 88 and 127, 1, 209.Google Scholar
  38. 46.
    See also H. Mallāh’s Manūcherī dāmghanī va mūsīqī (Tehran, 1984), 83, and Manūcherī’s Dīvān, 18 and 159.Google Scholar
  39. 48.
    See Muḥammad Ḥ usayn ibn Khalaf Tabrīzī famous as Burhān, Burhān-e qāṭi’, ed. M. Mo’īn (Tehran, 1963), vol. II, 2nd ed. 1207–8, here I have to mention that I have some misgivings about the enumeration of these “Thirty Songs.” Because there are discrepancies between the editions of Sarvatyiā;n and V. Dastgirdī’s edition of Khusraw va Shīrīn (Tehrān, 1954). For the most part, these are not major differences, but there is one variant that affects the total number of the songs. Dastgirdī’s reading of the sixth and seventh song is: chu nāghūsī va avrangī zadī sāz / shudā avrang chun nāghūs az āvaz (p. 191). This reading makes naghūsī and avrangī two separate songs, while Sarvatyiān’s reading is more ambiguous: chu nāghūsī bar avrang āmadī bāz/ shudī avrang chun nāghūs az āvāz (p. 340). Sarvatyiān’s reading connects the two words of nāghūs and avrang in a way that makes it difficult to read them as denoting two separate songs, thus making Nizami’s “Thirty Songs” into twenty-nine songs. Sarvatyiān himself also alludes to this discrepancy (see pp. 893–94) but finds the fault with the reading of songs in other lines.Google Scholar
  40. 61.
    Theorists like Ibn Sina have generally divided the music after the advent of Islam into twelve primary modes or maqāms: rāhawī, husaynī, rāst, būsalīk, zankūla, ’ushaq, hijāzī ’iraq, isfahan, navā, buzurk, mukhālif. All of these names can still be found in modern Persian art music, but how much they differ from or resemble the original modes unfortunately is unknown to us. H. Farhat and S. Blum in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1995), vol. IX, 292–300; for this quotation, see p. 292.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kamran Talattof and Jerome W. Clinton 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Firoozeh Khazrai

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations