This panel was compiled by the Conference Program Team from independently submitted paper proposals.
It is proposed that music students in European & North American universities would benefit from studying aspects of Persian music within the standard undergraduate music curricula, either through a survey course or through incorporation of modules into existing courses.
There are several relevant aspects:
(i) acknowledgement of a rich music tradition with a long history, far-reaching influence, and high degree of sophistication in both theory and practice, to compensate for scarce mention in academic texts of Western classical music;
(ii) a comparison of Persian music theory with Greek music theory (regularly referred to within the standard introductory music history course) with which it shares several features;
(iii) clarification of the centrality of the voice, which serves as a model for much of the instrumental music and probably did so in earlier Western music as it does in other cultures as well (such as Indian);
(iv) a survey of Persian instruments, and their traceable influence on instrument design throughout the world;
(v) the development and function of the radif, which provides not only an understanding of Persian musical practice but also a fascinating insight into a flexible structure which can be a potent concept for contemporary composers and improvisers in Western traditions;
(vi) an introduction to current debates on notation and tuning which can provide a clearer understanding of oral transmission - once central in Western tradition and still present in vocal and instrumental instruction but often not acknowledged as such due to the academic focus on notation in history and theory;
(vii) a discussion of the influence of Persian musical traditions on the music of Western Europe, both directly and indirectly, via the Moorish occupation of the Iberian peninsula - an influence which may have been profound at the crucial time of the emergence of Renaissance music;
(viii) the influence of Western music on Iranian music during the 20th century – from the introduction of piano to subtle incorporation of counterpoint into traditional Persian styles;
(ix) the influence of Iranian music on Western music during the 20th-21st centuries, from Iranian composers working in electroacoustics to contributions in the areas of fusion and world music.
The author is presenting a special topics course in Jan 2014 on Persian and Indian music traditions, and would report on the course structure, content, and reception by students and colleagues in addition to an elaboration of the above points.