Hāl – Chahārgāh

*Hāl – Chahārgāh (2013, rev. 2014) – solo violin (10′)
Special thanks and gratitude to the Voices of Change ensemble, Mary Reynolds, Will King, Caleb Mallett, and Timothy de Reuse (audio mixing). This piece would have not been possible without all of your help, support, and advice, thank you.
*2016 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award Finalist
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Hāl is described by the great Persian music master Dr. Daryush Safvat:

“In traditional Iranian music, the manner of playing is much more important than what one plays. And the manner of playing is conditioned by hāl. How to translate this word which escapes definition? Hāl is an intense state of the soul, it is the interior fire which must animate the artist like the mystic. . .When he attains the high point of this state, the artist plays with an extraordinary facility of execution. His sound changes. The musical phrase liberates its secret. The creativity gushes forth. It seems that the very essence of the music manifests itself delivered from the usual interferences of the human personality. The world becomes transfigured, unveiling its marvelous visages, and across an ineffable transparency which abolishes the actual barriers between the musician and his auditor, offers itself to the direct comprehension of every being capable of sensing. Hāl is the fruit of authenticity. The authentic musician is he who plays or sings under the force of an irresistible interior impulse.”

Chahārgāh is one the oldest of the principle twelve Persian dastgāhs (melodic modes). Persian dastgāhs have many extra-musical connotations. Chahārgāh is associated with early morning, the colors white and yellow, steam (water), and a general mood of heroism, excitement, and patriotism. Chahārgāh is traditionally and still frequently used to accompany the recitation of Ferdowsi’s ancient Persian epic the Shānāme (often considered Iran’s most important piece of literature). Chahārgāh expresses the past of love as well as the joy of love and boasts of the success of love.[i]

[i] From Music and Song in Persia by Lloyd Clifton Miller.


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