Hāl is a series of virtuosic solo pieces which all explore this eponymous Persian musical tenant which escapes definition. Hāl is described below 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.”[i]
Each of these works also explore a single Persian dastgāh (mode) and its associated gusheh (patterns). These dastgahs all have different associated colors, elements, times of day, feelings, and moods which make each unique. I plan to write twelve which will coincide with the twelve principal dastgahs. At this point, I have completed two:
Hāl: Homāyūn (2016) – for tuba/euphonium (10′)
Hāl: Chahārgāh (2013, rev. 2018) – for violin (10′)
[i] From Music and Song in Persia by Lloyd Clifton Miller.