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فرامرز پایورMaster Farāmarz Pāyvar -SANTUR

Luigi Pesce, Mosque of Qom, Iran, c

“ I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafez


(Born in  Tehran, 1932). Persian  santur player and composer. He comes from a musical family and for six years, from the age of 17, studied the santur with Abolhasan Sabā, followed by further training with other masters of Persian traditional music. Pāyvar has combined a career as a virtuoso performer and composer with scholarship which has yielded a number of significant publications. They include original compositions as well as arrangements and books on the technique of santur. His recordings, published both in Persia and abroad, are numerous. They encompass recordings of some of the dastgāhs with the inclusion of all known guڑes, also shorter renditions of dastgāhs, original compositions and ensemble pieces written or arranged by him. He has travelled widely and is known internationally for his many concerts and recordings.

Pāyvar has a thorough knowledge of the radif of Persian traditional music. He has advanced the technique of santur playing to levels not attained by any other santur player. His performances of any given dastgān generally display exceptional agility and smoothness of hammer action on the santur, use of a wide range of sound, and the interpolation of difficult and lengthy composed èahārmesrābs. On the other hand, his performance style is peppered with features of western virtuoso displays such as rapid scale movements, arpeggio patterns and passages in parallel thirds, all of which are essentially alien to Persian music.



Master Faramarz Payvar

Dastgah Shur
Dastgah Homayoun
Dastgah Segah
Zarb solo
Dastgah Chahargah


Payvar [Faramarz] (1932) Composer, santour player, born in Tehran. He knew Radif. His father was Ali Payvar [he was Painter and he was play Setar and Santour]. Payvar studied Music in Darolfonoun School. However, he studied English languagein Cambridge University at 1341 (1962).

His teachers were Abol Hassan Saba [6’th years], Abdollah Davami and Nour Ali Broumand [Sing Radif], Hussein Dehlavi and Melik Aslanian [Harmony and Counter Point] and Hussein Tehrani. He published
many book for Santour. He conducted Farhang-Honar Ensemble at 1345 (1966). He published Davami’s Radif and Roknoddin’ssongs.

He recorded many Cassettes, Disc, and CD with Hussein Tehrani, Ali Asghar Bahari, MohammadEsmaeili, Houshang Zarif, Hassan Nahid and … He has many students, including Saeid Sabet, Pejman Azarmina and …
« Faramarz Payvar is a well-known name in Iran for he is the most prominent santur virtuoso and his touch has created the most beautiful sounds of the cascade-like glissandi on the instrument, all of them products of a highly cultivated mind. He was born in 1932 in Tehran. His father was a professor of French language and also a keen and productive painter. His grandfather,
Mosavvar-od-Doleh was the court painter in Qajar period; Some of his paintings are kept in royal palaces of Iran. Both could play violin and santur and was in close relationship with some masters of the day. Faramarz Payvar began his musical studies at the age of 17 with Abolhasan Saba and completed radif in 6 years. So prominent was his development, that he accompanied his
master in several occasions. Their collaboration has been recorded and is made available for music-lovers. He completed his primary and high schools in Asjodi School and in Dar-ol-Fonun. In 1952 he began his military service and after that was employed by the Ministry of Finance and Economy. After Saba’s death, Payvar continued his studies with Ostad Davami, Ostad Ma’rufi and Ostad Borumand by surveying and learning radifs of Darvish Khan, Aqa Hoseyn-Qoli and Mirza Abdollah and
perfected and completed his musical knowledge. In this period he compiled and transcribed the great legacy of Persian music,thus preserved it for the ages to come.

The most important works that he collected are: Volcal Radif of Persian Music accordingto the version of Abdollah Davami Anthology of old Tasnifs; Works of Sheyda, Aref, Sama’ Hozur… Works of Darvish Khan andRokneddin Mokhtari. Payvar also studied composition with Ostad Dehlavi and Emanuel Melik-Aslanian. He began his career as aperforming artist – playing santur – in 1955, and arranged solo recitals as well as duos with Abolhasan Saba and Hoseyn Tehrani
for radio broadcasting.

After National Television was founded, Payvar managed to perform live programs which turned out to be of high importance in making people get familiar to Persian music. In 1963 he went to England to study English in Cambridge University. During the 3 years of language studies, he could also give santur recitals and lectures on Persian music in Cambridge and London Colleges. After returning from England, he performed remarkably in Shiraz Art Festival with numerous musicians
and other masters of Persian music. In 1967 Rudaki Hall was founded and the peak of his career began. He performed many pieces by past masters and accompanied great vocalists of the day in concerts held in newly founded place. In
1968 he was transferred to the Ministry of Education and retired in 1976.” (Source : Mahoor.com)


Faramarz_Payvar_Hossein Therani

Zarbe Osoul
Chaharmezrab Shour az Saba
Mahouro Delkash & Chaharmezrab
Ghet`e Ferdows
Renge Tork az Darvishkhan


[sadouri, santûr, sant’ur, santuri, sintir, tsintsila].

Dulcimer of the Middle East, south-eastern Europe and South and East Asia. It is used in Iran, Iraq, India, Kashmir, Turkey, Greece, Armenia, China and Tibet.

The prototype of the instrument may be seen in a harp, carried horizontally and struck with two sticks, found in iconographical documents of the ancient Babylonian (1600–911 bce) and neo-Assyrian (911–612 bce) eras. In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the santir appears among the instruments in the orchestra of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Chaldea (604–562 bce). Certain Arab sources mention its use during the Sassanian era (226–641 ce). In the 11th century the instrument was known to Spanish Muslims and, in the 14th, Ibn Khaldûn mentioned its use by Arabs in North Africa. In the 16th century the Egyptians made a distinction between the qânûn and the santûr; Villoteau (Description de l’Egypte, Paris, 1809–28) referred to the santûr as marginal in Egypt itself, though the instrument was most definitely used at that time in Iraq.

In Iran the santur consists of a trapeziform case made of walnut wood, approximately 90 cm wide at the broad end, 35 cm wide at the narrow end and 6 cm deep. The sides form an angle of 45° to the wider end. The strings are fixed to hitch-pins along the left-hand side and wound round metal wrest-pins on the right by means of which they are tuned with a tuning-key. Each quadruple set of strings rests on a movable bridge of hardwood (kharak). These bridges are aligned almost parallel with the sides of the case. The right-hand rank corresponds to the bass strings and that on the left to the treble strings. In the centre of the santur the low-pitched strings on the right cross the high-pitched strings on the left.

The left-hand strings can be played on either side of the bridges. In this way three different courses of strings are available: the lowest-sounding on the right, a second series, sounding an octave higher, left of centre, and the highest-sounding series, giving the third octave, on the left. There are nine (or sometimes 11) quadruple strings on either side so that, with 18 groups of strings, 27 different notes can be played. The bass strings are of brass and the trebles of steel. The first series of strings has a range of e’–f”, the second e”–f”’ and the third e”’–f””. The tuning can be readily modified by adjusting the position of the bridges.

The santur is played by striking the strings with two light hammers (mezrâb) held in three fingers of each hand. The hammers do not rebound and the tremolo is controlled solely by a rapid alternating movement of the right and left wrists. Tradition calls for a delicate and precise tone-quality which is obtained only with light hammers of hardwood, and some players stick felt to the ends of the hammers to soften the impact; others have obtained the same result by laying a piece of cloth on the strings. During the second half of the 20th century the Iranian santur virtuoso Farâmarz Pâyvar wrote several books on performance techniques.

The contemporary Iraqi santûr consists of a trapeziform soundbox made from two boards of wood joined together by splints of varying height; hardwoods such as walnut, bitter orange, white beech or apricot may be used. It is approximately 80 to 90 cm wide at the broad end, 31 to 41 cm wide at the narrow end and 7 to 12 cm deep, though when an instrument is made to accompany a specific singer, the size of the soundbox may be changed to accommodate the register of the singer’s voice.

The Iraqi santûr generally has 23 (recently 25) courses of strings (triple, quadruple and rarely quintuple) tuned in unison. There is no damping mechanism, so the sound of the struck melody notes is accompanied by the sympathetic vibrations of the other strings. Strings were traditionally metallic and varied in thickness, treble ones being of steel and those for the lower octaves of bronze. Bronze has now been replaced by nylon, either used by itself or alternating with brass or steel wire. Each group of strings rests on a movable hardwood bridge with a circular base in the shape of a bobbin. The bridges are placed so that the strings are divided into three sections, giving the fundamental note and two higher octaves. The santûr is played with two light sticks held in three fingers of each hand (see illustration); the ends of the sticks are usually covered with cloth to soften their impact on the strings.

Unlike its modern counterpart, the ancient Persian santûr has fixed bridges, which make it impossible to tune the notes during performance; only a number of basic modes may be played and transposed by three or more degrees on any one instrument. The ancient santûr is still played in Iraq. The santûr has a range of more than three octaves from g to a”’.

In South Asia, the santûr was restricted until recently to Kashmir, with its strong Persian culture. The construction of the Kashmiri santûr is similar to that of its Iranian counterpart (though smaller, deeper, and held on the player’s lap), but the tuning differs. Its 100 strings are tuned to nine scalar degrees to the octave (whole tones plus a flat 3rd and 7th) and the range is over one-and-a-half octaves. 12 degrees have two quadruple courses (one of steel, struck with the sticks, and one of brass, resonating sympathetically); the 13th has only a steel course.

In Iran the santur is an important instrument in the traditional orchestra, with the same repertory as the târ and setâr (lutes). It is also used in motrebi (music for entertainment), but never in folk music. In Iraq the santûr is part of the classicalshâlghî al baghdâdî (‘Baghdad ensemble’) along with the jûza (four-string spike fiddle), the daff zinjârî (frame drum with cymbalets), the tabl (single-headed drum) and the naqqâra (double kettledrum). The principal role of the shâlghî is to accompany classical singing (maqâm ‘irâqî) in teahouses, private homes and concerts. In the Caucasus, the sant’ur or santuri (which may have from 13 to 26 courses from triple to quintuple) is used mainly in the sazandar and ashugh (folk poet-singers) ensembles. In Greece its equivalent, the sadouri, is used in small folk ensembles.

The Kashmiri santûr is the leading instrument of the religious art-music ensemble sûfyâna kalâm (‘Sufic utterance’). Together with the setâr (long lute), dukrâ (drums) and (formerly) the sâz-î-kâshmîr (spike fiddle), it accompanies kalâm songs in a repertory of over 50 modes, some with Indian râga names, some Middle Eastern. It was introduced into Hindustani râga music by Shiv Kumar Sharma, who has become the instrument’s most famous exponent. Fixed-pitch chordophones were not formerly prominent in Indian court music because of the stylistic importance of voice-derived portamento (mir), but Sharma introduced a virtuoso stick-technique which re-creates the sound of vocal portamento through timing and tremolo. Since then the instrument has enjoyed growing popularity. It does not have a fixed tuning system but is re-tuned from piece to piece to a scale in the râga system, in three octave registers.

H.G. Farmer: ‘The Music of Ancient Mesopotamia’, ‘The Music of Islam’, NOHM, i (1957), 228–54, 421–77

M.H. al Ridjab: Al maqâmal-‘irâqî [The Iraqi maqâm] (Baghdad, 1961)

N. Caron and D. Safvate: Iran: traditions musicales (Paris, 1966)

S.A. Rashid: Târîkh al-âlât al-mûsîqîyya fî-l-‘irâq al-qadîm [History of musical instruments in ancient Iraq] (Beirut, 1970)

B.C. Deva: Musical Instruments of India (Calcutta, 1978)

S.Q. Hassan: Les instruments de musique en Irak et leur rôle dans la société traditionelle (Paris, 1980)

J. During: La musique iranienne: tradition et evolution (Paris, 1984)

N. Tremoulhac: ‘‘غd, santur, naqqara’, Journal of the Académie Musicologique du Forez, France, i (1984), 44–9

J. Pacholczyk: Sûfyâna mûsîqî: the Classical Music of Kashmir (Berlin, 1996)



Veteran Iranian composer and Santour player Faramarz Payvar has passed away at the age of 77 in the capital city of Tehran.

Payvar, one of the country’s prominent composers, died on Wednesday morning after struggling with brain damage for a long time.

Faramarz Payvar started learning music at the age of 17 under the tutorship of great Iranian master Abol-Hasan Saba.

His achievements in traditional Persian music and playing the Santour brought him great fame, leading to his co-operations with the Iranian Department of Art and Culture in 1954.

Payvar founded the ‘Art and Culture Orchestra’, which included such renowned figures as Hossein Tehrani, Khatere Parvaneh, Houshang Zarif, Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, Rahmatollah Badiee and Abdol-Vahab Shahidi.

He also played the Setar and published a book on Tar and Setar in 1996.

After getting a scholarship from Iran’s National Music Conservatory, Payvar majored in English Language at Cambridge University and was graduated in 1965.

Payvar, who was also studying Western music at the Royal Academy of Music in London, ended his life as a master composer of Persian music.

The veteran artist amazed music lovers by his performances in every corner of the world. His world tours took him to countries like the US, Germany, the UK, Sweden, France, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, and Russia.


Farâmarz Pâyvar and his place in Iranian music

LAP Lambert Academic Publishing ( 2010-05-21 )

This book describes the contribution of an eminent Iranian musician and composer, Ostâd Farâmarz Pâyvar, to the performance practice of contemporary Iranian classical music. It argues that Pâyvar was responsible for the rehabilitation of the Iranian hammered dulcimer or santûr within the Iranian classical repertoire, developing and refining its playing techniques and repertoire and transmitting his innovative and sophisticated ideas about the performance of Iranian classical music through his pedagogical practice and publications. A brief biography of Pâyvar, emphasising his musical lineage and heritage and his influence on subsequent generations of musicians, is also included. The thesis is in part a personal tribute to Pâyvar, who was the teacher and musical mentor of the writer.

Book Details:




Book language:English
By (author) :Qmars Piraglu

Number of pages:160
Published on:2010-05-21

see also :


http://books.google.de/books/about/Far%C4%81marz_P%C4%                81yvar_and_His_Place_in_Irani.html?id=3gOxNQAACAAJ&redir_esc=y







Kharanaq old city, Iran