Tar: Azerbaijani musical instrument protected by UNESCO as world cultural heritage – AZERTAC

Baku, January 12, AZERTAC

The great Azerbaijani poet and thinker Nizami Ganjavi dedicated the following lines to the magical musical instrument of tar: “Singer, play tar at least one night // And relieve me from the torments that life gives me”.

Tar is one of the few national instruments for which famous Azerbaijani composers have written music, concerts and orchestras.

Tar brilliantly transmits all the sonic richness reflecting both Eastern and European classical music. Without it, it would be impossible to express the musical and philosophical content of Azerbaijani mugham. As if God himself created the inseparable bond in which the tar reveals the philosophical glory and beauty of the mugham by translating it into music. This is evidenced by the story of the performances of prominent Azerbaijani tar masters, who captivated the audience with the sound of this oriental instrument in front of the most diverse audience on the stages of the world.

The sound of the tar is clearly affected by the quality of the mulberry and walnut wood that the tar is carved into, the way they are dried, and the rigor with which the manufacturing steps are observed. Much depends on the talent, experience and intuition of the master making the tar, his sense of music and love for his work. These qualities make it possible to use the tar as a solo accompaniment instrument.

Tar, which appeared in Azerbaijan in ancient times, originally had only five strings, a wide and deep body, on the long neck of which 27-28 frets were tied. Due to its heaviness, the tar was held either on the knees or on the lower chest during performances. Granted, it produced a different sound than what we hear today, but there was something about its imperfect tones (specialists say it was soft and calm) that made the tar withstand the test of time. In the 1970s, a prominent Azerbaijani musician and tar master from Karabakh (Shusha), Mirza Sadig Asad oglu (1846-1902), also known as Sadigjan, made a real tar revolution for which he had a great talent. .

Sadigjan introduced a number of important innovations in the structure of tar. These changes affected the body, strings and frets of the instrument. He had to first increase the number of strings to 18, then reduce it to 13. He left 22 strings on the neck of the instrument. The neck was attached to a bulge on the body of the instrument to prevent distortion. Inside the bulge he installed a wooden spacer. It also reduced the depth of the body, straightened the sides, thereby extending the upper part of the body and increasing the power of the sound. These and other changes reduced the weight of the tar, which made it possible to hold the instrument against the chest without stooping. More importantly, the reconstruction affected the sound quality of the instrument, its timbre.

“Azerbaijani tar” began to gain popularity in the East, and Sadigjan, besides being a talented performer of tar, was now widely known as the “father of Azerbaijani tar”.

Thanks to the efforts of the founder of Azerbaijani opera, Uzeyir Hajibeyli, tar classes were opened in all musical institutions in the country, music was composed especially for it, and tar took its rightful place not only in the national orchestras but also in symphony orchestras. The national school of instrument interpretation based on notes founded by him further expanded the technical and artistic potential of tar. As the main instrument of the mugham trio (tar, kamancha, gaval), the tar has played a crucial role in the development of the art of mugham. In Hajibeyov’s mugham operas (“Leyli and Majnun”, “Asli and Karam”), the vocal pieces were accompanied by tar.

This unique instrument continues to play an important role in Azerbaijani mugham art to this day, both as part of the mugham trio and as a solo.

During the seventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Paris from 3 to 7 December 2012, “The craftsmanship and performance art of tar, long string musical instrument manche ”was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.

AZERTAG.AZ :Tar: Azerbaijani musical instrument protected by UNESCO as world cultural heritage

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