Nowruz & Music
Music is closely associated with Iranian ceremonies among which Nowruz is one of the most prominent ones. Many of Iranian traditional resources such as Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh attribute the foundation of Nowruz to the Pishdadian king Jamshid.
The advent of Nowruz followed with a series of related ceremonies leading to the development of music in Iran. Likewise, the Sassanid kings spent Nowruz in joy and happiness and the court musicians made a special melody for each day of a year. Some of these songs are Bad-e Bahar (the Spring Wind), Bad-e Nowruz (The Nowruz Wind), No-Bahari (The Fresh Spring), and Ayin-e Jamshid “The Tribute of Jamshid” which have been attributed to Barbad, the famous musician and composer of Khosrow Parviz court.
It is interesting to know that during the formation of Iranian traditional music, the word “Nowruz” was used in naming some of the Royal modes, derivative modes, and melodies; “Nowruz-e-Khara”, “Nowruz-e bozorg”, “Nowruz-e koochak” and “Nowruz-e Saba” are some examples. Some of these melodies are still applicable in current Iranian music. Chardin, the famous French traveler of the 17th and 18th centuries who visited Safavid Court described the art of musicians in the countdown to the New Year and in the presence of the king in his Persia travelogue.
Nevertheless, music was not confined to the Royal courts but harbingers of Nowruz in various regions of Iran have signaled the approach of the New Year by singing and playing music among people. I will tell you more about the harbingers of Nowruz in the following days.