May 1, 2011

Mohammad Musavi - Ney of Mohammad Musavi

Firs a small remark acording to some sources it is Mohammad Mousavi, not Musavi, but I am going to leave it as on this edition of CD. All apologies to anyone that might feel piqued, if you are sure what is correct please say.

Mohammad Musavi was born in 1947 in Ahvaz, South-West Iran. He started playing Persian music (on flute and violin) in his childhood and stood out in school competitions. At the age ofthirteen, he traded his violin for a reed ney, which he practiced for a week before he could get one decent sound out of it. He remembers how he used to blow "until his eyes came out of their orbits" then fell asleep from exhaustion, his instrument still in his hand, to resume work as soon as he woke up. It must be known that the technique of the ney is as sophisticated as the instrument is simple, and if it takes hours of practice to get one note out of it, it requires years to reach a beautiful sound. Musavi had the good fortune to be given counsel by Ispahan's great master, Hasan Kasa'i. After this encounter, he progressed rapidly. At the age of seventeen, he settled in Tehran, in the very heart of musical life. Fundamentally self-taught, he learnt music mostly by impregnating himself with the classical programmes broadcast on the radio. At nineteen he was hired as a soloist by the National Radio and Television and Kasal, impressed by his talent, offered to help perfect his training...

Musavi's playing is characterized by its generosity and nobleness of sound; his perfect mastership serves uncommon improvisation abilities, instantly applicable whatever the circumstance. He mentally composes most of the rhythmic pieces which mark out his im-provisations. For the last decade he has elaborated a personal style, characterized by a return to the very roots of his instrument, as can be found in certain popular traditions, especially in South-West Iran where Musavi grew up. For that repertoire, he is accompanied by not only the drum zarb but also the Kurdish frame drum daf.

These recordings were made at his home in Tehran, in May 1994, in two evening ses-sions. Between these, he fell ill and went to hospital, but only at the end of the recording did he learn that he had had a heart attack. Fortunately, he has now totally recovered, but this attack forced him to stop playing ney for over a year. Despite his critical state, he had chosen to play Chaliargal, the most difficult mode on ney. In a way, he was giving, in a painful and pathetic interpretation, the full force of the last breath before a whole year of silence... (from linear notes)


1 Tchahârgâh 15:42
2 Bayât-E-Tork 15:40
3 Shur 24:07
4 Shushtari 12:43


word is thegoodone

And one from the Master :)

The ney is an ancient oriental instrument which has retained the original simplicity of the reed it is made from, Spread under various shapes from Morocco to India as well as Eastern Africa or Bulgaria, it is used in both learned and popular music. In Iran it is played with an especially sophisticated technique : instead of resting on the lips, the edge of the reed tube is introduced inside the mouth and stuck in-between the incisor teeth. The breath, directed by the tongue into the flute, is formed inside the mouth with a technique using the whole mouth cavity as well as the lips, teeth and tongue. This way of playing confers the ney a sophisticated colour which is all refinement and subtlety. It allows the constant control of the sound pitch so that the performer can render all the finesses and inflexions of the human voice in a very vast melodic and dynamic register. (This mastering of the breath allows a good ney player to reproduce any melody on a simple tube a few centimeters long!)
This 'between the teeth' technique is also common to the Turks from Central Asia to Siberia, but it was Nayeb Asadollah (who died around 1910) who borrowed it from the Turkmen and notably perfected it. He used it so well that it soon definitely eclipsed the previous technique, last represented by Soleyman, his just-as-renowned predecessor. Nayeb Asadollah passed his art on to Naval, the master of Hasan Kasal (b. 1928) with whom the instrument found its second wind. After perfecting his technique with Kasal for more than twenty years, Musavi in his turn ended up creating his own style.
The ney basic scale is CD EP F F# GA' (in relative pitch), corresponding to the closed tube and the six holes, the last of which is occluded by the thumb. All the nuances of the micro intervals are produced from these basic pitches, by a constant readjusting of the breath. For "lack" of a B note, there is no continuity between the medium and bass registers but this deficiency, in principle easy to put right, has turned into an aesthetical choice: thusway, the low-pitched and high-pitched registers are always clearly separated and the symmetry dear to Persian aesthetics is helped by structures 'in mirrors' : high phrase / low answer.
Likewise, the adjustment of intervals, which could have been facilitated by new holes or semi-holes, confers the ney that specific plasticity which is all its charm.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Kokolo :)

    This IS a good one!

    What a beautiful rainbow for my little pond :)

    A rainbow for you too :D