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 tar: “Singer, play tar at least one night // And relieve me from the torment that life gives me” .

The tar is one of the few national instruments for which famous Azerbaijani composers wrote music, concerts and orchestras.

Tar brilliantly transmits all the sound 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 mugham by translating it into music. This is evidenced by the history of the performance 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 world stages.

The sound of the tar is clearly affected by the quality of the mulberry and walnut wood from which the tar is cut, the way in which they are properly dried and the rigor with which the manufacturing steps are followed. Much depends on the talent, experience and intuition of the master who makes the tar, his sense of music and love for his work. These qualities allow the use of tar as a solo accompaniment instrument.

Tar, which appeared in Azerbaijan in antiquity, originally had only five strings, 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 sounded different than what we hear today, but there was something about its flawed timbres (specialists say it was smooth and quiet) that allowed the tar to stand the test of time. . In the 1970s, a prominent Azerbaijani musician and tar master, native of Karabakh (Shusha), Mirza Sadig Asad oglu (1846-1902), also known as Sadigjan made a real tar revolution of which he had a great talent for .

Sadigjan introduced a number of important innovations in the structure of the tar. These changes affected the instrument’s body, strings, and frets. He first increased the number of strings to 18, then reduced them to 13. He left 22 strings on the instrument’s neck. The neck was attached to a bulge on the body of the instrument to prevent deformation. Inside the bulge, he installed a wooden spacer. He also reduced the depth of the body, straightened the sides, thereby extending the upper body and increasing the power of sound. These and other changes reduced the weight of the tar, allowing the instrument to be held 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 known everywhere 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 of the country, music was composed especially for him, and the tar took its rightful place not only in national orchestras but also symphony. The school of performance of national instruments 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 played a crucial role in the development of the art of mugham. In Hajibeyov’s mugham operas (“Leyli and Majnun”, “Asli and Karam”) vocal pieces were accompanied by tar.

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

During the seventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Paris from December 3 to 7, 2012, “The craftsmanship and the scenic art of tar, a long-necked stringed musical instrument” has been inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

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

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