Interpreted & Performed by
Ali Akbar Moradi
History of Maqams
One might refer both to Yarsan Holy Scriptures and popular oral tradition of centuries to comprehend the history and background of Kurdish tanbur maqams. Since 4th century A.H. tanbur and tanbur maqams have been available to Yarsan people.
The precise dating of maqams is impossible. However, I believe that some date back to Old Persian civilizations before the advent of Islam. The geographical isolation of the region has kept its musical tradition intact and without being influenced by the neighboring traditions. This situation lasted only until 30-40 years ago. Maqams are in this way like precious jewels discovered by unearthing the history and culture of the region. I believe that the following points are of extreme importance when considering the musical tradition:
1. Yarsan most probably has strong relations with Mithraism.
2. Contrary to the Persian classical music, tanbur is without quarter tones.
3. The region is the Sassanid dominion with its vast musical culture, in which Barbad and Nakisa were highly esteemed as court musicians.